Given its proud role as the protector and preserver of our green and pleasant land and its aim to generate half its power from renewable sources by 2020, it is only natural that the National Trust would focus on researching and installing the very best renewable energy systems throughout its property portfolio in the UK.
Under a new plan which intends to reduce energy consumption by 20%, the Trust’s main green sources will be biomass, heat pumps, hydro and solar. Energy consumption will be reduced by 20%.
An example of the progress being made by the National Trust is the heating system installed at Morden Hall Park in south west London. The scheme, which incorporates probably the UK’s most energy efficient historic building, the Stable Yard, uses both modern and more mature renewable energy methods. The property’s heat is supplied by the multifuel Xcel HEATBANK® thermal heating system, a wood-fired boiler and three different types of solar panels, as well as an Archimedes Screw, a more historic generator of energy, supplying the visitor centre and calmly generating power by churning the water of the River Wandle.
Thermal Integration co-ordinated all the renewable energy elements. The project was guided by Richard Hanson-Graville.
He described the initial discussions: “As you would expect there were a number of high-end companies and frankly new mindsets involved in the redevelopment of the Stable Yard. We had to demonstrate to the National Trust’s building surveyor, who had a HEATBANK® system, wood burner and solar panels actually installed in her own home, how we would adapt what she was used to, to suit this particular property.”
“We ensured that we maintained ongoing communication with all members of the project team including architects, low carbon consultants and the lead construction partner, as well as the providers of the underfloor heating, wood burners and heat pumps. Throughout the process, we were always aware of the needs of DEFRA and the health and safety requirements.”
The technical layout of the system revolved around the HEATBANK®. The system comprises two 475 litre HEATBANK® tanks, which are fed, depending on weather conditions and the time of year, by a mixture of solar panel, wood burner and heat pump, and work in tandem with an unvented hot water cylinder, which preheats incoming cold water using the solar
panels before sending it to the tanks. This provides continual inexpensive heat for the underfloor heating and the taps.
Richard continued: “In short the HEATBANK® thermal integration system stores renewable heat which can then be drawn off when it is needed and topped up as required via the heat pump. The banks and cylinder are neatly tucked away adjacent to the renewables showroom which attracts a steady flow of adults and school parties.”
Maureen Patel of the National Trust at Morden Hall is delighted with the results and commented: “The Stable Yard just used to be the storage area for our equipment and machinery. Now it has been transformed and we have restored the sensitivity of the area, whilst also generating our own power and becoming self sustaining in our own right. We are very conscious of our public role with initiatives such as the ‘Taster Days’ for renewable energy and checks by the Environment Agency to ensure everything is being run carefully and properly. The installation went very smoothly and the system pretty well runs itself, especially as we have so much here in the way of natural resources which cost us nothing.”
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