As the opening of the United Nations Conference on climate change starts today at the Bourget, we turn to see the commitment of Disneyland® Paris in favour of the energy transition. David Courvoisier, Director Infrastructures and Buildings, believes it is twofold: to reduce energy consumption and reduce the use of fuel.
What is the aim of Disneyland Paris regarding energy transition?
Disneyland Paris has a very clear ambition, to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 30% before 2020. To reach that goal, the company concentrates on initiatives to reduce our energy consumption (electricity and natural gas), and that of the fuels used on site.
Concretely, how do you adapt in terms of energy?
One of our major projects – Villages Nature – is an environmentally friendly tourism project we are developing as a joint-venture with the group Pierre & Vacances-Center Parcs. It uses geothermal aquafer located 1 800 metres deep that should allow us to cover 97% of the heating needs of the future destination, while limiting the greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the excess energy from this source will be used to meet the heating needs of Disneyland Paris, currently the equivalent of 20 GWh of natural gas consumed in the themes parks and the Disneyland Hotel. Throughout the current year we launched the first works to modify the heating equipment, to adapt them to receive geothermal energy.
In parallel, the Group has implemented systems throughout the site to control and manage energy, has replaced lighting and other devices by alternative energy saving systems, and has increased the efficiency of the air conditioning, ventilation and pump systems through technological improvements and control procedures.
Every year since 2006, the Euro Disney Group continues to buy 15% of its electricity from renewable sources, which represents nearly 30 000 MWh, the equivalent of what three hotels consume. The Group has chosen the “kWH Equilibre” offer from EDF, the national electricity company. The offer is guaranteed by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. These “green certificates” guarantee the renewable origin of the energy produced by assuring its traceability.
How is energy consumption reduced on a daily basis?
Electricity consumption can be reduced through small, simple steps. But beyond that, we think of its use up-stream, by choosing energy saving lighting material in the parks (shows, attractions, walkways), or for our backstage areas. We have, for example, a large program to shift to LED, together with our partner OSRAM. It is already done on the Christmas tree on Main Street, U.S.A. We are also going to add lights backstage on the pedestrian pathways to reinforce safety. The upkeep of LED is not expensive, it costs less, lasts longer and uses very little energy.
With the new developments though, are you going to need more energy?
When we invest we take the opportunity to set up new technologies, to improve our environmental criteria. Let me give you an example: the hotel refurbishments are an opportunity to choose the highest standards in isolation or low-energy lighting. We have presence sensors in the corridors and heating and air-conditioning blocking cards in the hotel rooms. At Disney’s Newport Bay Club, the treatment of the pool water has been improved as well as the isolation between the internal and external basins.
Your second challenge is reducing fuel consumption throughout the destination. How are you tackling it?
We are just finishing a project that is rather symbolic in that sense. The Autopia attraction will have a 100% hybrid float by the end of 2015, which will make us save 50% of fuel over one year for the same quality experience! Work conditions for our Cast Members will be improved. Backstage, nearly 30% of our global float is electric. We are working on initiatives to use vehicles only when necessary, for deliveries to the warehouse for example. We limit the number of transfers by filling up the trucks differently. As mentalities evolve, we are sure there will be more car-pooling as well as more personal electric vehicles. To anticipate it, this year we set up new recharging terminals for employees backstage.
Lately there is much talk of the relationship between water use and climate change. Do you think about it?
Of course, here too we want to adapt. We are redoubling our efforts to reduce consumption of drinking water on the site. As such we have built a wastewater and recycling treatment plant, an almost unique solution in France and Europe that has been operating since 2013. It treats the wastewater of our two theme parks and the Disneyland Hotel, allowing to obtain treated water of high quality which is used to fill basins such as the one in Adventureland or attractions like Catastrophe Canyon, but also clean the roads, watering green spaces including the Golf Disneyland, or contribute to cooling the power plant of our destination. This plant has saved about 500,000 m3 of drinking water in 2 years, equivalent to the annual consumption of 3,335 French households!
“At the Technical Department we are keen to act by implementing equipment that performs well in order to reduce the company’s environmental footprint and the impact on the climate. This being said, each one of us needs to adopt a responsible gesture, like simply turning off the lights when leaving a room”, David Courvoisier says.