Athelhampton is one of England's finest Tudor Manor Houses, the Grade 1 listed house is surrounded by Grade 1 listed gardens, with upkeep, maintenance, and improvements funded by the commercial activities of the Estate.
Athelhampton is one of Dorset's favourite heritage attractions. We work hard to showcase the history, the fabulous rooms and the beautiful gardens make Athelhampton a great family day out in Dorset or a fabulous destination for an event or exquisite wedding.
Maintaining the historic buildings, creating a warm, safe environment for our staff and visitors come at an environmental cost.
In 2019 we started to study our environmental impact, we found distinct areas where we could reduce Athelhampton's impact. We immediately started work on small but important changes to the way we work.
A new way forward
However, the primary focus was energy usage. Athelhampton is in a rural location, with only a limited electrical supply, and therefore reliant on fuel sources that could be stored onsite.
LPG & Oil heating systems, LPG Water Heating, LPG commercial kitchen range, and a Diesel backup electric generator.
A Year in Energy
over 100 tonnes of carbon each year.
It is a staggering amount, and it does not include the travel for many of tanker deliveries.
Many Historic properties have carried out studies on how to become carbon-neutral, but often the massive upgrade to infrastructure required stops the project from proceeding. With Athelhampton's particular set of challenges and requirements, we started our own study, working closely with some superb partners to achieve our goal of a carbon-neutral future.
At Athelhampton, we needed to stop burning fossil fuels. To achieve this we would have to remove all the LPG and Oil boilers, commercial & domestic cooking equipment and rely on electricity alone. We would need to replace Boilers with Heat Pumps, Gas Ovens with Electric Ovens, Gas Cooking Ranges with Induction Hobs.
With our partners, the modelling showed that a 130kW Solar PV array would provide Athelhampton with sufficient power, though only during the day. We would harness the innovative work of TESLA with cutting edge battery technology to store power and run Athelhampton overnight.
This would provide a bonus, the removal of the diesel generator, which with a 7.6litre V8 diesel engine would provide backup in case of a power cut.
In place of boilers, Ground and Air Source Heatpumps would be installed, powered by electricity, this innovative technology that absorbs heat from the ground or air, only uses 1kW of electricity to produce 3.5kW of heat.
Our plans could not proceed until we had carefully considered the impact on the Grade 1 listed Historic House and its Grade 1 listed Gardens.
Working through the winter of 2020, using innovative underground drilling to provide a new network of pipe and cable infrastructure, we were able to leave the gardens with little sign of our works.
We added ground-mounted Solar PV arrays to our Paddock and the Kitchen Garden yard, where they benefit from direct sunlight, but can't be seen from any part of the house or gardens.
Impact on a heritage estate