With the build up to Christmas and the Downton Abbey festival special already setting tongues wagging with the confirmed appearance of a certain Mr Clooney…Aviva Insurance have written an article looking at the costs of running a stately home similar to that of Highclere Castle where Downton is filmed.
Running costs of stately home
Based on 300 rooms, of which 60 are bedrooms, 70 staff and 37 members of ‘the family’, the highest bill is itemised as staffing at £383,400, but the second highest, and £20,000 more than maintenance is energy (oil, gas, electric) at a huge £85,000.
- Size: 300 rooms
- Staff: 70
- Family/resident: 37
- Staff cost: £383,400
- Maintenance cost: £65,000
- Energy cost: £85,000
The article quotes Laura Shack from the National Trust who “estimates that the cost of the energy consumption of a stately home, similar in size to Highclere Castle, is £50,000 in oil and £35,000 in electricity. ”
We have to agree..
That kind of annual expenditure on heating and hot water is borne out in HWEnergy’s own experience and is the reason why we have worked with so many rural estates, and owners and managers of country houses, castles and country house hotels and helped them make the switch to biomass or wood-fuel heating.
From Kincardine Castle, Meiklour Estate, Barochan Estate and Schivas Estates – all still run as rural estates, to Boath House Hotel, Coul House Hotel and Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle – we have completed a substantial number of biomass heat projects across the length and breadth of the UK. For these types of building, which are generally off grid and therefore reliant on oil or gas, the returns on making the switch to wood fuel heating are immense. Buildings can be linked in district heating schemes allowing the landowner to provide heating to tenants and where the estate provides its own wood fuel, it can effectively become the utility provider for its tenants.
Savings of up to 50% on energy costs + RHI
As a general rule of thumb the heating and hot water costs for large historic buildings can be reduced by around 50% against oil. Where the estate provides its own wood fuel there can be further savings and on top of that the energy consumed will attract payments from the non-domestic renewable heat incentive.
For some of our clients there are other less obvious but equally vital benefits.
Additional benefits of biomass heating for country estates and rural properties
- No more winter closures – More heat at a lower cost allows buildings to be heated more often and at a comfortable temperature; that in turn means rooms can be occupied year round and winter shut downs can be avoided meaning the owners no longer need to decamp to an estate house to survive the winter months.
- Better for the building – Maintaining a constant temperature in a building year round instead of coping with big fluctuations helps protect the fabric and structure.
- Guaranteed fuel costs for tenants – For estate owners who produce their own wood fuel they reduce reliance on fossil fuel price fluctuations and can provide fuel to their tenants on a guaranteed price basis.
- New business stream and job creation – Developing their own wood fuel business can create a new income stream with local sales and can support employment.
If you are the owner or manager of a rural estate or historic building and would like to find out more about the benefits of switching to biomass heating then please get in touch.
To read the full Aviva article on running costs of historic country houses click here