Getting warmth from the woods

Published : 14 Jan 2016 Last update : 07 Nov 2017

As we continue to develop ways to use renewable energy to heat and power more of the historic places we look after through our £30 million renewable energy investment programme, one of our successful pilot projects, launched with Good Energy in 2013, has been officially opened.

(Photograph, left to right: David Bailey, General Manager, Croft; Iain Carter, NT Herefordshire Countryside manager; Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change; Bill Wiggin MP, North Herefordshire.)

Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, visited Croft Castle nestled in the beautiful Herefordshire countryside to see how our new biomass heating system is getting the property off oil, reducing costs and benefitting the environment.

Coming off oil

The old boiler got through 19,500 litres of oil each year, generating a whopping 52 tonnes of CO2. The new state of the art system uses woodchip from the estate to provide heating for the castle, shop and offices – enough to heat 12 average UK houses. It has also slashed bills by £6,000 each year.

By using wood fuel from conifers, sourced directly from the 1,500-acre parkland, we are also improving nature conservation. With the conifers gone, there is space for the ancient broadleaf woodland, dating back to the 1600s, and wildlife to thrive. There’s also more space for you to walk around - not to mention much better views of the landscape.

Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd MP, said: 'It’s great to see investment in this kind of technology and I wish the National Trust every success for future projects.'

" The National Trust is cutting emissions and reducing its energy bills thanks to the new innovative biomass boiler at Croft Castle in Herefordshire."
- Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

Better countryside management

Iain Carter, the National Trust’s Herefordshire countryside manager, said: 'The new heating system has provided financial benefits to the estate and because we are sourcing the woodchip from our land we are better able to drive improved woodland management, positively impacting on wildlife and this special landscape.'

The Trust’s rural enterprises director, Patrick Begg, added: 'It is testament to the importance of this work that the Energy Secretary wanted to come to Croft to see the benefits this pilot project, supported by government funding, has made to our renewables work.

'As well as the castle, office and shop becoming self-sufficient in heat, by using wood fuel sourced directly from Croft's 1,500 acre parkland, we are also creating bigger, better habitats and improving nature conservation.'

In addition to supplying general heating, the system, which took twelve weeks to install, provides conservation heating to the Mansion to ensure the historic building and collection is kept at the right temperature and humidity conditions.

Watch the video below to find out more about Croft's new biomass heating system.

Our commitment to a greener future

Following the completion of five pilot projects, which were part of a Renewable Energy Investment Programme, the Trust has made a commitment to invest £30 million in over 40 more renewable energy projects to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and source 50 per cent of its energy from renewable sources on land it looks after by 2020.

Juliet Davenport OBE, CEO and founder of Good Energy, said: 'It’s been fantastic to see how renewable projects like the biomass boiler at Croft Castle are transforming the energy use of some our oldest and most special buildings. It’s a very inspirational approach that the National Trust has taken.

'We’ve worked with them to inspire visitors to switch to cleaner, greener forms of electricity at home too.'

Our work on energy

Find out more about how we're being careful with the energy we use, and tips for you to reduce energy and save money in your own home