Woodfuel Heating Appraisal - Whitsundoles Farm
Lockhart Garratt was brought in to provide advice on the restoration of gravel quarries to woodland and to provide advice on the management of existing woodland. Through discussion with the client, a concept emerged to supply renewable heat to the on-site office complex from wood fuel grown on-site and on local farms and estates.
Project outline: 16,000 sq ft of existing office space,
An existing office heated with LPG gas,
Potential development of a further 20,000 sq ft,
4ha of mature woodland with high conservation interest,
6ha of recent planting,
Up to 18ha of further planting planned as part of a restoration plan.
Lockhart Garratt's role was to provide a rapid site survey and appraisal of the feasibility of installing a woodchip fired district heating system to heat the office complex and the client's home.
The demand for heat from each office unit was estimated from dimensions and fuel bills. The potential savings to be made by converting to woodfuel were then calculated and the quantities required were considered against the maximum sustainable yield from the existing and planned woodlands.
Capital costs for the installation of a wood chip boiler and heat distribution system were estimated and opportunities to reduce the CAPEX through grant funding were considered. Pay-back time was then calculated.
The appraisal showed that there was potential to install a woodfuel heating system to heat the office complex and farmhouse which would save in the region of £17,000 per annum, with capital pay-back in eight years. The woodfuel required could not be produced sustainably from the farm woodlands at the present time, but additional fuel could be bought in from nearby growers and processors at a competitive price. In the meantime, thinnings from the mature woodland are being stockpiled, seasoning for conversion to woodchip in due course. As the new woodland matures, self sufficiency in fuel could rise to over 80% of requirements.
The client now has the information required to inform decisions about heating the proposed offices and to assist with negotiations with the planning authority and will be used to support capital grant applications. 7ha of new woodland will be planted during Winter 09/10 and is being designed to maximise future woodfuel production, while not compromising its value for biodiversity or landscape.
"Lockhart Garratt's impartial advice has been invaluable by giving me the whole picture from managing my woodlands to produce woodchip, to the practicalities of a woodfuel heating installation."
Chris Hall of Hall brothers Ltd