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Carbon Initiative has Troon Courses Going Green

28 August, 2007
Troon Golf Australia has signed an agreement with Environmental Business Solutions to use its e-par environmental management software to minimise the impacts the company’s golf courses have on the environment. Troon will be the first in the world to undertake a comprehensive study on the level of carbon emitted by golf courses, which it hopes will be used as an environmental benchmark on a global level.

Troon Golf Australia’s director of agronomy David Lunardelli said the long-term goal of the e-par initiative was to make all Troon Golf-managed courses across the world carbon neutral.

“Our aim is make Troon Golf courses the most environmentally-friendly in the world,” Lunardelli said. “We are pleased to be a pioneer in this field and hopefully the results of our study will generate environmental benefits for golf courses across the world.

“Troon Golf is committed to addressing the issue of climate change through the implementation of programmes aimed at reducing and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions targeting reduction rather than large capital investment projects.

“Energy efficiency is recognised as one of the most cost-effective elements in any greenhouse gas reduction strategy and we are investigating innovative energy conservation measures that will reduce energy consumption and offset our greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our ultimate goal is of sustainability, and we will continue best practice principles to reduce our energy demands.”
While the programme is still in its infancy, Lunardelli says Troon, which oversees operations at more than 190 courses in 29 countries, has earmarked a number of initiatives as part of its bid to become carbon neutral. The first of these would be to include an energy management plan and waste management plan into each Troon Golf-managed facility’s e-par system.

Lunardelli says that Pacific Harbour Golf and Country Club in Queensland (pictured above) would be set up as the base model for all environmental and greenhouse gas initiatives, with the findings then used as a template for all Troon facilities worldwide.

“Early energy audits estimate the average maintenance facility emits 600 tonnes of greenhouse gas per year and of that figure 400 tonnes is attributed to electricity use, and 100 each to equipment and waste,” says Lunardelli.

“One study out of the US showed that the turf-only portion of an average golf club can remove 80 tonnes of carbon per year, and that’s not including all other plant life on a golf club.

“If we considered switching facilities to use green power this could potentially remove 400 of the 600 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. If we can prove to facility owners that the additional cost of switching to green power, which on average is two cents per Kw more than normal power, can be offset by energy saving initiatives we would be well on the way to achieving carbon neutrality.

“If we can save 600 tonnes of emissions across 190 clubs, this would amount to 114,000 tonnes per year of greenhouse gas or the equivalent of taking 1692 cars off the road.