In recent years the Estate has embraced a number of alternative sources of energy to meet the modern demands of its thriving rural community. With over 100 different properties on the estate, Hopetoun has a very high energy demand. For a number of years Hopetoun has taken steps to manage its consumption of energy with particular emphasis on decreasing the estate’s carbon footprint. As part of the wider aim of sustainable development, the following sustainable systems been implemented:
Biomass System: Summer 2013 saw the successful launch of Hopetoun’s first Biomass system. Using wood sourced from the Estate, the system provides heating for Hopetoun House, 4 houses on the Estate, tenanted offices, conservation studios and the new Hopetoun Estates Office. Prior to the installation of the 800kW biomass system in March 2013, most of Hopetoun House was heated by a 50 year old oil-fired cast iron boiler with eight other boilers heating the wings of the house and other properties. So far the system has seen a reduction in fuel costs of over 60% and provided fuel security for tenants for the next 20 years. By converting to a non-fossil fuel for heat, Hopetoun House alone has reduced its carbon footprint significantly.
The project has also facilitated the renovation of a building within the curtilage of Grade A-listed Home Farm steading and has been a showcase to others of how to encompass such a system in nationally-important heritage buildings. Further, Hopetoun has developed a woodland management plan for the estate to ensure that the boiler will always have sufficient timber. The system uses chip produced from around 770 tonnes of green timber each year. This not only ensures that there is a locally produced sustainable wood fuel, but also provides a viable end use for low grade thinnings. This provides an income to contribute to the cost of maintenance works to Hopetoun’s historic woodlands, and helps to sustain local employment and local contractors. Ultimately, the ash from the system ends up being used as fertilizer in the Walled Garden at Hopetoun, a truly sustainable system.
Solar Energy: Solar panels have recently been installed on the Estate in two locations; Trinlaymire Farm (March 2013) and more recently at Hopetoun Farm Shop (October 2014) to provide further energy savings for the surrounding estate. The total output is 99 kw producing approximately 82,000 kwh per annum. The farm shop uses all the electricity produced, whilst at Trinlaymire, the farm uses a proportion, whilst some is supplied back to the national grid. The schemes have resulted in reduced energy costs for the businesses, whilst reducing the impact on the environment from using fossil fuels through harnessing natural resources. It is hoped that the panels at the farmshop will provide an additional interest and stimulate others to consider such innovation.
The estate is continually looking for innovative ways of sustainable diversification to enable increased investment in the local environment and help reduce the energy costs of its residents and tenants and provide fuel security for the future.