Future of historic Cornwall hotel safe thanks to biomass boiler
One of Cornwall’s best-loved hotels has secured its future by moving to a more sustainable heating system.
By swapping oil for biomass, The Rose in Vale Country House Hotel, near St Agnes, has said goodbye to its £15,000 annual heating bills and is instead making a profit from warming its 18th century building.
The AA four-star, 22-room hotel chose local firm Wendron Biomass to provide and install two pellet boilers. The firm has increased its turnover from £150,000 to £1.2 million and trebled its staff numbers in the last 12 months.
Over 10 weeks in early 2014, the Wendron Biomass team installed the boilers in a bespoke wooden building in the hotel grounds and integrated them into the existing plumbing.
The Rose in Vale’s remote location in a wooded valley and the age of the building and its plumbing brought a number of challenges, including the need to dig a 47-metre trench to accommodate a heat main linking the new boilers to the hotel’s system.
James Evans, the managing director of the Rose in Vale Hotel, said: “The 10-week installation was like performing open heart surgery on the hotel, but we didn’t have to shut at all.
“From the beginning, Wendron Biomass’ professionalism and genuineness shone through. They were true to their word and found a solution to every problem we encountered.”
As well as being cheaper to run, the biomass boilers also mean the hotel is eligible for Government payments under the RHI.
Through the scheme, the hotel receives a fixed amount per kilo watt hour of energy produced over the next 20 years.
Prior to the installation, the rising cost of oil meant monthly bills of up to £2,000.
Hotel managers, James and Sara Evans had been considering closing down during the winter when heating costs were at their highest and occupancy at its lowest.
Determined not to jeopardise the hotel’s future and the jobs of its 20-strong workforce, the couple invested alternative sources of heating and were attracted by the cost savings and and opportunities through the RHI.
The move also fitted well with the hotel’s ongoing commitment to being ‘green’.
To fuel the boilers, the hotel receives wood pellets in a 19 quarter-tonne lorryload, which it can accommodate alongside the boilers in the new ‘shed’.
Wendron Biomass sales director Gary Hawkins who managed the installation, said: “Our priority was to help the Rose in Vale Hotel achieve its vision with no disruption to its guests.
“The hotel is in quite a difficult site for access and, being a historic building, there were challenges along the way.
“We’re delighted to have helped this historic hotel find a modern solution to its heating problems.”