Polesden Lacey goes green with a new biomass boiler

A wooden building

Work in is progress to install a new, eco-friendly biomass boiler here at Polesden Lacey. The boiler will burn wood chips instead of oil, producing only one tenth of the CO² emissions that are produced by the current oil-fired system.

Our targets 

In 2009, the National Trust set itself a target to reduce the use of fossil fuels for heat and electricity by 50% by 2020. Polesden Lacey is one of the largest users of oil in the Trust’s London and South East region. 

Polesden has been reliant on up to 60,000 litres of oil per year to heat the historic house. Climate control is vitally important within the house for the conservation of the museum-quality items in the collection, which can be adversely affected by humidity levels. 

The site of our new energy centre, where the biomass boiler is housed, when construction started
A fenced-off building site

Installing the boiler 

The Trust is investing £500,000 to install the new biomass boiler and remove the old oil tank. 

It’s the second of several installations planned for London and the South East as part of the National Trust’s national “Renewable Energy Investment Programme”. It’s expected that the income generated from the programme will pay back this investment within 12 years.

We’re working with sustainable energy experts Baystar to deliver the energy solutions for the estate with completion of the project expected by the end of March. 

Trenching works through the staff car park
A trench dug for pipework

In the future

The biomass system will remove our dependence on oil and generate 897,000kWh of energy, which will heat not only the house, but also the café, gardener’s office and four cottages. 

The project aspires to source woodchip from the Polesden Lacey estate and surrounding properties in the future. The aim is to become self-sufficient in terms of our fuel supply by creating a sustainable heating source.

The first delivery of woodchips is unloaded
A truck full of woodchips

Continuing to reduce our emissions

The new heating system isn’t the only way we are working to reduce our CO² emissions. 

Over the past six years we have halved our energy demands, by upgrading the Building Management System controlling heating in the house and through a range of simple measures that anyone could adopt in their own home. 

For example: 
-    installing draft proofing to windows and doors
-    turning off all appliances when you leave a room
-    composting waste food

The biomass boiler has been in operation since 6 March, and all buildings will be connected by 31 March.