For an organization to become a low‐carbon community, delivering a range of sustainability initiatives is necessary. Renewable energy (RE) initiatives, offering a source of low‐carbon electricity to offset an organization's energy needs, fit with this objective. This paper examines the role of innovation in achieving low‐carbon energy in the National Trust (NT), a conservation charity and the largest landowner in the UK. It considers how an eco‐design approach to delivering innovative RE projects, specifically hydropower (HP) installations, has supported their transition to a low‐carbon community. Three HP projects delivered on time and within budget were examined; support for each was built through transparent and regular communications with the NT's membership. Despite limited resources and funding for innovation, the NT minimized the associated risk through effective management and external collaboration. It fostered an open environment for creativity and idea sharing, which was key to delivering the RE projects. Innovation was particularly evident in the HP initiatives explored, as eco‐design considerations informed new and innovative design choices and technology selection as each HP project was designed and constructed. Transitioning to a low‐carbon community is an achievable reality for a conservation charity, and this is enabled through the management of innovation to deliver solutions that meet the low‐carbon energy challenge.