We are pleased to have been awarded a government grant for £1.24M through Salix, for a specific project to decarbonise the Eleanor Lodge building.
The design principles are to insulate the fabric of the building and then, make use of the lower heat demand to switch the old gas boilers for new air source heat pumps. We had looked into insulating the external walls (on the inside of the building) but the grant was not large enough to cover this.
Instead, every sash window is being refurbished, its old single glazing panels replaced with modern ultra-vacuum filled double glazed units. There are just over 70 windows in the building and more than half have been replaced since the project began in December; the rest will be replaced by the end of February. A local window specialist is installing the glass off-site at their workshop in Henley.
Work has started on modifying the pipework and plant associated with the heating and hot water supply in the building. Some of the heat pump components will be located on the roof, set between the ridges and invisible from the ground. Although we are waiting for the steel work to mount them on, the supports and the pumps themselves should be in place by the end of Hilary term. Following some final modifications, we will then be in a position to switch over to use of the heat pumps, adjust radiators and valves, and complete commissioning during the Easter vacation.
The project will result in a lower energy demand from the building. Heat pumps are much more efficient, meaning that we will only use a third of the energy that we used to. And, as electricity in the UK gets ‘greener’, our carbon footprint will shrink.
Finally, a project such as this provides significant experience to those working on it – we have now built a team who know how to do it which will be incredibly valuable for the hundreds of other 20th century rooms we have on site that may be upgraded over time.
We will share more photos of works as they are available.
Completion date: March 2023.