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BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 13th Mar '14
THE NATIONAL TRUST IS PUTTING CLEAN ENERGY AT THE HEART OF CONSERVATION
The National Trust, in partnership with renewable electricity supplier, Good Energy, has launched an ambitious plan to get green energy into 43 more of its historic buildings. It’s an exciting and innovative step in the charity’s commitment to protecting the nation’s special places and green spaces, so they can be enjoyed by everyone, for ever.
Patrick Begg, National Trust’s Rural Enterprises Director, said, ‘We want to show that renewable technologies can be made to work in some of the country’s most sensitive landscapes and historic environments.
‘By investing in renewable energy production, we can reduce our energy bills and invest more in vital conservation work around the country. It will put clean energy at the heart of conservation.’
Initially, five pilot projects will be developed at a cost of £3.5 million. If successful, the Trust expects to spend ten times that amount in a programme that will result in 50% of its energy being generated from renewable sources and its fossil fuel consumption slashed in half by 2020. This would be a fantastic achievement — not only in terms of carbon savings, but also in illustrating the unique role renewables can play in the UK’s energy future.
The eccentric home
The iconic neoclassical country house at Ickworth in Suffolk will be one of the first properties to benefit from the programme. Home to the eccentric Hervey family for over 200 years, it was gifted to the National Trust in 1956 and offers visitors acres of woodland and wildlife to enjoy alongside a striking architectural oddity.
But there is one historic artefact at the site that is not so welcome – the oil tank, which provides the property with the 51,000 litres of fuel it needs for heating each year. Under the scheme, this is expected to be replaced with a 300kW biomass boiler fuelled entirely by timber collected from the estate, which will bring the dual benefit of self-sustainability and improved woodland management.
At Plas Newydd, a Grade 1 listed mansion on the shores of the beautiful Menai Strait in North Wales, the sparkling water that has until now simply provided the property with an elegant backdrop could soon be supplying it with a local, natural heat source, too. Oil-fuelled boilers are to be replaced with a marine source heat pump – one of the largest of its kind in the UK – which will provide for all of the property’s heating requirements.
Selecting the most appropriate technology for each property is a priority and at Plas Newydd, installing a marine source heat pump (rather than its more common cousin, the ground source heat pump) will reduce costs and minimise impact on the historic environment.
If the trial phase of the project is successful, the National Trust plans a further 38 schemes. These will be tailored to individual properties and selected according to strict criteria, with the binding goal of ensuring each of the special places has a secure and sustainable future.
To help achieve its vision, National Trust has partnered with green electricity supplier, Good Energy.
As a pioneer in the renewable industry with its own community of 55,000 independent green generators, Good Energy provides guidance and expertise in producing power from local, natural sources, as well as financial support to the Trust.
Juliet Davenport OBE, the CEO and founder of Good Energy, said, ‘Britain is blessed with abundant sources of natural power and we hope people will be inspired when they see how National Trust properties can generate renewable energy in harmony with the environment.
‘Together we hope to encourage people to switch to green electricity, reduce their energy usage and, if possible, generate their own renewable power at home.’
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