Feasibility study bio mass for heating Wimpole Estate


Wimpole Hall is the largest country house in Cambridgeshire. Over the centuries, many notable architects have worked on it. By 1930, with the maintenance of country houses being so prohibitive, Wimpole Hall was let to tenants and in 1936 George and Elsie Bambridge occupied the house. On her father's death, Elsie Bambridge (Rudyard Kipling's daughter) was able to purchase the estate and subsequently restored Wimpole Hall. When she died in 1976, she bequeathed the estate to the National Trust.

Before the present Wimpole Hall was built in around 1640, there was a moated manor house set in a small 81 hectares deer-park. Today’s estate comprises 2500 hectares of parkland, farmland and belted woodland. The buildings on the estate are Wimpole Hall, the former rectory, the Victorian stable block (1851), a home farm (1792), a folly - false Gothic Tower (1768), several tenant farms and a parish church (1749).

Task: Part of Wimpole Estate is covered with forest. Based upon crop rotation wood could be harvested and used for heating the buildings on the estate. Currently heating oil or electricity is being used. Please carry out a feasibility study of using wood fuel biomass.

Approach: Erfgoed Installaties started by investigating the present methods for heating the buildings on the estate and the amount of energy that is used for doing this. Next National Trust properties were selected which were already having first hand experience with solid fuel biomass heating. The experience that was shared was translated by Erfgoed Installaties to the situation on Wimpole estate.

Results: One building is completely heated using oil. Another building is partly heated by means of an oil burner and partly by means of storage heaters. All other buildings use storage heaters. The amount of wood that could be harvested without damaging the forest would suffice just for one building. In order to comply with the National Trust’s carbon foot print initiative other options for renewable energy could be checked. For instance the home farm catering building has a huge roof which might be interesting for installing Photo Voltaic panels. It is also worthwhile to look for alternatives for electric heating for this has a low efficiency rate.

Client: The National Trust for England, Wales & Northern Ireland.

Completion: 2009