National Trust invest £30m in sustainable future

The National Trust today (Monday 6 July 2015) announced its biggest ever investment, of £30million, in renewable energy to heat and power more of its historic places. The announcement follows the successful completion of five renewable energy projects at National Trust properties - part of a £3.5million pilot launched with Good Energy in 2013.

The investment, by Europe’s biggest conservation charity, marks a milestone towards reaching its targets to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, cut energy usage by 20% and source 50% from renewable sources on its land by 2020.

The Trust’s renewable energy programme could also help save up to £4m on its energy costs each year. Electricity generated from some of the projects will be sold to the grid providing the charity with a source of income. This income, coupled with the savings made, will allow more money to be spent on vital conservation work.


The National Trust is investing in more than 40 further projects which include:

  • A 200kW lake source heating project at Blickling Estate in Norfolk which will remove two oil tanks and 25,572 litres per annum of oil consumption with an estimated saving of 68 tonnes of CO2 per year
  • Two biomass boilers at Upton House in Warwickshire to heat the mansion and other areas saving an estimated 55 tonnes of CO2 per year
  • A 250kW hydro scheme at Hayeswater in Cumbria where there is a legacy of hydropower. This project will provide an income stream to support conservation work on National Trust land


These new projects follow the completion of the five pilots which include a biomass boiler at Ickworth in Suffolk, which was formally switched on today.

Ickworth’s new boiler has replaced a 5,000 litre oil tank - removing the risk of contamination from oil leaks. Using wood fuel sourced directly from the estate has created an even bigger conservation dividend: as well as the mansion becoming self-sufficient in heat, the new woodland being planted to secure future fuel is also reinstating lost design features from the Grade II listed park and gardens. The more actively managed woodlands will also create better, bigger habitats and markedly improve nature conservation.

Patrick Begg, Rural Enterprises Director at the National Trust said: “In setting out our 10 year plan we recognised we will have to play our part in helping to mitigate climate change. A key part of that is to reduce our reliance on oil and look for greener energy solutions. We have a responsibility to look after the special places in our care, requiring us to make long-term decisions that will protect them for future generations.

 “Many of the properties in our care are energy intensive and in remote areas without access to mains gas. Installing renewable technology in these places is a huge challenge. For instance we found that connecting hydros to the grid is more complicated than we expected. We have learnt a great deal and we will continue to do so.

“The success we have seen in decommissioning oil tanks, lowering our energy costs and reducing carbon emissions has shown us that renewables play a vital part in us reaching our 2020 energy targets and in delivering more for our core conservation mission.”

Collaboration has been a key part of the Trust’s renewable work. The charity is using the lessons learnt through the pilot phase of its renewables programme to inform future projects as well as sharing experience, through its Fit for the Future network, with others who are looking for a greener energy supply.

The Trust’s energy partner, Good Energy, has worked alongside the charity to help develop its renewable strategy and inspire others to think about their energy use.

Juliet Davenport OBE, CEO and founder of Good Energy said: “It’s been fantastic to see how renewable projects like the biomass boiler at Ickworth are transforming the energy use of some our oldest and most special buildings. The National Trust is truly inspirational with this approach.

“Together, we have worked hard to inspire consumers to switch to cleaner, greener forms of electricity and help to build a more sustainable energy future for the UK.”

Energy users can support the National Trust’s renewable energy programme by making the switch and signing up to Good Energy. The company will give the Trust up to £40 per year for each new customer who signs up to its dual fuel tariff and quote the National Trust when switching.

Find out more about the Trust’s energy work and partnership with Good Energy at


For further information and images please contact:

Jenna Hopkinson on 07552 007677 or email


Editor’s notes:

The five pilot projects included: Plas Newydd – 300kW marine source heat pump, providing 100% of property’s heat requirements; Croft Castle – 199kW biomass boiler, supplying 74% of property’s heating needs; Ickworth – 199kW biomass boiler, supplying 100% of estate’s heating needs; Hafod y Porth –100kW hydro-generation, which will be sold back to the grid; Stickle Ghyll – 100kW hydro-electric project providing 30% of property’s energy needs.

Building new revenue streams based on the Trust’s natural resources also offers a “hedge” to its business, which is vulnerable to bad weather. When the sun shines, visitors flock to its properties, but when rain falls and visitor income dips, water turbines spin faster and generate more energy which it can use and sell.

The whole programme will save 2,586 tonnes of CO2 a year, 8 per cent of the Trust’s carbon footprint.

Fit for the Future is a solution-based network for land and property owning organisations that want to reduce energy bills and better manage their environmental impacts. It operates on the belief that a lot can be solved from a simple conversation, and its visions is for all non-commercial organisations to become more sustainable by sharing best practice and collaborating. This is being achieved by linking up practitioners within member organisations to help need meet experience, facilitating site visits to view research projects and technologies, organising meetings for members facing a similar challenge and delivering wider Network events throughout the year. The Network is a partnership between National Trust and Ashden.


About the National Trust                                                           

The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 775 miles of coastline and hundreds of special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information and ideas for great value family days out go to:

The National Trust has committed to reducing its energy use by 20 per cent and generating 50 per cent of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2020. This will enable the charity to reduce its energy costs by up to £4 million per year, releasing more money for conservation work.

Following the success of five renewable energy pilot projects the charity has announced investment of £30m in more than 40 further renewable energy schemes at places in its care.

If people switch to Good Energy quoting National Trust, Good Energy will pay the Trust up to £40 per year for each new customer that signs up. This money will help fund renewable energy projects that create cleaner, greener energy for the charity, ensuring the special places it looks after are protected forever.

Learn more about the National Trust’s energy work at


About Good Energy

Good Energy is a fast-growing green energy company, generating and selling 100% renewable electricity to homes and businesses across the UK, all wrapped up in great customer service.  Our mission is to support change in the energy market, tackle climate change and boost energy security. Good Energy has consistently been ranked top or second in Which? energy company customer satisfaction surveys for the past four years. Good Energy invests in renewable energy including wind, solar, hydro and tidal.



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