Savills Energy shortlisted as finalists for biomass heating system at West Dean College

08 February 2017

Savills Energy has been shortlisted as finalists for developing a biomass heating system which is producing more than 80% of the energy needs of West Dean College and numerous surrounding buildings including student accommodation, a church, visitor centre and tea room, from trees located on the West Dean Estate. This represents a carbon saving of over 16,000 tonnes of CO2.

The awards take place tonight (Wednesday 8 February) at the Telford International Centre, as part of the Energy Now Expo.

Since the scheme was originally commissioned in 1982 it has distributed over 70GWh of heat.  Over the next 20 years it is projected to generate a further 40GWh of heat, with a CO2 saving of 9,000 tonnes.

The biomass scheme is run by the Edward James Foundation, a registered charity comprising West Dean College, which attracts arts and conservation students from across the UK and internationally, along with award-winning West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studios. 

The biomass scheme previously consisted of a 1,200kW Gilles boiler and a 765kW Anga and Varme boiler installed in 1981.  Due to the age of the historic scheme and increasing operational and maintenance issues, the Edward James Foundation committed to upgrading the scheme in 2014. The new 1MW Froling boiler was completed in the summer of 2016, with the new boiler being located in a new energy centre which incorporates a larger chip store that streamlines the production process and provides additional woodchip storage capacity.  The new scheme consists of a 2.7km district heating network, which serves 39 buildings, 22 of which were new connections which were not on the old network and could now be connected due to the significant efficiency improvements that the new scheme provides.

All wood used for the biomass heating system is produced on the Estate and largely consists of softwood thinnings of Douglas Fir, European Larch, Norway Spruce and Corsican Pine, amongst other varieties.

The 39 buildings served heat from the biomass scheme consist of West Dean College, student accommodation at Dower House, glasshouses, visitor centre and tea room, West Dean Parish Church as well as several houses and cottages.

Savills Energy Director, Thomas McMillan comments: “Due to a detailed tendering exercise an experienced contractor was selected to develop the new biomass project.  This, coupled with the Estate’s 35 years of experience in operating an existing scheme, means that the new biomass boiler is meeting the projected efficiency standard of 80%.  The efficiency of the boiler has increased over the last few months as the scheme beds in, although the higher efficiency of 90% over the winter is to be expected when the scheme is operating at full bore, compared to the summer where a 75% efficiency is being achieved.“


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