Heritage Retrofit

BCD SPECIAL REPORT ON HERITAGE RETROFIT FIRST ANNUAL EDITION 43 HEATING NATIONAL TRUST PROPERTIES EMMA GRIFFITHS A S THE UK’s largest private landowner and custodian of many of Britain’s most treasured historic buildings, the National Trust (NT) has a varied range of properties in its care. These include 300 major historic houses, office buildings, visitor centres, 360 holiday cottages and around 5,000 tenanted farmhouses and cottages on NT estates. Climate change now poses the single biggest threat to the places the trust looks after bringing new, damaging threats to a natural environment already under pressure. It also poses a growing conservation challenge for the houses and gardens in the NT’s care, not least as a result of the increasing frequency of extreme weather events. The trust currently spends nearly £6 million a year on electricity, oil and gas, offering a clear business incentive to use energy more efficiently and, where possible, to produce its own. Aside from the economic benefits of moving towards a renewable future, playing its part in mitigating climate change is an organisational priority for the trust as a conservation charity. The National Trust aims to cut energy usage by 20 per cent from 2008 levels by 2020 and to generate 50 per cent of that from renewable sources on its own land. In the summer of 2015 the trust made its biggest ever investment in renewable energy to heat and power more of the historic places it looks after. The Renewable Energy Investment (REI) programme followed the successful completion of five renewable energy projects at NT properties, part of a £3.5 million pilot launched in 2013. In one example, a 5,000-litre oil tank in the grounds of Ickworth, Suffolk was removed following the installation of a biomass boiler, removing the risk of contamination from oil leaks. Using wood fuel sourced directly from the estate created an even bigger Blickling Hall in Norfolk, where the National Trust recently installed a 200kW lake source heat pump to heat the main hall