Ickworth House – serious about getting off oil

RotundaTime for another guest blog – this time from project manager and general all round good egg Stephanie Hall. Over to you Steph!

Last week work started on site for the final REI Programme Pilot project at Ickworth House.  We’re installing a 199kW wood chip biomass boiler which will be serving the conservation heated Rotunda and the West Wing which is used as commercial space using wood fuel harvested from the Estate.

The existing boiler room isn’t suitable for biomass plant so we’re converting a range of 1960s garages which are right next to the Grade I Listed West Wing into the new plant room for the boiler.   Whilst the building isn’t listed it does fall within the curtilage of the listed structure and is also within the registered park and gardens.  We’ve therefore had to spend a lot of time in the feasibility and design process  making sure that we got things right, this meant making some compromises on fuel storage capacity and flue height in addition to developing proposals to improve the aesthetics of the garages.  I think you’ll agree it’s a pretty ugly building at the moment…photo 1

So what’s the plan of action? Well firstly we need to make alterations to the building so that it can accommodate the new plant.  For the first couple of weeks we’re concentrating on removing the roof deck and dismantling the front elevation and internal dividing walls.


  Yesterday they were making good progress with the roof…Roof 3

But in two weeks’ time the exciting stuff begins as new steelwork will be going in and the new and improved front elevation (designed to resemble a gardener’s bothy) will begin to be constructed so that by early May we’ll end up with a rather beautiful building ready to receive the biomass plant…



306_11 3D Visualisation 3D visualisation. Credit: Robert Turner Associates

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2 Responses to Ickworth House – serious about getting off oil

  1. mrpeteraustin says:

    My brother runs a smallholding and he tells me that he can barely give away wood that’s in the form of native trees. The problem is that harvesting and transporting it is very expensive, once you factor everything in, so what seems like a great fuel source really isn’t.

    This is presumably why organizations that burn a lot of wood end up buying in pelleted wood from overseas, where it’s harvested at great environmental cost. And I assume you’ll do the same.

    Why does the NT think it’s a good idea to spend its money like this, instead of protecting our old buildings? I’m a lifetime NT member of course.

    • Keith Jones says:

      thanks for the email. juts to clarify

      most of the wood for biomass systems such as chip come from our own estates. it roughly costs 50 to 70 a tonne to cut, move, dry and chip. this works out roughly 2/3 cheaper than the current heating fuel (more money for conservation)
      If we use pellet this is UKAS pellet from sustainable UK woodlands. overall this work is lowering our operating costs… significantly, getting us off oil, lowering our carbon emissions and getting our own woodlands into long term sustainable production cycles (high biodiversity gain) and so on. I hope you agree with us that this is a charity using is resources fugally to conserve its treasures for the nation?

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