Transforming Blenheim Palace grounds with sustainable heating solutions

3 November 2023

Oxfordshire-based UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace, installs Alpha heat pumps in its luxury onsite holiday accommodation, Darwin Escapes, as part of wider positive action tackling climate change and protecting future generations.

This initiative forms part of its five-year pledge made in 2017 to become a net generator of green energy and commitment to be carbon neutral on scopes 1-3 across all operations by 2027.

As of August 2023, the world-class visitor attraction which is home to the Dukes of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, is now home to a stunning collection of lodges from Darwin Escapes. The holiday accommodation at Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat offers visitors an indulgent and high-end escape with the lavish lodges set within ancient woodlands, just a short walk from Blenheim Palace.

As part of the Estate’s commitment to sustainable operations, the management decreed for any new development on its grounds to be free from fossil fuels, embracing renewable energy wherever possible. Staffordshire-based Seaton Heating & Engineering Services Ltd. was assigned the task of installing eco-friendly heat pumps which would heat the main reception, shop, laundry and staff areas of the resort.

Given the brief, the team consulted Alpha’s heating experts and worked together to pinpoint the best solution for the building design. They homed in on two commercial heat pumps. While a 6kW Magis M heat pump from Alpha’s parent company, Immergas, was installed for the main reception and shop, a 14kW Magis M heat pump – accompanied by an external 50L volumiser/buffer tank – was the ultimate choice for the laundry and staff area.

These models allowed for simple installation and will offer flexible operation for those running and maintaining the site. Designed for outdoor use, the monobloc heat pumps feature a reversible air-water block with inverter technology to fulfil heating and cooling requirements. They are distinguished by their high energy efficiency values and low sound levels, providing maximum comfort with minimal environmental impact; whilst ensuring that their operation would not disrupt the tranquil surroundings of the lodges.

David Green, Head of Innovation for Blenheim Palace, comments: “Our collaboration with Alpha and the team at Seaton Heating has resulted in an energy solution which aligns perfectly with our commitment to sustainability. The state-of-the-art heat pumps they have installed will not only provide efficient, reliable heating for the Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat but will also significantly reduce our carbon footprint. We’re proud to be pioneering renewable energy in the hospitality sector and are confident that our guests will appreciate their stay being as eco-friendly as it is comfortable and luxurious.”

Andrea Carmeli, Managing Director for Alpha, adds: “It has been a privilege for Alpha to contribute to the sustainability efforts of such a historic and iconic location as Blenheim Palace. We are pleased that our advanced heat pumps have been able to meet their stringent requirements for energy efficiency and minimal environmental impact.”

The successful installation and commissioning of the heat pumps were followed by the supply of a commissioning certificate and a five-year warranty to Darwin Escapes, ensuring peace of mind and long-term sustainability. The project has encapsulated the perfect blend of heritage, luxury and sustainability – with the installation of these heat pumps not only ensuring efficient heating for the Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat, but also marking a significant stride towards their goal of creating eco-friendly holiday experiences.