Stratfield Saye Estate near Reading has been the home of the Dukes of Wellington since the Estate was gifted to the 1st Duke after his victory over the French in the early 19th Century. There are now, 200 years later, many different businesses and activities on the Estate.
Auditel was initially retained to manage the numerous energy supplies serving the estate, including the stately home itself, riding stables, country park, farm shop and the estate office complex. Infrastructure Development Work is ongoing to progressively improve and repurposing a number of buildings throughout the estate. In 2019 Auditel was approached for advice on how best to provide a cheaper and more sustainable solution for space heating and hot water on the Estate Office site. This site consists of a number of new and existing offices, a new Wellness Centre and some domestic buildings. Auditel’s sustainable business specialist David McDonald explains the process.
The Estate manages around 5,000 acres of mature woodland that produces around 1,000te of growth each year in a sustainable operation. Following a review of various options, a proposal was adopted to develop a new district heat network installed alongside a 150kW biomass boiler. This boiler would rely on woodchip from the local area as fuel. Low value thinning and windblown material from the Estate’s own woodland is now sold to Hampshire Woodfuel Cooperative to offset the cost of woodchip purchases. Successful Tender and Commissioning.
The project was tendered to four experienced renewable energy companies which specialise in biomass installations. The contract was awarded to Treco based in the SouthWest who designed and installed the pre-insulated heat network, a new Froling biomass boiler, a backup oil fired boiler and nine new heat interface units.
A detailed investment appraisal and business case set out the economic benefits as well as the carbon emission reductions arising from the investments. The project has a design life of 25 years, and there are positive economic impacts from a number of sources:
Renewable Heat Incentive Payments for heat generated;
Sale of heat to third parties connected to the network;
Savings against oil usage for heat used by the estate itself;
Sale of low-value wood to Hampshire Woodfuel Co-operative.
In addition, there are savings to O&M costs for the 9 separate oil boilers that were removed from the site – now replaced by a single maintenance contract for the installation. Carbon Reductions Heat generated from biomass is considered to be low carbon and sustainable. Auditel took steps to ensure that the process of selling timber and receiving woodchip was organised close to the site to minimise haulage emissions. Allowing for a small CO2e impact for processing and transportation, the project is expected to reduce emissions of CO2e by around 2,500te over its lifetime. This is a significant reduction and a valuable contribution to the fight against climate change.
The Estate continues to consider ways to improve sustainability and reduce running costs.