Work has started on the installation of a new, eco-friendly biomass boiler at Polesden Lacey in Surrey. The boiler will burn wood chips instead of oil, producing only one tenth of the CO² emissions that are produced by the current oil-fired system.

The National Trust has employed sustainable energy experts Baystar to deliver the energy solutions for the estate with completion of the project due in Q1 2017. It’s the second of several installations planned for London and the South East as part of the National Trust’s national “Renewable Energy Investment Programme”.

In 2009, the National Trust set itself a target to reduce the use of fossil fuels for heat and electricity by 50% by 2020. Polesden Lacey is one of the largest uses of oil in the charity’s London and South East region.

The Trust is investing £500,000 to install the new boiler and remove the old oil tank. It’s expected that the income generated from the Renewable Energy Incentive Scheme will pay back this investment within 12 years.

Polesden Lacey has been reliant on up to 60,000 litres of oil per year to heat the historic house. Climate control is vitally important within the house for the conservation of the museum-quality items in the collection, which can be adversely affected by humidity levels.

The biomass system will remove the property’s dependence on oil and generate 897,000kWh of energy, which will heat not only the house, but also the café, gardener’s office and four cottages.

This will remove the environmental risk of an oil pollution incident, and save around 157 tonnes of CO² from escaping into the atmosphere. Increasing levels of CO² are known to be a major factor contributing to climate change.

The project aspires to source woodchip from the Polesden Lacey estate and surrounding properties in the future. The aim is to become self-sufficient in terms of our fuel supply by creating a sustainable heating source.

The new heating system isn’t the only way the team at Polesden Lacey are working to reduce their CO² emissions. Over the past six years the property has halved its energy demands, by upgrading eth Building Management System controlling heating in the house and through a range of simple measures that anyone could adopt in their own home. For example: saving energy installing draft proofing to windows and doors.

A range of alternative energy supplies are being installed across the Trust, from hydro and solar power to wood fuel.

Work to install Polesden’s biomass boiler will begin in December and continue until the end of March. The house and grounds will remain open to visitors throughout this time. For more information visit the Polesden Lacey website.