The National Trust is investing £3.5 million in five green energy schemes as it kick-starts multimillion-pound plans to slash fossil fuel use.
A pilot project to install biomass boilers, heat pumps and hydropower technology at five properties, including Grade I listed mansions and castles, will take place over the next year.
If the pilot is deemed a success, the National Trust will go ahead with plans to spend in the region of £35 million putting renewable technology in 43 of its properties.
The plan aims to generate 50% of the Trust’s energy from renewables and halve fossil fuel consumption by 2020. The Trust currently spends £6 million a year on energy, with that figure set to rise to as much as £12 million by 2020 as fuel costs increase.
It is hoped that the programme across the 43 sites will reduce energy costs by more than £4 million a year, freeing up funding for conservation work as well as cutting fossil fuel consumption and improving the self sufficiency of the sites.
In the pilot, Plas Newydd country house and gardens, Anglesey, Wales, will have its oil boilers replaced with an innovative marine source heat pump that will meet 100% of the property’s heat requirements.
Croft Castle, Herefordshire, and Ickworth in Suffolk, one of the Trust’s biggest uses of fuel oil, will have biomass boilers installed to replace their oil boilers. Wood fuel to power the boilers will be sourced from the estates themselves.
Craflwyn, part of the Eifionydd estate, Snowdon, will have a hydropower scheme to generate electricity which will be sold back to the grid to raise revenue.
A hydroelectric scheme at Stickle Ghyll in the Lake District will meet 30% of the property’s energy needs.