Improving energy efficiency of an important National Trust property
A glorious house nestling on the edge of the Peak District and surrounded by gardens, moorland and a deer park, Lyme Park is one of the National Trust’s key properties in the North West of England.
The National Trust is continually looking for new ways to become more energy efficient and has pledged to produce 50% of its own energy from renewables by 2020. At Lyme Park, for example, the Trust wanted to halve the existing fossil fuel usage and also end the use of fuel oil completely.
Listed buildings always present significant challenges to the design process due to the additional planning regulations involved, and great care is necessary in order to avoid damaging the structure or fabric of the buildings. Most National Trust properties are of architectural importance and Lyme Park is no exception, with both the main hall and stable blocks being listed. The existing heating system had been struggling to regulate the heat and humidity of the house, causing long term problems for the paintings, tapestries and other artefacts. To prevent further damage, it was essential that the design incorporated a system and installation plan which would ensure that the buildings remained heated throughout the duration of the works.
We were appointed to design two new biomass wood-pellet boilers as the primary heat source. Our first task was to conduct a study to determine how much heat the boilers were required to produce across the year. We then designed the boilers to fit unobtrusively into one of the listed stable blocks, including the creation of a new false stone chimney. Due to the boilers’ location, the pipework had to be taken underground from the stable block to the original plant room in the main hall. This entailed routing pipes beneath the courtyard, parkland and trees, as well as the main wall of the house and gardens.
The new boilers interfaced with the original boilers and heating systems, with the original boilers being retained as emergency back-up. The system was installed with accumulator vessels to store the generated heat for use as and when required.
Lyme Park now benefits from a contemporary and efficient biomass heating system which is generating savings for the National Trust and also supports its green energy target.