Imagine how I felt when I found out that Queen Elizabeth II has an environmentally friendly mobile phone? It was as though I had been knighted. I don’t remember ever receiving a call from our Head of State, (although I would have been proud as punch to receive a Royal Command and indeed, I am quite sure I would remember such a call).
I have no memory of taking down details and replying with a contract for her Royal Highness to sign, but I do nonetheless ask myself, ‘how is The Queen’s mobile phone green and CO2 free? I have always said:
‘’Make the call, but make it green’’.
And it would appear The Queen and the Royal Family have really gone one better. Windsor Castle really has gone environmentally friendly with the installation of hydroelectric power. Hydro-electric power is already up and running at the Queen’s other residence in the Cairngorms – Balmoral Castle, and now Windsor Castle has followed suit.
The Queen took delivery of two giant Archimedes hydroelectric turbines in 2011. Weighing in at 40 tonnes, the turbine screws were lowered into place by crane at Romney Weir on the River Thames. They are the cornerstone for creating a sustainable energy source to help turn Windsor Castle into a home with the greenest mobile phones in the United Kingdom.
The screws are connected to WEG W22 IE3 class premium efficiency generators. Depending on water conditions the generators can produce anywhere between 200 to 300 kWh of power at peak flow. Not only will the project provide power for the Royal mobile phone but also it will provide green communication for more than 500 Windsor homes in and around the castle area.
The installation of these Archimedes screws is just the latest in a long line of incentives demanded by the Queen to cut down on her carbon footprint. Up until recently the electricity and CO2 footprint of her homes are said to have been phenomenal; with much Royal encouragement, every effort has been made to create initiatives that reduce running costs to come in the line with parliamentary demands for reduced costs.
Hydropower is created by flowing water to drive the turbines to generate electricity. The two massive Archimedes screws at the heart of this project were originally built in Holland. However, the idea was initially created by an ancient Greek engineer and mathematician called Archimedes of Syracuse. He designed the screws to raise low lying water higher, to irrigate land at the top of a slope. It really is a brilliant design and, alongside Romney Weir, to add an extra ecological element to the project, a new ‘fish path’ has been built, so that fish and eels can migrate upstream.
Installation took over four years at a cost of £1 million. Expensive? No, not really, the projected savings make the entire project very worthwhile. As well as saving around £1.8 million on running costs over a five-year period, Windsor Castle estate has reduced its carbon footprint by knocking off an impressive 800,000 kilos reduction in carbon dioxide emissions created from its grounds and buildings.
I must say I feel quite smug with what I’m about to say: Her Majesty’s mobile phones don’t cost the earth!