There may be no greater monument to conspicuous consumption than the Rolls-Royce Phantom, but the automaker prides itself on its environmental awareness, as evidenced by the actions they've taken at and around their Goodwood facility. The building itself is home to an 8-acre "living roof," which is planted with a variety of sedum, or stonecrop, plants. It encourages biological diversity (earlier this year, RR released a story to the media detailing that skylarks had begun settling on the roof), acts as insulation in the winter, and helps cool the facility in the summer months.
Beyond just the roof itself, Rolls-Royce has planted over 400,000 trees and shrubs in the surrounding area, which in addition to attracting local wildlife, helps the facility blend into its regional surroundings. Just last month, it also announced plans to increase the amount of waste it recycles from 60% to 75%.

So, as you can see, while the cars they produce aren't particularly "green" (OK, OK, nix the "particularly"), the automaker is working in earnest to be a good corporate citizen and preserve the area in which it's set up shop.

This brings us to last week, when the Goodwood property introduced an owl box in the hopes of attracting Barn Owls to the area. The regional population of the birds has been declining, and RR hopes to help turn that trend around by providing a safe haven at Goodwood. The bird's new digs are nothing to sneeze at, either. Designed by staffers at West Dean College, it takes the shape of the iconic Rolls-Royce grille, but instead of the Spirit of Ecstacy sitting on top, it's a Barn Owl striking the familiar pose.

Additional boxes are planned for the area surrounding the manufacturing facility and offices.

(Another photo and RR's press release after the jump)

[Source: Rolls-Royce]



PRESS RELEASE:
A Rolls-Royce Welcome for Goodwood Barn Owls
30.11.2006

A custom-made owl box was unveiled today in the 42 acre grounds of the Rolls-Royce plant at Goodwood. It has been installed as part of the company's commitment to encourage biodiversity within its grounds. The box, designed and crafted by staff at West Dean College, Chichester features an owl mascot.

The Barn Owl, now a specially protected species, has declined in numbers by more than two thirds in the last 100 years, which is attributed to the intensification of agriculture and the loss of rough grassy areas around fields. In Sussex the numbers have dropped in recent years to around 100 breeding pairs. Dr Barrie Watson, President of the Sussex Ornithological Society, who advised Rolls-Royce on the best location for the new owl box said, "More environmentally friendly farming practices will provide more habitats for owls to hunt over. So it is important to provide secure nest sites for them, like the owl box at Rolls-Royce. I am delighted to see the company take this step."

Anna Rabone, environment consultant at Rolls-Royce said, "The emphasis at Goodwood is on operating a technologically advanced facility, producing cars to the highest quality, yet making a positive contribution to the biodiversity of the natural landscape. The lake and the landscaping, including our eight acre living roof, where non-chemical techniques are used to control pests, are proving a haven for numerous bird species and other wildlife."

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