The King’s Troop’s new carbon-neutral barracks in Woolwich, London, will be powered by muck.

The 120 horses at the troop’s current home in St John’s Wood create around 1,000tonnes of manure and bedding each year and army bosses want to put it to good use.

When the troop moves to its new base in 2012, hot water and heating will be powered by pellets created from the muckheap.

Commanding Officer Major Neil Cross said: “We do create a considerable amount of waste and where previously it went to be used in compost and mushroom propagation, we can now use it ourselves.”

He said the key issue for him was to ensure the new stables had good ventilation. The roof will have a solar chimney that pulls out stale air.

The building will also incorporate rainwater harvesting and dirty water recycling.

“Woolwich represents an improvement in accommodation for the soldiers and horses,” added Major Cross.

The King’s Troop must move from its base of more than 60 years when the lease runs out in 2012.

Its £16m new, eco-friendly home will be at Napier Lines in Woolwich — the historic home of the Royal Artillery.

It will boast stables and full facilities for 170 horses, with an indoor school, outdoor manège and canter track, museum, forge and all-weather forming-up area.

Construction company Morgan Sindall will start work in September and hopes to be finished by November 2011.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (22 July, ’10)