Blenheim Palace is winning the race to go green

Posted in: Energy

Posted on: 24.07.2019

It’s hard to miss Blenheim Palace. Nestled in the Oxfordshire countryside, the impressive 300-year-old residence sits within a 12,000-acre estate and contains priceless artworks, sculptures, and cultural artefacts.

The modern estate takes its UNESCO World Heritage status seriously with an equal sense of responsibility to both past and future generations.

The birthplace of Winston Churchill is now visited by almost one million tourists each year and reducing their environmental impact is key.

In recent years, Blenheim has undertaken a huge sustainability programme covering all areas of palace life, including an ambitious target to become a net generator of green energy by 2027. To get them there, it has enlisted the help of Julie’s Bicycle and Good Energy.

Julie’s Bicycle is a charity supporting the creative sector to tackle the climate crisis. Its Creative Green programme is designed to ensure cultural sites, such as Blenheim, can achieve their environmental goals.

Dominic Hare, Blenheim Palace’s chief executive officer, says: “When it comes to drilling down to the nitty gritty of where you are using and losing power, we are very reliant on Julie’s Bicycle to come in with a rich vein of expertise and take us very quickly from frankly old hat to cutting edge”.

The change to Good Energy really helped develop this very partnering approach, a very different approach of learning, sharing and collaborating

And this is where Good Energy fits in. We have carved out a reputation for helping the UK’s leading creative organisations go green. Just see our ongoing partnership with BAFTA. Joe Wadsworth, head of sales and partnerships at Good Energy, explains: “Our relationship with Julie’s Bicycle is based on helping people understand their energy usage and helping them action their own plans”.

Jacqueline Gibson, Blenheim’s environmental adviser, comments: “The change to Good Energy really helped develop this very partnering approach, a very different approach of learning, sharing and collaborating”.

“They are not just our renewable energy supplier, but they have expertise around grid connection, energy storage, demand-side management,” she adds.

Blenheim is already making progress towards its bold and ground-breaking conservation targets. The past few years have seen big changes: 100% renewable power across the entire estate; new electric vehicles; and investments in clean energy assets, such as solar PV, biomass boilers, and hydropower.

Blenheim is also looking at the feasibility of water source heat pumps that would provide a renewable energy heat source for the Palace.  Alongside these plans, the team is considering solar farms and wind turbines to provide renewable energy for local communities, particularly in areas where they are delivering sustainable and affordable homes. 

Other steps Blenheim is taking to reduce its carbon footprint include providing a local community electric car share scheme in Woodstock and segregating all its waste on site and selling to UK businesses as a low cost sustainable raw material. Its sustainable procurement policy also sets out a commitment to support local businesses within 25 miles of the Palace. This will further reduce carbon emissions associated with transport, while sustaining a local economic model.

The actions Blenheim is taking today will protect this historic treasure and its natural resources for the future. “It will fundamentally be in the same shape in 300 years’ time. And when you see yourself in that linear timeline, you really lift your eyes up and think about difference do we want to make.” Strong words from a CEO committed to climate action.

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