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Our work to combat climate change at Anglesey Abbey

Solar panel installation at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Solar panel installation at Anglesey Abbey | © National Trust Images/Linda Goudie

Climate action is one of the key aims of the National Trust and that starts with properties such as Anglesey Abbey. Take a look at some of the things we have been doing to make a difference, including installing solar panels on the visitor centre roof and a water source heat pump to provide heat to the house and office spaces.

Solar panels at Anglesey Abbey

In 2016 we installed 42 kilowatts of solar photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Redwoods Restaurant. Almost all the electricity generated is used on site in the visitor centre, and is enough to supply the average energy needs of 11 UK homes.

We will save around £425 per month by generating our own electricity, which we can now put towards the conservation of the Anglesey Abbey estate and collection. Just as importantly, we have been able to reduce our CO2 emissions by 20 tonnes a year.

The panels were kindly being provided free of charge by our corporate partner, Panasonic.

Installation of a water source heat pump

We have also installed a water source heat pump to heat the house and some of our office space, in a bid to help the National Trust meet its renewable sources target. Together with the solar panels, these two projects have helped to provide the Trust with over 230,000 kWhs of renewable energy each year.

We used to use oil fired boilers to heat the house, and switching to a water source heat pump system has removed the risk of an environmentally damaging oil leak. The new system uses around one third of the energy used by our oil boilers, and this significantly reduces our carbon emissions. The low temperature background heat provided by the heat pump is also better for our sensitive collections in the house.

Fairhaven Bridge over Quy Water in the gardens at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Fairhaven Bridge at Anglesey Abbey | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

How does a water source heat pump work?

A heat pump is a device that uses a small amount of energy, in the form of electricity, to move heat from one location (the ground, air or water) to another, in this case the house. Heat pumps work in a similar way to a fridge, but instead of moving heat out of your fridge they move heat into buildings.

Using this technology, we now extract heat from Quy Water, which runs along the boundary of Anglesey Abbey. We extract between 1 and 3 degrees from the water, before returning it to the river further downstream.

We now use six heat pump units cascaded together to provide over 200 kilowatts (kW) of heat to the building’s radiator systems. The heat pumps will generate around 187 Megawatt hours (MWh) of heat energy each year removing the need to use 32,000 litres of oil per year and reducing our CO2 emissions by around 43 tonnes a year. Anglesey will save around £7,000 on fuel bills each year in addition to generating an income from the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

Drinks in the chiller cabinet in the cafe at Powis Castle, Wales
Plastic waste reduction is one of the National Trust's plans of action | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Reducing plastic waste

Did you know you can refill your water bottle for free at Anglesey Abbey? We're proud to be doing our bit to help look after the environment by reducing the amount of plastic wasted. If you've forgotten yours, or are in need of a new one, we also sell reusable thermal bottles in our shop, with every penny going back into looking after this special place. If you do decide to purchase a drink from Redwoods, you'll also find that all of our chilled drinks are sold in glass bottles, which can be easily recycled after use.

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

Wildflowers in June at Godolphin, Cornwall


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