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Cadhay House goes green with new heating system
Thursday, 25 October 2012
THIS autumn owners of Grade I listed building, Cadhay House, near Ottery St Mary, will for the first time use sustainably felled wood from the estate’s own woodland to keep guests warm – and it’s all thanks to a new ‘green’ biomass heating system installed this year.
Cadhay’s owners, Rupert and Caroline Thistlethwayte, inherited the property in 2002 and have spent the last ten years restoring the house to its former glory.
When the Thistlethwaytes moved in, open fires and paraffin heaters were used to generate warmth until Rupert replaced and upgraded the heating system with oil-fired central heating - this required more than 45 radiators and four oil boilers.
As oil prices started to rise dramatically (at the end of the freezing conditions of Winter 2010, oil had increased by 70 per cent), the system became very expensive to run, meaning heating was only switched on when guests were in residence.
This led to a variation in temperature not particularly healthy for the house and its wooden panelling.
The Cadhay estate includes 80 acres of woodland and Rupert became interested in using this to make the property more self-sufficient.
Rupert explains: “Being self-sufficient was an attractive proposition, and with 80 acres of woodland at our disposal we felt sure there must be a more sustainable and cost effective option out there.
“With fuel supplies on site, we would be able to significantly reduce our carbon footprint and this seemed a whole lot more ethical and sensible than the existing system.”
The Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for Commercial Installations offers tariff payments for renewable systems including biomass, so with this in mind, Rupert commissioned Fair Energy, a renewable energy firm located in Exeter, to carry out the installation.
The existing oil boilers were replaced with one 130kW woodchip boiler which is supplying heat for the main house, two self-catering cottages and the greenhouse.
Kirsten Parrick, director for the eco-firm, comments: “On a site like Cadhay it’s important to be sympathetic to the location, so the plant is housed in an old grain dryer shed.
“We undertook the whole installation, from drawings and plans to creating the plant room and laying the heat main. We anticipate that there will be income from the RHI of £14,200 each year with £10,000 saved annually on oil purchase.”
Kirsten states that converting oil boilers to biomass in historic buildings is becoming increasingly common in the drive towards greener, more efficient heating systems.
Rupert and Caroline can now even control the temperature over the website, thanks to advances in control technology.
Rupert has strong feelings about Cadhay and its importance as a historic building: “I see my role very much as custodian with a responsibility to pass the house on in a form that is able to cope with whatever the future holds.”
By investing in a system that will both reduce the energy usage of the house and slow any degradation to the fabric of the building, Rupert is helping to ensure that Cadhay House will be enjoyed and appreciated by many generations to come.
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