Sustainable Energy

Could this be the cleanest, friendliest place to live in the world?

Anmar Frangoul | Special to
The friendliest place on earth?
The friendliest place on earth?

For many people living in the developed world, day to day life is hectic and increasingly stressful. While we are more connected than ever before, the amount of free time we have to take stock of our lives and spend time with friends and family is constantly under threat.

Maybe we should move to north-east Scotland.

Founded in 1962, the Findhorn Foundation has sustainability and clean living at its core, and offers an alternative way of life to the millions of us who find ourselves in the rat race.

Its Ecovillage is home to a range of environmentally friendly features as well as residents who share similar values.

"One of the things that drew us to Findhorn was a desire to live closer to nature and to be able to have a sustainable lifestyle where we were living near our family and along with friends who also wanted to live a sustainable lifestyle," Lisa Shaw, a resident and director of Biometrix Water, told CNBC's Sustainable Energy.

The community is home to a 250 kilowatt biomass boiler – which helps cut carbon emissions by roughly 80 tons annually – solar water heating systems and a car sharing club that uses zero-emission electric vehicles. Findhorn even has its own local currency, the eko.

Wind power is also crucial to life in Findhorn and four turbines – owned by the community – meet all its electricity needs.

Residents at Findhorn Ecovillage, an environmentally friendly, self sufficient community, meditate in a circle by their grass roof cabin, Scotland.
Gideon Mendel | Corbis Documentary | Getty Images

"The first wind turbine… was put up in 1989 as a brand new machine, and it generates 75 kilowatts," Duncan Easter, project manager at Findhorn Wind Park Ltd., said.

"At the time, most of that power was being used in the community and that allowed us to pay for it relatively quickly," Easter added. "Then, we had a long pause before the regulations changed and we were able to get a better price for exporting power… in 2006 we put up the three additional larger wind turbines, taking us from a 75 kilowatt wind park with just one turbine to 750 kilowatts."

Scotland itself is a big player when it comes to wind energy. In April, wind turbines in Scotland provided 699,684 megawatt hours of electricity to the National Grid, according to data.

WWF Scotland published analysis of data provided by WeatherEnergy, which found that in April Scottish wind turbines provided, on average, enough electricity to supply "the electrical needs of 79 percent of Scottish households."

"We generate about a million units of power every year from our wind turbines here, and that's about what the community consumes," Easter said.

"Some years, if we're lucky with the wind – and perhaps unlucky for people wanting to enjoy nice summer weather – then we actually generate significantly more than that and we have a net export," he added.

The village's website says that it is a net exporter of electricity and that the generation of clean electricity is "one of our successful community businesses."

"The baseline reality is that we live in a beautiful house, we have renewable energy, we have renewable heating, we have sustainable food and we have a great place for our kids," Galen Fulford, a resident in the village and managing director of Biometrix Water, said.