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Utilise Plus Event Report: Sustainability Tour of Polesden Lacey
On a warm summer’s morning, delegates made their way to Dorking for a Sustainability Tour of the National Trust’s Polesden Lacey. This event was part of the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC’s ongoing Utilise Plus programme, which helps small and medium sized enterprises lower their energy bills and save money with grant funding, energy audits, and a variety of events.
After a short introduction by SBP CIC’s Jack Dale, Polesden Lacey’s Premises and Compliance Officer, Collette Hamilton, spoke about their impressive £500,000 biomass boiler installation. The boiler has replaced their oil-fuelled heating system and heats their café, shop, cottages and historic mansion. Collette explained that the project was undertaken as part of the National Trust’s ‘Grow Your Own’ scheme, which aims to reduce their use of fossil fuels for heating and electricity by 50% across all of their sites by 2020.
After Collette’s talk and Q&A session, it was time for the tour! Collette showed us the biomass boiler and talked us through the process from woodchip to radiator! The biomass boiler has reduced Polesden Lacey’s CO2 emissions significantly, by around 157 tonnes each year. On top of this, the boiler provides an income of just over £30,000 per annum via the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive, demonstrating that saving energy is not only good for the environment but also good for business.
In addition to this, Charlotte Burford – Polesden Lacey’s Senior House Steward – treated us to a behind-the-scenes tour of their stunning mansion which was originally used as a weekend party house by Edwardian socialites! What’s more, Charlotte pointed out the various monitors in each room as part of their Building Management System. These monitors were hidden away to ensure they didn’t clash with the historic setting while they quietly keep track of each room’s temperature to ensure energy is not used unnecessarily.
With the tour finished, delegates networked over light refreshments. The tour appeared to inspire many, with Julia McLoughlin of Ascough Architects calling it “very informative,” while Simon Beeching of Beeching UK noted it was “very educational.” Stuart Murray of Murray Associates appreciated the “simple explanation of the benefits of biomass” and described the event generally as “very well organised.” We hope to see some Utilise Plus grant applications for biomass boilers in the future!
This event was fully-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as part of our Utilise Plus programme. At the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC, we love hearing about exciting venues and passionate speakers. If you’d like to work with us, please get in touch.