Beautiful and Useful: National Trust reach Renewable Energy Milestone

The National Trust is proud to announce the completion of the largest marine source heat pump in the UK as part of its Renewable Energy Investment Programme. The new system, which extracts heat from seawater, is now meeting all the heating needs of 300-year-old Plas Newydd mansion house in north Wales. The house was formerly the Trust’s biggest oil consumer, using 1,500 litres on some winter’s days. That’s the same as a typical house would use in ten months. Now it’s being heated by a renewable system that makes use of the beautiful Menai Strait, which is right on the property’s doorstep.


Invisible Innovation 

You might imagine that the UK’s largest marine source heat pump would be easy to spot. In fact it’s practically invisible at the property unless you know where to look. For the Welsh team it was all about choosing a renewable that works with the property, and going through a painstaking process to ensure that the pump has minimal impact on the breath-taking views and landscape at Plas Newydd. Invisible innovation like this is about making a place more special. By installing a clean, green heating system the Trust believes that Plas Newydd has become even more beautiful and useful than it was before.

Adam Ellis-Jones, Assistant Director for Operations in Wales at the National Trust, said: “We’ve got an important collection that needs to be looked after here at Plas Newydd, and the new heating system will ensure we can conserve it for future generations to enjoy. It’s about selecting the appropriate technology for each of our special places. We’ve chosen a renewable that works with and blends in with the landscape.

“From the start, we’ve worked closely with SEACAMS (Sustainable Expansion of the Applied Coastal and Marine Sectors), led by the School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University, and conservation experts to make sure we got the best from the technology while protecting the site’s fragile environment and archaeology. We’re now very keen to share what we’ve learned with others.”

National news coverage

A BBC News team, headed up by presenter Roger Harrabin, visited the property in North Wales yesterday to report on the innovative installation. The sun was shining on uninterrupted views across Snowdonia as the news crew headed out on SEACAMS at Bangor University’s ‘Macoma’ boat across the Menai Strait to learn more about the technology and its benefits.


The heat pump is the first of five pilot projects to be competed as part of the Trust’s ambitious renewables programme, which we launched last year in partnership with renewable energy provider, Good Energy. It is expected to generate 300kw of energy per year, the equivalent to the heating needs of around 20 typical homes. The money save by the Trust through the switch to renewables will go back into conservation of the precious places we look after across the UK, from coast and castles to woodland and historic mansions.

You can support our energy and conservation work by switching to renewable energy provider, Good Energy. The company will pay the Trust up to £40 per year for each new customer signing up to its dual fuel tariff via the National Trust.


Sophie McGovern is a Media and External Affairs intern at National Trust with a focus on energy and sustainability. You can follow her adventures and insights on the National Trust Places blog. 



3 thoughts on “Beautiful and Useful: National Trust reach Renewable Energy Milestone

  1. The best example of Green Power that is efficient, works under all conditions and is not spoiling the scenery, unlike the ghastly turbines that are an eyesore and do not work all the time

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