Hotel comes out on top when the chips are down

Sir Hugh Blackett Owner of Matfen Hall and Jim Birse, Commercial Director of Econergy.
Sir Hugh Blackett Owner of Matfen Hall and Jim Birse, Commercial Director of Econergy.

A LUXURY golfing and spa hotel has chipped in to the green revolution by installing a new carbon neutral boiler.

Matfen Hall has installed one of the largest hotel biomass boilers in the country to serve all of its hot water and heating needs.

And the best aspect of the move is that the hotel can now find its fuel on the doorstep, using wood from the surrounding 500-acre Matfen Estate.

The fuel is taken from thinnings from the sustainable managed woodland, which previously were considered waste.

The timber is dried for at least a year to reduce the water content, before the logs are turned to woodchips ready for use in the boiler.

Because the woodchips release the same amount of carbon dioxide as the tree absorbs during its lifetime, the scheme is carbon neutral, making an estimated CO2 saving of 250 tonnes a year.

And there is even more benefits as the hotel can now offer guests a tour of the new energy centre housing the boiler that has been created in a redundant bungalow on the estate.

The entire project was handled by Econergy, including its design, installation, commissioning of the energy centre, pre-insulated heat mains and local connections.

Matfen Estate owner Sir Hugh Blackett said: “Last year we installed a smaller biomass boiler to fuel the house and two cottages.

“It worked very well and we realised immediately that there were considerable environmental and financial advantages.

“At home we have already saved the cost of over 25,000 litres of oil. As we use such a huge amount of fuel for the hotel and have such a large volume of timber available from the estate, it really is the perfect solution.”

He added: “At Matfen Hall we are totally committed to reducing our carbon footprint and caring for the environment and how better to do this than to supply our own heating and hot water?

“To demonstrate to guests and visitors how the process works we have installed interpretation boards and are more than happy to give guided tours.”