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F1 and the World (Part 4) - Teams // F1 factories turn attention towards the environment

Published by Christine

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Welcome to F1 and the World, the latest mini series from Sidepodcast. We’re investigating all the different ways that F1 affects the world around it, for better or for worse. Today we’re looking at the effort the teams are making to reduce their impact on the environment.

The FIA aren’t the only people making an effort to reduce the sport’s impact on the world. Individual teams have invested in some processes to help as well. Naturally, some do more than others, with Honda being the most obvious and prime example.

The Earth Dreams initiative began in 2007, as myearthdream. At the start of the season, fans were encouraged to pledge a simple eco-friendly promise – to turn off lights when they’re not needed, or shut off the water when brushing their teeth. A donation to the site meant you could also get your name on the car, although it was only small and hardly visible at all. The money raised throughout the season was added to by a donation from Honda, and then split amongst environment charities. This year, the idea is evolving, the title has been reduced to simply Earth Dreams. They haven’t announced specific plans as of yet, but they have confirmed that the idea is a long term initiative.

At the Honda factory, they’re implementing small but worthwhile changes to try and help out as well – they’ve introduced a cycling to work scheme, if you share a car you get a free lunch. They saved 6% of electricity simply by asking the designers to switch off their computer monitors at night. They’re also investigating the possibility of power by wind turbine.

Meanwhile, McLaren’s version of a factory is more like a state of the art piece of architecture. Set in 96 acres of a managed nature reserve called McLaren Park, the Technology Centre is a stunning building. It’s not just good to look at though, it also uses the land to its best advantage. The manmade lake is actually a giant heat exchanger, collecting rain water, filtering it through the reed beds, running it through the cooling system within the factory, and then refreshing the lake with a mini waterfall of used water. Excess rainfall goes to an overflow lake and nearby rivers.

The ecological thinking behind the Technology Centre started way back when the plans were developed, the building is orientated so that it picks up the most amount of light but the least amount of heat from the sun. As ever, other schemes are in place. A Green Transport Plan features restrictions on car parking and a shuttle bus to and from the factory.

The Renault factory also went through an overhaul of its procedures not so long ago, attempting to make its whole process carbon neutral. They brought in an onsite sewage pumping station that brought about an 800% saving in energy use. They also recover as much waste metal as possible, and in reducing their waste, also reduced lorry traffic by half.

Although we’ve only looked at three examples here, it does appear that everyone within Formula 1 is making the effort to at least appreciate the effect they’re having on the earth, and trying to do something to reduce that footprint. It’s certainly more than a lot of sports and teams out there.

That’s all about the environment for now. Tomorrow we’ll be looking at the technology involved in F1 and whether it can only be used in F1.

Theme Music: No Plastic Inside, Around the World

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