The village of Horred obtains its water from a source 9 km (5 miles) away by pumping it from a well. Pumping well water uses energy. This gave us the idea that we could instead use the rain water from the roof of our new building. We collect all the rain water into a basin in our basement. This basin can store 22,000 liter (5,800 gallons), which was designed to satisfy our needs considering the yearly rainfall in the village. This basin uses a particle filter for the rainwater with an overflow protection system. When this water is used, it is again filtered for any sediment and pumped through a hydroponic system. Since the basin is located in a dark basement area, there are no issues with algae growth. We monitor the PH level and have seen an improvement in the rain acidity level compared to the 1990’s when this basin was installed.
Environmental Risk: None identified
Environmental Benefits: Lowering of the energy needs and lowering of the acidification of the rain water.
In cooperation with two of our neighbors, two furniture manufacturers, the local community, and a power company nearby, we started our own central heating plant in 2000 utilizing bio-fuel grown in the area.
This heating facility now produces most of the heat needed by the village of Horred through underground distribution. Our ECO certified forest re-grows in a pace well within our needs for local heat distribution. Our needs for heating in a year are 373,000 kW at a cost of SEK 244,000 (US $ 37,000).
Our need for air conditioning in Sweden is limited to a very short time period during a few summer months. We use two systems for cooling: Geothermal cooling from four drilled holes to a depth of 150 meter (500 feet) where we use the cooler temperature of the aquifer to cool our facility. A few air conditioning units are being used for air conditioning where our central system can not reach some of our offices located in the older buildings.
For our final processing of our textiles, we purchase propane to heat our dryers. Swedish propane is produced from 70% natural gas and 30% oil. Carbon dioxide pollution is less from propane than when running oil-fired heaters. Ekelund uses 118.700 kW of propane at a cost of SEK 116,000 (US $ 18,000).