UK’s first installation provides a local heating networkfor 16th century site

Project overview

When the owners of a 16th century Elizabethan property wanted to create economical heating for the building and a refurbished courthouse, new biomass technology led to the first installation of its kind in the UK.

Built in 1584 and a Grade II listed property, Lea Hall is a popular wedding venue in Shropshire and home to Ginny Mayall and her husband Ian Anderson. The hall was previously heated by an oil fired boiler running at 60% efficiency, resulting in energy bills of over £8,000 per year. With this in mind, Mr Anderson looked at renewable technologies to lower heating costs and contacted Viessmann trained installer Intelligent Energy Systems Ltd to provide a solution.

Due to the rural setting, easy access and delivery, not to mention the possibility of providing their own fuel, the Anderson’s favoured a woodchip biomass heating system. As Intelligent Energy were consulted as project engineers for the site, they recommended the newly available 80 kW Vitoligno 300-H biomass boiler to manage all heating and hot water demands.

Available from 80 to 150 kW, the Vitoligno 300-H biomass boiler for woodchips or pellets, provides low power consumption with fully automatic ignition and ash removal. The flexible boiler allows the fuel feed to be connected from the left or right, while the fully modulating boiler can operate down to 30% output.

Shropshire local heating network

Installed and housed in a plant room previously used as a milking parlour, the Vitoligno 300-H is fed woodchips via a horizontal out feed auger, from a hopper with a raised floor and filleted corners. This unique design aides chip storage and minimizes ‘dead zones’ within the hopper.

The Vitoligno 300-H provides heating for Lea Hall and the previously unheated Courthouse, via 5 heating zones and 2 hot water circuits. From the plant room through the pre insulated heat main, the energy is sent into the basement of the main house, where it is teed off into the courthouse. A Vitocell 300-B DHW cylinder takes care of the hot water storage at 500 litres, while a 3,000 litre buffer tank completes the system. The main house contains 3 heating circuits and one hot water circuit, while the courthouse has two heating circuits and one hot water circuit. A heating circuit in each building is used for underfloor heating, as the others are used for radiators. The system in controlled by a Vitotrol 350 wireless unit, which is also new to the UK.

Project engineering and results

Intelligent Energy Systems Ltd commented, "as the total lifetime cost of the system was a key consideration for our customer, we were able to maximise energy savings and system efficiency by using a Viessmann system. We believe Viessmann provide excellent integrated systems and deliver affordable heating comfort for home owners like Mr Anderson."

The Vitoligno 300-H local heating network is predicted to deliver 170,000 kWh per year, saving over £5,000 per year on fuel bills alone. As the boiler is eligible for government funding, the site will receive £10,000 per year from the RHI scheme, which results in a payback period of 4.5 years for the entire project.

The site is estimated to require 52 tonnes of woodchip per year, which will eventually be taken from within the estate as part of a sustainable future for Lea Hall.

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