12 March 2019
It previously took 35,000 litres of oil a year to heat the Grade 1 listed mansion house and restaurant at National Trust’s Wimpole Estate, but newly installed renewable heat pump technology has taken this figure down to 0. The heat pump uses around one third of the energy needed by the previous oil boilers, and has reduced carbon emissions by 47 tonnes per year as well as saving over £8,000 a year in fuel costs. Fit for the Future practitioners from Guide Dogs, RSPB, Historic England, English Heritage, Diocese of Ely and National Trust headed to Wimpole to find out about the installation and related successes and challenges first hand.
Dee Nunn, Project Manager, takes Fit for the Future members on a tour to talk installation, successes and challenges
Wimpole Estate includes a Grade I listed mansion, park, and gardens, and also encompasses a working farm. As well as reducing fossil fuel dependence, cutting carbon and saving money, switching to a ground source heat pump has removed the risk of an environmentally damaging oil leak.
The house and gardens. Image © National Trust
The National Trust have set themselves ambitious energy targets across the whole organisation, with aims to reduce energy consumption by 20% from baseline by 2020, generate at least 50% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, get off oil completely, and achieve a positive return on investment. Their Renewable Energy Investment Programme includes the installation of hydro turbines, solar PV, heat pumps and more to generate clean, renewable energy at a range of places, from holiday cottages to historic houses.
The aim at Wimpole was to source as much energy from renewables as possible whilst maintaining conservation heating for the historic collections within the mansion, which include one of the National Trust’s largest and most varied libraries. There was also a desire to limit vehicle movements in the heart of the property, and the restriction that no new structures could be built. Heat pumps were therefore a natural fit.
Good grounds for a green future- the heat pump site plan and requirements are explained
Dee Nunn, Project Manager, was able to offer that invaluable end-user perspective on the installation as well as the related successes, challenges, outcomes, top tips and lessons learnt. Practical challenges included providing access and head room for a drilling rig, having a clear scope of work for ground works reinstatement, and planning for getting the equipment and pipework into the grade 1 listed buildings.
A look behind the scenes. Fit for the Future site visits are about seeing projects in action & getting the end user perspective
From the practical to the theoretical- Dee delved further into the logistics and technology during a presentation. Fellow practitioners also had a chance to talk about their own plans and projects and put their questions to Dee.
The burning question- how exactly does heat pump technology work?
The practitioners in attendance reported that the chance to see technology and equipment working was highly valuable, and, as always with our site visits, the clear advantages of seeing and hearing about an ambitious and successful project like this first-hand. Another day well spent, working towards a climate-friendly, adaptive and resilient future for all the organisations involved!
Fit for the Future members can access the full presentation from the day in our online members area. Not a member but interested in attending site visits like this? Get in touch, and see what other opportunities we are offering this spring and summer.