British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

Castlerigg

Castlerigg

Alternative energy is a current buzz word, however many options are expensive and parks are understandably hesitant to ‘take the plunge’. One park team that has put their money where their mouth is the one at Castlerigg in the Lake District. Here, after rigorously researching the options, the park has invested around £23,000 in a ground-source system to heat its refurbished toilet and shower building.

"We wanted a system that emphasised our commitment to the environment and which would reduce our fuel bills in the long term," says park owner and manager David Jackson, who explains that he got the idea to install a heat pump when he read about systems used in Scandinavia and Canada. "I realised it wasn’t new technology and with such large sums potentially involved I wanted an environmentally sustainable energy source that had been proven to work over a long period of time."

Castlerigg’s system uses a network of pipes buried under part of its tent field. This picks up the warmth from the soil and, using a heat pump, runs an underfloor heating system and heats water for showers and basins. "We have yet to have a full test of the system," says David. "But based on the sections of the building that were open last season it has worked very well so far. The building was always warm and the amount of heating oil that we used fell by approx. 70%."

The system was installed along with a range of energy and water saving devices (these included movement sensor taps, push-button shower controls coupled with low-water-usage shower heads). The installer of all these gizmos suggested an 8-10 year payback period and this looks likely to be an accurate assessment. For the park other benefits include the fact that the system keeps mould at bay, as it is possible to heat the building in the winter with what is basically free energy.

Not surprisingly, the park now intends to let everyone know what it is doing for the environment, by putting up an interpretation panel on the building and also running a feature in its newsletter.