Here at Braziers Park, we believe that sustainability is not just about resource management, but applies to all aspects of our lives and surroundings. We are conscious that we must continue to adapt and improve as new opportunities arise and new technologies develop. This is a constant challenge, as our community often swells from the twenty or so residents and volunteers to fifty or more when we have a houseful of guests who arrive for an event! Below are some of the practical steps we have taken to minimise our impact on the Earth.
Buildings and Services
Having a number of Grade II listed buildings poses several constraints upon us, requiring us to compromise.
• Ecotricity supply us with power which is generated from renewable sources. Where practical, we use LED lighting and automatic timing devices to reduce usage. We will soon undertake a study to determine what, if any, use can be made of solar power bearing in mind the restrictions we have
owing to the Grade II listed status.
• Since 2010, our space heating and hot water have been provided by two biomass boilers, fuelled by woodchip or pellets.
• We have installed dual flush systems in the toilet cisterns of the houses and composting toilets are used on the campsite.
• We are investigating the use of water-saving showerheads and tap sprinklers.
• Rainwater is collected from roofs and is used to irrigate the gardens during dry spells.
• Permaculture techniques reduce the amount of water required in our gardens while providing a haven for wildlife.
Food Production and Use
• Braziers Park has a large, productive vegetable garden, a greenhouse, a polytunnel and an orchard, all of which are tended without the use of chemicals.
• We endeavour to provide fresh, seasonal, home-grown food at all times. Sometimes we buy locally produced ingredients, organic whenever possible.
• Other supplies, including bulk purchases of rice, flour etc. are obtained from an ethical co-
• When home-grown fruit or vegetables are in abundance, they are dried, frozen or preserved for later use.
• Glass bottles and jars are used time and again. Plastic containers are refilled and single-use
plastics are avoided.
• Braziers participates in food recycling by using a weekly scheme which distributes unsold food from supermarkets.
• Meals are predominantly vegetarian, catering for vegans, meat-eaters and special diets as required. Each meal is prepared for a pre-determined number of people, minimising wastage.
• Any leftover cooked food is collected by a local anaerobic digestion service.
Environment and transport
• Beehives are incorporated into the gardens and grounds and there are areas of woodlands, pasture and ponds where nature is left undisturbed.
• Our fifty acres of land is surrounded by miles of native hedges, which are layered and tended as needs be.
• Old trees are felled and removed when necessary or left to decompose to provide wildlife with food and shelter. New trees are regularly planted, taking great care to choose suitable species and locations.
• Our community is situated just a short walk away from a frequent bus service, which has good connections to Reading and Oxford.
• There is one “pool” car owned by the community and a shed full of bicycles!