Ickworth: National Trust scheme to move away from fossil fuel gathering pace

Ickworth House

Ickworth House - Credit: Archant

Those behind a pioneering scheme to stop Ickworth House’s reliance on fossil fuels are now considering a raft of other measures to make the site more sustainable.

The National Trust is currently designing a 300kW biomass boiler for the Horringer site, which will be powered by wood from the estate and should be operational by June 2015.

The project is part of a £3.5million pilot taking place across five UK properties, which if successful, would see the heritage charity spend ten times more on a further 38 properties with the aim of halving fossil fuel consumption by 2020 and making £4million of savings each year.

Miranda Campbell, the National Trust’s regional environmental practices advisor, said she hoped changes made at Ickworth would inspire businesses and visitors. She added: “That is our aim to get off oil and we are a large user of oil relatively speaking. The thing is when you are buying oil you are basically supporting the oil industry. We don’t see that money again, whereas when we are buying woodchip from our own estate, then it gets invested back into the estate. It’s a real circle and it’s also what we have done in the past. It’s returning the estate to being working woodland.”

She added: “It’s a story that illuminates the history of Ickworth, but its also a sustainable picture economically and environmentally.”


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The power will be used to run two types of heating at the site, traditional comfort heating and conservation heating in the Rotunda that prevents the collections being damaged by humidity. Mrs Campbell said while working on the scheme, a decision had been made to install energy-saving LEDs into Ickworth’s dining room and drawing room chandeliers. She added: “We’ve been looking at every aspect at Ickworth, not just on energy but also on water. We’ve already got some rainwater harvesting but we are looking at other opportunities because we have got all that roof space, so it makes sense. We’re currently looking at flushing the toilet with rain water.”

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