A wood pellet biomass boiler for luxury hotel the Ulbster Arms has made an impact on the bottom line and helped attract new guests.
The hotel is situated in the village of Halkirk, on the banks of the River Thurso in Caithness. Once the Sinclair family home, the building has been a comfortable retreat for shooting, fishing, corporate and holiday guests for over 150 years.
The owners have recently commissioned an extensive refurbishment programme to upgrade the dining room and thirteen bedrooms as well as the lounge and the new library. The result is a contemporary hotel which still retains its unique Highland charm and unashamedly traditional character.
The hotel also has a separate lodge, chalets and commercial flats and plans to build 3 x 2 storey lodges in future. Following a feasibility study by Energy Consultant, Andrew Lyle it was recommended to install a biomass system to heat the main hotel only, with the capacity to link up to the new lodges once built.
Installation of 199kW Eta Hack wood pellet biomass boiler connected to the main hotel with provision for further connections to 3 new lodges in future.
The hotel is built of traditional Caithness stone construction and was formerly heated by two oil boilers with heat distributed to the building via a wet heating system
with radiators. Hot water was provided by two direct oil-fired Andrew’s water heaters.
A survey was carried out by an external consultant to establish the viability of connecting the biomass system to nearby lodge and commercial block but the retrofit costs were deemed too high to make this option viable. However the hotel has plans to build 3 x 2 storey lodges in future and the biomass heating system was therefore designed to be able to link to these if required.
HWEnergy supplied a pre-packaged, (containerised) Biomass Heat Cabin containing a 199kW Eta Hack pellet boiler and 4000 litre buffer tank. Full insulated Rehau pipe was used for underground connections to the hotel. Monitoring by the HWEnergy service team is made possible through an ISTA remote monitoring system. The existing oil boilers have been retained as a back up if needed.
Wood pellets are supplied from nearby Invergordon and delivered by HWEnergy. The choice of pellet means a smaller fuel store is required than would have been the case with wood chip.
The hotel now enjoys heating and hot water all year round at a lower cost than previously without reliance on fluctuation of oil prices.