Greening Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire

The Drawing Room at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, showing the painting 'Orlando delivering Olympia from the Sea-monster' attributed to Lodovico Carracci, over the fireplace
The impressive chandelier in the Drawing Room now uses LED lightbulbs National Trust Images / Nadia Mackenzie

Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire is a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures and original furnishings from the neoclassical era. When you walk into the grand Marble Hall, with its Corinthian columns and Robert Adam interiors, you are transported back to a spectacular time for architecture.

Lots of ‘anti-ageing’ energy saving treatments are being applied across Kedleston. These are not only making the property warmer for winter, but also helping the hall to grow old gracefully so it can be enjoyed forever. A few years ago, we opened up the Marble Hall’s intricate ceiling for repairs and insulation. As project manager Paul Wankiewicz explained, the material used had to be carefully selected.
‘Hemp and rock wool insulation was used in the parts of the roof that we could get to, which was around half of it,’ Paul said. ‘We wanted to use organic materials that wouldn’t have a risk of spreading fire, and also wouldn’t encourage little critters to get into it and live there.’

A whole lot of lights to change

Throughout the 18th-century hall, big changes have been made to the lights of all shapes and sizes that adorn the walls and ceilings of the showrooms. These lights illuminate the splendour of the hall and are a feature in themselves, but with more than 400 bulbs, it used to cost around £4,000 a year to power them all.
Earlier this year, carefully selected LED lightbulbs were installed, thanks to funding from Arts Council England. This swap has led to annual savings of around £3,600 and reduced energy use by 36,000kWh – that’s the equivalent of 1.2 million cups of tea.
Charis Fowler, our environmental practices advisor, said: ‘While changing lightbulbs sounds like an easy task, each of our showrooms has very different needs in terms of character and brightness. It took us a while to get it right, but it was definitely worth it because it means we’re now better able to look after Kedleston and its collection, even if fuel prices rise dramatically.’

Small changes make a big difference

Another simple and small change happened after new biomass boilers were installed. Our engineers found that hot water was still being circulated around the heating system, even when fans delivering the conservation heat were switched off (the old oil boilers they replaced were so inefficient this wasn’t noticeable before). It was easy to solve that problem – we now turn the pump off when the fans are off.

Changes such as these have led to a sizeable reduction in energy at Kedleston - and the team aren't stopping there. ‘Kedleston was built in the late 1700s at the start of the industrial revolution, so it has seen a number of energy trends over the years,’ Charis said. ‘How this hall is powered is as much a part of its history as its future. And we want to make sure this special place has a future, so we will keep looking for ways to become more sustainable.’

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