Mottisfont Abbey is one of the latest National Trust properties to begin work on a renewable heating system.
Project manager Adrian Fox (a Yorkshireman abroad) will be updating on progress. Below his first ever blog! Over to you Adrian:
Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire is the first site within the London and South East Region of the Trust to undertake renewable heating development as part of our REI programme.
Formerly an Augustinian priory founded around 1201, sections of which are still visible. The 13th-century cellarium also remains to the present day. In the 18th century the old monastic cloisters and Tudor courtyard were knocked down by the Mill family, creating the relatively modern appearance of the estate. In the early 19th century the estate became a centre for hunting, shooting and fishing and the new stable block was built. The Trust has looked after this stunning property since 1957.
Typical of most of our properties, it’s single glazed, and has already undertaken efficiency improvements wherever practical. Due to the very nature of the listed building decorated surfaces or fixtures of particular value make it challenging for further invasive work to be carried out on the building envelope.
That said it is still possible to improve operational energy efficiencies using an renewable heating system with appropriate monitoring and management, while respecting the historical, artistic and landscape values of the buildings.
February 2014 saw the failure of the oil heating system despite it being less than 15 years old. There are now two, new, unvented hot water cylinders with immersion heaters in, which were intended as a temporary fix while a permanent solution was scoped.
This temporary fix that is only capable of delivering around a 3rd of the peak demand. This solution has seen the electricity usage on site increase by over 40%. The sites incoming electrical supply is at capacity and work was required on the electrical distribution network in an attempt to balance the demands on the supply. The current situation simply isn’t sustainable.
Following options appraisal work a new Biomass heating system was the chosen solution, a system that can satisfy the required heat loads and be housed on or near the property, limit the disturbance to the archaeology and protected trees.
The only location to house a plant room and chip store is 200m away; add in the diversion of the heat main to avoid archaeology and protected trees and its nearer 250m. It’s taken quite an administrative effort to get to this stage and there are significant challenges ahead with unknown archaeology, uncertainty over hidden services, gradient changes, planning issues and then the physical install taking place in the height of the visitor period.
Let the fun Begin! Watch this space for updates as we progress.