Alternative Energy

The subject of finding alternative renewable energy is very much in the news. From an environmental standpoint to a cost saving one, it makes perfect sense. We can’t go on relying on fossil fuels and not everyone is a fan of nuclear energy.

The human race is extremely resourceful and is coming up with new technologies to produce energy, and make it go further with a reduced effect on the planet.

We’re all aware of solar panels, both on a domestic scale and on solar farms, and also off shore wind farms. Air source heat pumps are being used more, and specified on a lot of new build properties. But my son recently showed me an article he had heard about which was very interesting, not only because it was a mammoth task in itself for the people concerned, but also for the potential it offers us in future.

The article was about Coldplay. They are currently on tour and have made the following statement:

“We pledge to make our Music of the Spheres Tour as sustainable and low-carbon as possible”

This is a World Tour so to make this claim is quite bold – but I read the sustainability page on their website to see how they will achieve their goals. It is a lengthy document and I won’t repeat it fully, but will highlight parts that I thought were a bit different and could work for us all in future.

They are using tour partners that comply to their ethos, such as transport, using biofuels and electric vehicles where possible. If this isn’t possible, they will measure their impact and offset this by planting trees and protect the forests in the future.

Their concerts will be powered by a variety of methods, such as solar, rechargeable batteries, kinetic energy and renewable grid power. Re-charging of batteries is done by using bio-fuels such as used cooking oil, solar energy and kinetic energy.

Kinetic energy is produced by the installation of kinetic floors around the stadiums so that the fans’ dancing is converted into the power that runs the show. They also have static pedal bikes around the stadiums so that fans can hop on and cycle for a while, which again generates power to charge batteries. Now that this technology exists, I’m sure that it will be installed in many applications, such as the workplace. Just by walking on the floor, energy can be created and used to provide power. Imagine how much power can be generated this way if floors are installed in high traffic areas. And ultimately, could we get our exercise at home, pedalling on our static bikes and at the same time reduce our energy costs? I hope so. No doubt this is expensive to install at the moment but these costs usually reduce when the volume of installations increases.

Coldplay admit that some air travel is inevitable and so insist that the aviation fuel that will be used on their flights will be made from waste cooking oil.

Whenever possible, they will use local equipment etc to save transporting some of their own to reduce their emissions.

Lighting for the shows will be LED, and the screens and PA systems will use 50% less energy than previous tours.

Fans have been offered advice on low-carbon methods of transport to the shows and those who agree to use these will be given a discount code.

As well as these energy saving measures, they are encouraging recycling, and will supply water refill stations for fans to top up their own bottles to reduce the use of single use plastic.

They will insist that their crew caterers offer plant-based menus, use locally sourced ingredients and support lab-grown foods. Any surplus foods will be donated to local food banks. Composting of any waste food will be done.

All merchandise will be sustainable and ethically sourced, and packaged in recycled materials. Unfortunately not supplied by us!

Apparently, Coldplay have always donated 10% of everything they earn to good causes which are environmentally and socially conscious projects.

So, whether you’re a fan of Coldplay’s music or not, you have to be a fan of their efforts to make a difference. It must be a huge undertaking to make these ideas happen on the scale that they need to, so hats off to them. And if one band can do it, why don’t they all? I would like to think that Coldplay would be happy to help the rest of the industry by releasing their methods; that way other bands won’t be starting from scratch so it should be a bit easier to apply these measures to their tour.

As I said earlier, if the technology can be scaled down for use in the home, then we can all do our part. It makes perfect sense to me so hopefully one day it will be more affordable for us.

Have a look at the full article at  - there are more interesting ideas and measures they are employing there.