The action of Environmental Innovation Team of ARCHIPELAGOS Institute
Minimizing our environmental footprint is an important priority for ARCHIPELAGOS Institute. For this reason, we have created the Environmental Innovation Team, who researches the ways in which we can achieve this goal and works for its implementation.
In our terrestrial base in Ikaria Island we have already installed a hybrid biodiesel and biomass burner, which works with olive stone and wood collected from the pruning of trees and clearing of forests. In this way, we save 80% of the heating cost compared to using a conventional burner.
Our recent move to a new research base, in Pythagoreio of Samos, gave the opportunity to the Environmental Innovation Team not only to examine the building and make the necessary interventions in order to make it more environmentally friendly, but also to record, step by step, the results of each change.
The first tasks in progress are the installation of a wind turbine and photovoltaic units. At the same time, we continue the production of biodiesel from used cooking oil collected from small islands, which otherwise would end up either in the sea or in drains. This would cause pollution of the marine environment, or the destruction of sewerage networks and wastewater treatment units. The immediate goal of this project is to fully cover our needs in motor fuels, with priority in our research vessel, whose engine we’ve already modified appropriately.
In order to reduce energy consumption, we have replaced conventional light bulbs with LEDs and the energy-intensive devices with new ones, of modern technology, low power consumption and high performance (e.g. ++ refrigerators, kitchen gas, solar kitchen etc). By installing an online, real-time monitoring system of energy consumption, we can now have a clear picture of our energy footprint. Environmental Innovation Team will gradually connect this system to all research bases and stations of Archipelagos Institute on the Aegean Islands. The difference was visible from the first week, in which the energy consumption was reduced by 40%.
Our Seed Bank is one of the major areas that ARCHIPELAGOS Institute has developed over the past few years, aiming to collect, preserve and cultivate local varieties. In addition to seed production, our crops cover much of the nutritional needs of a large group of researchers, while we additionally use other products from selected local producers.
Although the term Environmental Footprint is widespread as a theory or as instructions to third parties, for us it is a serious matter and priority. Every day, we measure and analyze the results of our work. We confirm that being environmentally friendly not only helps the environment but also ourselves, our health and… our pocket. Our aim is not only to acquire knowledge but also to turn it into information that we can share with you.