Wherwell priory

A rural estate covering 100 acres and includes a large main residence, indoor swimming pool, tenanted annexes and an office building supporting a business

Business Time Project Coordinator
Energy Start Date: 2017 Wherwell Priory



Heat is provided to the Priory by oil-fired boilers, most of which are over 20 years old and will soon require replacement. The cost of heating oil to the estate was around £30,000 per year and the owner was keen to reduce this. An initial reduction in heating oil usage was achieved through the installation of a number of log stoves however, in order to further reduce heating costs significantly, the owner decided to investigate the options available for the installation of a centralised biomass boiler, connected via a heat network, to supply heat to all of the properties.


In the current climate, renewable energy generation and supply can represent a very attractive investment opportunity with bankable long-term revenues.
Buildings not connected to mains gas and which rely on heating oil, LPG, or electricity for heating and hot water, present some of the best opportunities for owners to reduce direct heating costs through the use of cheaper fuels, as well as generating long-term revenues from the UK Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

The RHI provides project owners with guaranteed index-linked payments over 20 years. Heat generated by biomass boilers, heat pumps and solar hot water systems can provide attractive returns for the right project, with financial support available through the RHI.
Furthermore, the RHI presents opportunities for sites with multiple buildings to be connected together via district heating networks, enabling an economical suppy of heat from centralised renewable heat generators with backup, in place of many individual, local systems.


The owner commissioned a feasibility study to independently assess the project. This looked at existing fuel consumption and costs, an analysis of heat loads, fuel options, boiler location, sizing and space requirements, planning and environmental issues, capital costs, operating costs, savings and revenues, The results of the study demonstrated that a biomass boiler fuelled by wood pellets was technically feasible and would provide a good return on investment.

RINA developed the technical specification defining the project, to enable specialist contractors to provide detailed proposals comparable on a like-for-like basis. Due diligence was carried out on the selected bidders to assess their experience, technical understanding of the project, performance and quality of similar works carried out, and ability to provide post-installation support. We then managed the tender process including a review of equipment delivery and pricing to ensure a fully informed selection was made.

RINA will provide ongoing support to deliver the project, including contractor design approval, installation monitoring, commissioning and handover, performance test witnessing, managing the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) application and enabling the project to gain accreditation.