THE installation of a biomass boiler to create heating from linseed bales at a Gloucestershire farm is proving much cheaper to run than the farm’s previous oil-fired system. Geoff Ashcroft reports.
When it comes to retaining heat, most traditional farmhouses are about as effective as holding warmth as a colander is at holding water.
For Gloucestershire farmer Simon Righton of Old Farm, Dorn, the sevenbedroom, single-glazed farmhouse which forms part of the farm tenancy, is one that, until 12 months ago, has proved costly to heat.
“Parts of the property date back to the 15th century, though most of it is 17th century,” he says. “And building methods and materials from that period weren’t quite as energy efficient as they are today.
“We would typically spend about £6,000/year on heating oil,” he says. “And even then, the house wouldn’t be generously heated. And with the price of heating oil increasing in the long-term, our farmhouse running costs were set to spiral out of control. If the place cools down, it takes weeks to warm up properly,” he says.
In addition to family requirements, Old Farm operates a farm shop, and provides a farmhouse B and B enterprise too.
“We looked at several renewable energy systems, including wood chip, logs and other resources,” he says. “Woodchip looked good value but I would have to give up a large barn to keep the fuel dry. “What I really wanted was to use a fuel-source that we could produce ourselves, and straw was ...