Croft Castle, in Herefordshire, is looking forward to a warmer winter thanks to its newly installed Euroheat HDG biomass boiler which is enabling estate managers to claim in excess of £20k annually in Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments, while saving over £10k in fuel costs per year! Thanks to the RHI, the system will also have paid for itself in around seven to eight years.
The project is part of the National Trust’s Renewable Energy Investment Programme, which has seen five pilot projects receive funding for the installation of green technologies in a bid to save around £4 million per annum in energy costs. Croft Castle is the first wood biomass project to be undertaken as party of the scheme.
The HDG Compact 200 wood chip boiler is set up in a district heating format to provide heating to the castle itself, several estate cottages, and the National Trusts offices. Wood chip is sourced from the estate’s own managed woodland, freeing up valuable funds to look after and improve the castle and its grounds. Next year’s log piles total 80 tonnes!
Supplying 74 per cent of the property’s heating needs, the biomass system replaces an inefficient and expensive oil-fired boiler that required some 20,000 litres of oil per year. Now the castle is expected to save an impressive 52 tonnes of CO2 a year, helping the National Trust to go some way to cutting its carbon footprint. The system also runs in conjunction with a small LPG peak demand boiler which is set up to meet any extreme weather periods; for example, temperatures of -8 degrees.
Tom Webb, from Euroheat, explains how Euroheat got involved: “The project went to tender last year and, given our reputation in the biomass sector, we were encouraged to go for it. The design had been undertaken and specified by a third party consulting company, which we felt could be improved upon to make it a better installation for the on-site staff (primarily the farmer on-site with the task of replenishing the fuel store). The result was a clever sliding roof system, enabling a far greater volume of wood chip to be stored for use, and enabling it to be filled by a variety of means.
“We also worked closely with a local construction company, CJ Bayliss, who specialise in historic buildings and sensitive sites to produce the bespoke building, replacing the previous dilapidated farm buildings which had been their previously. The actual installation of the boiler was undertaken by our specialist installation partner, the Efficient Energy Centre.
“It was a more expensive installation given the large district heating network and the type of building and setting we were dealing with. The project required the boiler house to be of particular high quality and in-keeping with the site, plus we had a team of archaeologists watching the district being dug due to the historic nature of the site.”
Proving its expertise in biomass, logistics and the specific challenges of historic buildings, Croft Castle stands as an example of Euroheat’s attention to detail and fit for purpose approach to heating.