How Does the Eden Project Work?

The Eden Project is a charitable nonprofit institution located in Cornwall, U.K. The project maintains a research facility and tourist attraction that consists of a large indoor rainforest kept under artificial conditions and operated with an emphasis on sustainability and green technology.

The Eden Project's main site is dominated by two large geodesic enclosures. These consist of lightweight steel frames covered with UV-transparent ETFE plastic sheeting. This sheeting is sealed around the edges of each cell to form a static-air barrier that insulates the biomes within the enclosures.

The two enclosures contain both a tropical-rainforest biome and a Mediterranean-climate biome. Water for these environments is collected from local sources, without the need for extensive pumping, as the site is located at the bottom of an old quarry and sits beneath the local water table. Power is generated on-site by wind turbines that produce enough energy for the entire site and an additional 5,000 households.

The Eden Project is funded by a combination of public money, private donations and a network of partnerships with private-sector firms. The project also draws revenue from souvenir sales, special events and an annual concert series known as the Eden Sessions, which is held in the summer.