National Trust: Former home of Shell Oil chairman goes green

By National Trust | February 26, 2016

U.K.-based National Trust has announced its first completed Renewable Energy Investment Programme project, Upton House, Warwickshire has made the switch from oil to a renewable energy heating system.

Former Shell chairman, Lord Bearsted, generously gifted the estate and its extensive art and porcelain collections to National Trust in 1948.

The Upton House estate was using 25,000 liters of oil each year to heat its buildings (which equate to around 11 average houses). Today, heating is powered by two new wood pellet boilers, saving £6,000 ($8,385) a year on energy bills and 55 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

We removed four oil boilers and the associated risks of oil leaks. The new biomass boilers are heating the house, site offices, squash court gallery, restaurant and a cottage.

This is the first completed project in our £30 million Renewable Energy Investment Programme which aims to reduce our energy use by 20 percent, halve fossil fuel consumption and generate 50 per cent of our energy from renewable energy sources by 2020. This will enable us to reduce energy costs by more than £4 million per annum, releasing more money for conservation work.

Renewables project manager at Upton House, Ed Wood, said. “The irony that the estate was owned by a family whose fortune was built on oil was not lost on us when we started our project to take Upton off this fossil fuel”

“In the past, oil was the most effective way to heat the estate. Times have changed and to lower our carbon emissions and meet our target, to generate 50 percent of all energy we use from renewable sources by 2020, we felt it important to change our energy source here.”

Upton House general manager Julie Smith said, “Installing the new heating system has met the energy needs of this wonderful country house.”

“It took just eight weeks to install and clearly shows how we are committed to safeguarding our heritage and helping to protect the natural environment.”

Mike Hudson, renewable energy director at National Trust, said, 'This is a great example of what support from the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme is enabling the Trust to do.”

“Schemes like these cut carbon, promote local sustainable wood management and work in harmony with the natural and built environment. They work for the local environment and economy and support national energy and climate change ambitions.”