Using his own farm as a starting point, in 2009 John took his various experiences, particularly those from visiting the remote islands of Scotland, and embarked on a number of projects to promote local energy production and saving. The result is a farm that harnesses the wind, rain and sun for energy production.
The systems at the farm include Wind, Hydro(on and off grid), Solar PV, Solar Gain, Solar Thermal, Biomass, Electric Car. Off-grid hydro equipment supplied by Powerspout Hydro Turbines.
In the video below John shows the Energy Saving Trust round the various green electricity systems that he has installed on his farm. As well as Photo Voltaic (PV) solar panels on the cattle shed, John has also installed two Hydro systems and built a new, green house (for use by distillery staff).
Shortlisted for Best Low Carbon Business 2015
Open to companies across all industry sectors based in the Highlands, Islands and Moray, this award will be presented to the business which best demonstrates enhanced carbon management through improved resource efficiency resulting in increased profitability. Which means, John's businesses will be judged on the measures he's taken to reduce carbon emissions along with his overall approach to developing a sustainable carbon management strategy.
1,000,000kW of green electricity and counting!
Combining the various strands of John's energy production initiatives, his own Flying Farmer business, Dingwall Auction Marts Endurance Turbine (where he provided business assistance) and the Dingwall Wind Coop (John's a founding director) more than a million kilowatt's of green electricity has been produced for energy export.
|Dingwall Auction Marts Endurance Turbine
|Dingwall Wind Coop
A million kilowatt's of green electricity is equivalent to 2,325580kg of CO2 compared to the national grid.
The secret is offsetting
It's a well known fact that helicopters burn fuel; some have one engine, some even have two or three. John flies with one or two engines
126kg / 160litres jet fuel per hour
Saving 2325580kg of CO2 is great but as per above we need to offset flying
For every 2.5 hours flown by helicopter, 1000kg needs to be offset. So if 2325 tonne has been offset, this equates to 5812.5 hours of flying
When helicopters are used for air ambulance, TV and film or by VIPs they are arguably considered essential operations, so when John's flying work falls into any of these categories, he offsets. Driving an electric car and taking the train are some other changes made over the past three years to help offset
Scotland is a amazing filming location. A recent USA today poll voted Scotland as the Best Cinematic Destination in the World!
There's no argument, offsetting is viable, and this is how John manages his day-to-day flying business. And of course, if passengers invest in green energy they can offset too.
Wind turbine at Dingwall Auction Mart
In 2012 John assisted Dingwall Auction Mart with an assessment of their ongoing electrical energy needs. This culminated in the installation of a Endurance wind turbine and solar PV array (with a publicly visible energy display online and on show in the Mart entrance) and in 2014, the successful installation of a biomass heating system. Combined with the wind and solar efforts for generating electricity and the provision of an electric car charge point this puts them very close to running a fully carbon neutral business.
Read more about Dingwall Mart's wind turbine.
As part of his ongoing efforts to reduce his carbon footprint John makes use of an electric car – also known as an Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV). In 2013 a dual, fast charger for Electric Vehicles (EVs) was installed in the Mart car park (which is free for public use) and a Pod Point charger added to the farm set up.
A locally owned turbine
In 2013 John had a hand in creating the first wind turbine in Scotland to be fully owned by a co-op. Dingwall Wind Co-op will contribute to a community fund estimated at £8000 per year.
A green house
The final stage in John's farm energy project culminates in 2014 with a green house. It's a unique, energy efficient house, designed by award winning architects Dualchas of Skye, intended to be grown into as a family grows.
Based on the Highland blackhouse / longhouse of old, the building can be shut off in sections, with no structural changes, for energy saving purposes. Heating is provided primarily by log biomass for which 800 trees were planted, as well as solar thermal and solar gain for natural heating and over insulation.
It is the intention that the house will be used for the staff who run the planned distillery.