It's tough, heating and lighting the 145 room Castle Howard. Heat pumps and LEDs help.

Castle Howard
CC BY 2.0 Castle Howard/ Wikipedia

Sometimes the rich aren't different from you and me; cutting the heating and electric bill matters.

The House and Home section of the Financial Times is full of tales of woe, the troubles of maintaining six homes, the difficulties of finding good help, and for the Howards, owners of Castle Howard, the cost of energy.

The 145 room pile may be one of the most famous houses in the world (and the backdrop for Brideshead Revisited) but it had an annual heating and lighting bill of £70,000 (US$ 111,897) So the Howards installed water source heat pumps for heating and cooling, added insulation in the attics and changed the lighting to LEDs. They claim that it is better for the painting and the artifacts, reduces the labor costs due to changing bulbs, and has cut the heating and lighting bill by a third.

According to Ecovision, the company that installed the system, they ran piping through the lake, (a much better energy transfer medium than the ground) and then two 110kw heat pumps deliver hot water to the radiators installed along with coal fired furnaces in the late 19th century. Simon Howard traded a £40,000 oil bill for a £14,000 electrical bill. And because it's all in the lake, nobody can even tell. It's sort of inconspicuous unconsumption. Simon says:

Installing this system made absolute sense. We’re not burning any fossil fuel, we’re using a small amount of electricity from a green energy supplier to run the pump, and for every kilowatt the pump uses, four kilowatts of heat is generated. ... We’ve now made a huge reduction in our carbon footprint, and we’re making substantial savings in heating and hot water costs.

More in the Financial Times

Related Content on