A FIRM helping businesses cut energy costs has found a niche market advising some of the country’s leading historic houses on efficiency.
Orchard Energy, which has its UK headquarters in Elland and five further offices across Britain, is working with a number of well-known stately homes and visitor attractions including Chatsworth, Harewood House and Castle Howard.
Managing director Gareth Henderson said managing costs in the face of rising energy prices was a priority in the heritage sector – along with a need to comply with an increasing burden of efficiency regulations.
“Stately homes and country estates are being forced to re-evaluate their energy usage as rising fuel bills and funding cuts continue to put pressure on resources,” said Mr Henderson.
“These historic buildings weren’t built with energy efficiency in mind and the fact that they have a steady stream of visitors and are constantly in the public eye makes it hard for them to just switch off the lights and heating to reduce their bills.”
Mr Henderson said: “Options like forward purchasing and improved administration are cost effective ways to drive down operating costs and careful analysis of consumption data can identify areas where efficiency can be improved.”
Orchard manages energy for Castle Howard in York, Chatsworth in Derbyshire, Bolton Castle in Leyburn, Chipchase Castle in Hexham, Harewood House in Leeds, Ripley Castle near Harrogate and Wynyard Hall in the Tees Valley.
Mr Henderson said government initiatives to drive down carbon emissions were likely to present new challenges for the sector.
He said: “Clearly, it’s more difficult to convert an old property to be energy efficient than it is to introduce eco-friendly construction techniques in a new build but there is still plenty that can be done to help them reach their efficiency targets.
“Converting to green energy contracts or installing renewable energy sources such as wind turbines on site can help as can replacement boilers, metering and other equipment.
“Businesses have been adapting to greener and more efficient energy practises for some time and many of the strategies they have implemented for cost saving and compliance purposes work just as well for stately homes.”
Orchard Energy, which has regional offices in Glasgow, Cardiff, Newcastle and Bristol, was established in 2004 by Mr Henderson and has enjoyed significant growth since then. Other sectors covered by the company include retailing, manufacturing, sport and leisure.