Renewable Energy in Action

For many, the phrases ‘renewable energy’ and ‘clean technology’ seem an enduring mystery; something only to be understood by scientific whiz kids, radical environmentalists and large, multinational energy corporations. However, those who feel baffled by these seemingly alien ideas should fear not because the National Trust is here to shed some interesting, and above all accessible, light on green power.

Sweet Chestnut Coppice used to power the boiler. © Ross Wingfield

Sweet Chestnut Coppice used to power the boiler. © Ross Wingfield

 On 17th September Scotney Castle in Kent is opening its doors to the public not only to show-off its beautiful building and grounds, but also to show its renewable technology at work. Working with globally renowned green energy specialists Rural Energy, the team at the 14th Century Castle installed a biomass boiler in 2010. The boiler replaced the original oil-powered heating system, providing warmth for the entire building and reducing the Castle’s carbon emissions by 404 tonnes since its fitting. The wood chip boiler is powered by the 770-acres of managed woodland found within Scotney’s estate.

 Ross Wingfield, the Senior Ranger at Scotney, says that the event hopes to show how the new boiler fits in with the Castle’s historic environment. As well as this he emphasised the positive effect the boiler has had for nature on the estate. Over the last six years the management of the Sweet Chestnut Coppice used to power the boiler has meant that a wider-variety of wildlife has flourished in areas which were previously covered by the coppice’s closed canopy.  Cutting down and reusing the fast-growing coppice year-on-year not only allows for the maintenance of historic woodland, it also allows the estate to be almost wholly self-sufficient for energy. Since the installation of the boiler the Castle is said to be 96% carbon neutral in its heat production. This is a huge step towards the Trusts mission to reduce our use of fossil fuels for heat and electricity by 50% by 2020. So if you want to learn more about how we are using renewable technologies in our historic places come along to the event at Scotney or find out more at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/what-we-do/big-issues/energy-and-climate-change/…Who knows you may even be inspired to take your own, slightly smaller, green energy stand at home!

© Stephen Robson

© Stephen Robson

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