Alnmouth Golf Club: 200kW wood pellet boiler installation

Foxton Hall, home to Alnmouth Golf Club, is not only one of the most exposed club houses in the country, it’s also one of England’s oldest. The
Club was established in 1869, and in 1929 took possession of the Foxton Hall site on a lease from Northumberland Estates which continues to this day. re:heat has been working with the Club since 2011 to help them realise the optimal solution for heating their complex collection of buildings with a cost-effective wood pellet heating system.

The stunning setting for Alnmouth Golf Club, on the coast overlooking the North Sea, means it’s one of the most dramatic courses in the country. This poses particular challenges for heating the complex collection of buildings which are in the control of the Club, as the main clubhouse is in excess of 150 years old and has levels of insulation that you might expect from such a grand old building. Combined heating bills from oil and electricity had been rising for years and topped £20,000 in 2013, with no prospect of meaningful cost reductions from sticking to these or other forms of fossil fuels.

We first began working with the Club in early 2011 and helped the committee understand the technology and financial case for the wood-fired boiler at Foxton Hall. Detailed modelling of the heat load and a careful analysis of the business case for the project enabled the Golf Club to secure funding from the specialist asset finance team at Close Brothers Bank, who funded the installation 199kW ETA HACK wood pellet boiler.

The project involved replacing most of the heat distribution system in the clubhouse, which included the removal of several oil boilers, various electrically-powered hot water cylinders, the installation of a new, high-capacity hot water cylinder for the commercial kitchen, and the installation of new radiator circuits to the Club’s 14 dormy bedrooms. Centralising heat production to the new wood pellet boiler made sense for to the Club for a number of reasons :

  • It maximises the use of the new asset;
  • It displaces the maximum amount of electricity and oil used to generate heat and hot water with lower-cost wood pellets;
  • It removed the need to service multiple heat producers around the clubhouse;
  • Removing old boilers freed up space in various parts of the building, including the visitors’ locker room;
  • It allowed for the 199kW boiler to be almost perfectly matched to the heat load of the clubhouse, thereby optimising RHI income.

The Club’s confidence in the equipment, design and quality of installation is such that one of the three flats at Foxton Hall, which is rented out as a private home, has also been linked to the pellet boiler. Now the Club isn’t just a golf club but a utility provider too, with renewable heat sold to the occupants. The Club is now benefitting from increased RHI payments as a result of heat use by the occupants, who also benefit from lower cost heating. This in turn makes them more likely to remain at Foxton Hall, providing more certainty of the valuable rental income that benefits the Club.

We are all extremely proud of the system at Alnmouth Golf Club and regard it as a great example of how to engage with a client, understand their needs and deliver a system which meets them from the outset.

If you would like to visit the installation, please contact re:heat in the first instance.