Shell founders house goes green

A National Trust property, once owned by the family that founded the Shell oil company, has made the switch from oil to a renewable energy heating system.
Upton House 1.jpg
 
Upton House, in Warwickshire, was using 25,000 litres of oil each year to heat the estate. It now produces the equivalent energy from two new wood pellet boilers, which is enough to heat eleven average sized houses. This will save £6,000 a year on heating bills and 55 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
 
The successful completion of the Upton House and Gardens project is the first milestone in the Trust’s £30 million investment programme in renewable energy, announced last year, to heat and power some of its historic places [1].
 
The estate and gardens were gifted to the Trust by owner, and then Shell chairman, Lord Bearsted, in 1948.
 
Ed Wood, the Trust’s renewables project manager at Upton House, said: “The irony that the estate was owned by a family whose fortune was built on oil was not lost on us when we started our project to take Upton off this fossil fuel.
 
“In the past, oil was the most effective way to heat the property. Times have changed and to lower our carbon emissions and meet our targets to generate 50 per cent of all energy we use from renewable sources by 2020 we felt it important to change our energy source here.”
 
The property removed four oil boilers, and in doing so, the associated risks of oil leaks. The new biomass boilers, with the wood pellets sourced from the UK, are heating the house, property offices, the squash court gallery, restaurant and cottage. 
 
Julie Smith, General Manager at Upton House, said: “Installing the new heating system has met the energy needs of this wonderful country house with appropriate consideration for the heritage of the property and gardens.
 
”It took just eight weeks to install and clearly shows how we are committed to safeguarding our heritage and helping to protect the natural environment.”
 
Mike Hudson, Renewable Energy Director for the National Trust, said: “This is a great example of what support from the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme is enabling the Trust to do. Schemes like these cut carbon, promote local sustainable wood management and work in harmony with the natural and built environment. They work for the local environment and economy and support national energy and climate change ambitions.”

National Trust responds to Amber Rudd’s speech on climate change

In her first major speech as Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd has today set out the government’s approach to combating climate change.

A National Trust spokesperson said: “Climate change is having major impacts on the natural and historic environment. We aim to play our part in reducing emissions from our own activities through our renewables programme. We want to see strong leadership from the government abroad. This must be backed up by an ambitious set of polices to reduce emissions and the impact of climate change at home.”

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National Trust invest £30m in sustainable future

Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens, Anglesey, Wales. This fine 18th century mansion sits on the shores of the Menai Strait.

Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens, Anglesey, Wales. Home to a marine source heat pump which was installed in 2014. Credit National Trust images, John Millar

The National Trust today (Monday 6 July 2015) announced its biggest ever investment, of £30million, in renewable energy to heat and power more of its historic places. The announcement follows the successful completion of five renewable energy projects at National Trust properties – part of a £3.5million pilot launched with Good Energy in 2013.

The investment, by Europe’s biggest conservation charity, marks a milestone towards reaching its targets to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, cut energy usage by 20% and source 50% from renewable sources on its land by 2020.

The Trust’s renewable energy programme could also help save up to £4m on its energy costs each year. Electricity generated from some of the projects will be sold to the grid providing the charity with a source of income. This income, coupled with the savings made, will allow more money to be spent on vital conservation work.

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Join our press office as an Energy and Environment Communications Officer

Want to create engaging content about innovative National Trust energy projects like this marine source heat pump scheme? We’re looking for a new Energy and Environment Communications Officer to join our central press office team in Swindon.

We look after over 300 places and spaces across the UK, from coastlines and castles to cottages and caves, to make sure that they can be protected and kept beautiful forever. Heating and powering such a diverse range of properties costs us over £6 million each year – money that could be better spent on vital conservation work. That’s why we’ve committed to generating 50% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020 and reducing overall energy consumption by 20%. No small task but an important one, which we’d like you to help us deliver.

As the National Trust’s Energy and Environment Communications Officer, your role will be central to promoting our important climate change work and cleaner energy vision. There’s a lot happening here already – we’re using heat pumps, hydro and biomass to generate clean energy – and you’ll spread the word about this and why it’s so important.

Through multimedia content, events, promotional materials, partnership work and other ways that you see fit, we want you to inspire and engage internal and external audiences in our activities, policies and campaigns. Working as part of an award-winning, multi-disciplinary team, you’ll share stories about our ambitions and achievements. You’ll visit properties to see the work in action. You’ll keep up-to-the-minute with relevant news and build great working relationships with the media and other partners. Your role will be hugely varied and worthwhile as you work to help to make a valuable impact on our vision.

Apply before February 25 2015: National Trust Energy and Environment Communications Officer (maternity cover – up to 1 year)

A fresh spin on green living this September

From giant hamster wheels and behind-the-scenes tours to green gardening advice and the chance to win a year’s free electricity – there will be fun for all ages at lots of National Trust places this September.

Give green living a whirl at National Trust places in September ©Good Energy

Give green living a whirl at National Trust places in September ©Good Energy

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Turning water into light

Andrew Sawyer, Property Curator at Cragside, explains how they’re recreating history with the return of hydroelectricity:

Cragside Curator Andrew Sawyer

In 1878 a miracle was performed at Cragside in Northumberland when Lord Armstrong turned water into light to make it the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity.

He achieved this by lighting arc lamps, for his picture gallery, with power derived from a neighbouring brook.

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National Trust reaction to new fracking rules

The Government is announcing today a bidding process for licenses on fracking – new rules will exclude World Heritage Sites, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) from the round of licenses except in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Forty per cent of the land owned by the National Trust is in the National Parks of England and Wales and the conservation charity owns large areas of land in AONBs. Here is the Trust’s reaction to the announcement from Richard Hebditch, Assistant Director, External Affairs:

“It’s right that the Government has recognised the concerns about fracking in special places like national parks and AONBs. We welcome the new planning guidance which will makes clear that applications should be refused in these areas other than in exceptional circumstances.

“But it’s not just national parks and AONBs that could be at risk but other special places too, which is why we’d like to see this approach extended to nature reserves and other wildlife sites like Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) as well.

“This is a significant change in approach from DECC. We hope it will reflect a much more cautious approach that recognises the risks of turning some of the most special places in the country over to industrial scale extraction of shale gas and oil.”