The Eco Technology show returns to Brighton next week for the fourth consecutive year. Held this year at Brighton and Hove Albion’s AMEX stadium, the two-day exhibition is expected to attract over 4,000 visitors eager to get a glimpse of a more sustainable future.
There are plenty of reasons why the event is so successful and its location is clearly one of them. It makes sense to exhibit the newest initiatives in one of the UK’s most progressive cities. Bioregional endorsed Brighton and Hove as a One Planet City in 2012 – this means that, when the sustainability plan for the City is delivered, every resident will be able to live a happy, healthy life within the natural limits of the planet.
Brighton and Hove boasts truly ground-breaking initiatives across every one of the ten principles of One Planet Living. Under Zero Carbon for example, Brighton Energy Coop have just raised £135,000 in two days to install 1MW of new solar PV over the next six months. Meanwhile, Brighton and Hove Energy Services Cooperative (BHESCo) have launched their own share offer. Every member will contribute to increasing local renewable energy generation and tackling fuel poverty, whilst also receiving a 5% dividend year on year!
Turning to Zero Waste, only in Brighton would you find something like the Waste House. Designed by local architects BBM Sustainable Design, the house is 85% built from materials found in landfill, including toothbrushes, jeans and video cassettes and is used as a teaching space for the University of Brighton. It also saves on energy and carbon, with an A rated Energy Performance Certificate.
As for Sustainable Transport, the City has also announced a plan to develop a Boris-bike cycle-sharing scheme providing 430 bikes across 50 docking stations for an easy, healthy and green way to get around. If each bike was used to replace just one five mile car journey each day, the scheme would cut 300 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.
Sustainable materials: Born in 1998, the Wood Store in Brighton is a social enterprise selling furniture handmade from reclaimed wood. The first of its kind in the country, the store has helped nearly 25 other schemes to grow in the UK. Talk about leading by example!
Another social enterprise deserves a mention under the Local and Sustainable Food principle. No other city in Britain or in Europe can claim to have a more active, influential or effective Food group than the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership. With over 20 employees, BHFP helps people learn to cook, eat healthily, grow their own food and waste less. A restaurant that opened just last year, Silo chooses local ingredients that generate no waste; scraps and trimmings are put in a composter and used to produce more local food.
The city built beside water likes to save it too! Designed by Brighton firm LCE Architects, the Jubilee Library is a fantastic example of Sustainable Water use, collecting rainwater in a 10,000 litre tank and using it to flush toilets. In 2005, the year it opened, the building won 10 awards for place-making, regeneration and architecture.
To Land Use and Wildlife. When Brighton and Lewes Downs were awarded Biosphere status in 2014, this precious area of countryside and marine environment fringing the city became only one of five UNESCO biosphere reserves in the UK, and the first completely new site in this country for 40 years. The award will enable conservation and help develop public awareness of the unique landscape and its flora and fauna.
No city quite celebrates Culture and Community in all its diversity like Brighton and Hove. From Pride in August to the Fringe in May and CINECITY in November, the city hosts over 50 festivals a year. Events in arts, food, sport, music, community, environment and science means there really is something for everyone!
Brighton and Hove prides itself on being a fair city. It is accredited by the Fair Trade Association. Furthermore, 219 local businesses are signed up to the Living Wage campaign, which promises all employees a decent hourly wage; two great examples of Equity and Local Economy.
And so to Health and Happiness, the last but by no means least of the ten One Planet Living principles. What can I find to show that Brighton is a healthy, happy place to live? Well, on 5th April 2013 the World Health Organisation accepted Brighton and Hove into their network of Age Friendly Cities. And with all the initiatives explained above, where better to grow old than Brighton and Hove?
The Eco-Tech show can be added to this list to make 11 good reasons to visit Brighton and Hove next week. I look forward to seeing you there.
Regional Manager, Brighton & Sussex