We aim to treat energy as a valuable resource and reduce the proportion of energy consumed from fossil fuels by using onsite renewables in appropriate locations. In 2019, across the Devonshire Group, 17% of energy consumed was generated onsite by renewables. This is a long-term challenge that will require continual improvement.

What have we done so far?

In 2019, we installed a 50 kW photovoltaic solar array at our farm shop and a further installation on the Devonshire Arms at Pilsley.

We replaced our hydroelectric turbine during 2017, which provided us with just over 400 MWh of renewable electricity in 2019 and avoided 104 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions. We first used hydroelectricity to help power the house in the 1890s.

We have continued to develop the Renewable Energy Centre with the installation of a natural gas combined heat and power plant. This works alongside two 500kW biomass boilers to produce heat and electricity for the house, stables shops and restaurants, greenhouses and Stickyard outdoor education centre. In 2019, this saved around 97 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions each year – the same emissions produced from heating and powering around 20 average UK homes.

We have installed energy-efficient lighting in our farm shop, stables restaurants and some sections of the house.

We have integrated ground-source heating technology into the design of Russian Cottage, Swiss Cottage and Calton Barns holiday accommodation.

We have developed a biomass woodchip heating system for the estate office, gym, swimming pool, and seven surrounding residential properties. In 2019 this saved over 96 tonnes of CO2e emissions – the same amount of CO2e emitted from heating and powering around 20 average UK homes.

We have helped a number of our tenants get off carbon-intense oil boilers by installing biomass heating systems. So far we have installed 15 of these, saving over 250 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions each year, according to government estimates.

We completed energy efficiency health checks for all our major buildings in 2015 and again in 2019 as part of the Government's Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS).

What's next?

  • Continuing to measure energy consumption and resulting greenhouse gas emissions from all owned and operated property
  • Moving all estate electricity supplies to renewable contracts during 2020
  • Making further investments in energy-saving technology including LED lighting and replacing old equipment with modern energy-efficient alternatives
  • Exploring further renewables projects in appropriate locations including biomass, ground-source heating and solar energy schemes
  • Continuing to encourage all staff and volunteers to identify ways to save energy
  • Carrying out further energy saving assessments for all outstanding major buildings
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