A green chapter for Blickling’s literary treasures

What do Jane Austen, a glorious lake in Norfolk, and a state-of-the-art source heat pump have in common? A lot more than you’d think.

Home to more than 12,500 precious books, including rare first editions of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Blickling will now be heated by clean energy, thanks to a heat pump connected to its picturesque lake.

With one of the National Trust’s most important book collections, the estate needed to find a way to safeguard its priceless literary heritage from the damage being done by oil-fired boilers.

'The delicate nature of our books means a constant ambient temperature is essential for prolonging their life and slowing down the rate of deterioration,’  Kenny Grey, Blickling's House Steward, said.

'The oil-fired boilers that we were using tended to result in temperatures fluctuating; encouraging mould, pests and cracking along the spines of the books.'

Long term benefits

Blickling Estate now also features a state-of-the-art water-source heat pump, which sees three miles of pipes connected in a loop system under the surface of Blickling's lake, extracting enough heat to warm the entire property and safeguard the delicate books.

This environmentally-friendly scheme is part of the Renewable Energy Investment Programme, which was set up in 2013 in partnership with green energy provider Good Energy.

" It was an easy decision to make – not only will it reduce our carbon footprint and save money that we can put towards conservation projects here at Blickling, it's safer for our wildlife too."
- Spike Malin, Premises Manager

Thanks to the programme, the system will save us more than £30,000 a year on oil costs.

It will also reduce carbon emissions by 69 tonnes a year and help contribute to our ambitious target of transferring 50 per cent of our energy usage over to renewables by 2020.