Chipping away at environmental impact at Knightshayes Court

Exciting progress is underway at Knightshayes Court as the National Trust property starts work to replace the current oil heating system with an environmentally friendly biomass heating system. Visitors will see lots of activity taking place throughout March and spring as a new, sustainable biomass heating system for the house and stables building is installed.

Biomass heating is being introduced at Knightshayes as part of the charity’s goal to ensure 50% of the Trust’s energy comes from renewable energy sources by 2020. The new system at Knightshayes will remove oil consumption and replace it with the sustainable resource of locally sourced woodchip. The project is one of over 40 projects currently within the Trust’s national Renewable Energy Investment Programme.

Once the system is in place in spring, Knightshayes will join other local National Trust places such as Saltram, Killerton, Cotehele and Castle Drogo which have installed biomass heating systems through the national programme and which are now operating more effectively and sustainably. There are currently over 60 woodchip, pellet or log boilers installed at National Trust properties nationwide with more initiatives planned through the national renewables programme to work towards achieving our 2020 target.

Switching from oil to biomass will give Knightshayes a more sustainable, local energy supply which reduces fossil fuel use and removes the environmental risks posed by oil storage and potential leaks to this sensitive property. The biomass heating system at Knightshayes will provide heat to the house and stables, replacing the current old oil-fired boilers which are coming to the end of their operational life.

It’s an exciting change as the heating system will be powered by locally-sourced wood chip, initially provided by local wood fuel supply companies who are accredited by the Biomass Suppliers List. Within three years the property will transition to supply its own wood chip, using suitable timber from the woodland at Knightshayes and surrounding Buzzards Estate.

Not only will the new biomass system mean that Knightshayes will have a sustainable and more efficient heating system, it will also fully remove oil heating from the property and help save costs for the charity. Knightshayes expects to save around £30,000 annually on the cost of oil with additional savings in excess of £4,000 per year on electricity currently used to heat the stables café and shop. Substantial savings such as these mean that Knightshayes will be able to re-allocate the much-needed money to continue caring for the house, gardens, parkland and undertake important conservation projects.