Cumbria Green Build & Sustainable Living Festival

Community • Eden

An annual festival that's full of inspiring ideas and 'how to' skills for making homes, communities and businesses more sustainable.

  • Climate emergency summit audience.
  • 'There is no planet B' at the climate emergency summit audience.
  • Veg growing workshop.

Cumbria's Green Festival story

The Cumbria Green Build & Sustainable Living Festival is the region's biggest annual celebration of low-energy homes and sustainable living, showcasing inspiring ideas and skills for greening up homes, communities and businesses. The renaming of the festival a few years ago, adding 'Sustainable Living' to the original 'Green Build', reflects an increasingly diverse spread of events beyond just buildings and energy.

At the outset of planning this festival, CAfS set the following principle objectives for the delivery of a successful programme:
Raise awareness of climate science and practical solutions.
Stimulate action.
Share skills and create networks.
Showcase innovation, aiming to normalise low-carbon lifestyles and technologies.
Promote 'decade to zero' concept, aiming for Zero Carbon Cumbria.
Raise the profile of CAfS and funders/partners.

The full festival programme of 50 events combined events directly managed by CAfS and external / 3rd party events, and comprised a total of 71 timed sessions. The events programme is varied, and includes: open home visits ranging from renovations of traditional solid wall properties, to new builds (particularly Passivhaus principles) and upgrades to modern properties (particularly the addition of renewables & battery storage technologies); headline strategic events on climate emergency responses (Carbon & Climate Literacy courses, the first Cumbria Climate Emergency Action Summit); skills workshops (e.g. lime working, solid wall insulation, foraging skills, grow-your-own vegetable courses); and popular food-related events (growing courses, garden visits, foraging, low carbon menus).

Useful learnings from Cumbria's Green Festival

The high attendance and enthusiasm across the programme demonstrate a growing awareness of and interest in all aspects of sustainability.

For festivals of this scope and scale, it is essential to begin planning as far in advance as possible, preferably more than 4 months ahead (which has typically been the case in previous years).

The scale of the festival programme necessarily needs to fit the available funding, balancing grant funding and sponsorship with additional income which can reasonably be raised from charging to attend selected events.

Festival promotion has used a broad variety of media, and notably the rise of social media advertising (particularly Facebook) has proved increasingly effective, rather than the time and cost of distributing flyers, posters, etc.

Switching event feedback away from paper-based surveys to an online evaluation tool would be very beneficial.

The pandemic proved to be a catalyst to move away from an exclusively face-to-face event programme to more online formats.

Cumbria's Green Festival's metrics

Numbers of events, number of attendees, feedback surveys.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...



Response to climate crisis

Mitigation & Adaptation




Community, 10 to 49 people

Shared by

Carbon Copy

Updated Feb, 2024

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