The National Trust has Gone Green

Plas Newydd used to consume 1800 litres of oil a day.

Plas Newydd used to consume 1800 litres of oil a day.

The National Trust has a clear commitment to clean energy.  An energy milestone has been reached after the National Trust  completed Britain’s biggest marine source heat pump, which will warm up a 300-year-old mansion on the North Wales coast.

The marine source heat pump  provides 100 per cent of the heating needed by Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens in Anglesey. The 18th-century mansion used to be the Trust’s biggest oil user and on some winter days would consume 1,500 litres of oil a day – the same as a typical house would use in ten months.

This project at Plas Newydd is the first of five schemes to be completed in a £3.5 million pilot phase of a Renewable Energy Investment Programme, which was launched last year in partnership with their partner Good Energy.

Now Plas Newydd is heated with a new local and clean energy system, which pumps a small amount of sea water from the Menai Strait in Anglesey, through pipes to and from a heat exchanger on the shore, and then up 30 metres of cliff face to the mansion’s boiler house.

The 300kW marine source heat pump – one of the first and the biggest in the UK – cost £600k to install in total and is expected to save us around £40,000 a year in operating costs.

Adam Ellis-Jones, the assistant director for operations in Wales, said: ‘With the Irish Sea right on the doorstep of Plas Newydd, a marine source heat pump is the best option for us.

How a heat pump works.

How a heat pump works.

‘However, being a pioneer is never easy. There are very few marine source heat pumps and none of this size in the UK, so it has been a challenging project but a very exciting one.

‘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.’

The remaining pilot projects in the Renewable Energy Investment Programme are expected to be completed within the next year. If they are successful, the Trust plans to invest in 43 renewables schemes at the places they look after.

“We have committed to reducing our energy use by 20 per cent, halving fossil fuel consumption and generating 50 per cent of our energy from renewable energy sources by 2020.  This will enable us to reduce our energy costs by more than £4 million per annum, releasing more money for our important conservation work across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Watch the video for a demo of how it works.


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