Froling Wood Pellet Boiler Heats Care Home Albion Lodge

Established in 1985 by Colin and Jean Darwent, Albion Lodge first provided care for the families own parents and ten other residents. This inspired the retirement home’s philosophy of looking after residents as one of their extended family. Now a 50 bed retirement home, this family run business offers individualised care whilst aiming to maintain independence.

The size and rural location of the property, based near the small village of Hanley Swan in the Worcestershire countryside, meant a reliance on two oil and two LPG boilers to supply heating and hot water to the residents. At the property’s peak heat demand the combination of the two fossil fuel systems cost the business over £16,000 per year.

Owner, and Care Manager, Andrew Darwent cites the motivation for making a switch to renewable heating as economical business sense. A planned extension at the property, of 12 assisted living apartments, would add approximately 10% to the previous heat demand. This adjustment provided the perfect opportunity to consider a more cost effective way of heating the retirement home.

A Full Turn-Key Solution

With the proposed extension in mind, Ecovision undertook detailed heat loss calculations and found the property to have a 200kW heat demand. After discussing the needs of the home and business with Mr Darwent, it was agreed that a biomass solution of two 99kW Froling wood pellet boilers would provide the most suitable heating solution. There were several discussions around the best location for the plant room to house the boilers and fuel store.  Initially an external off-the-shelf fuel store seemed to be the best approach but Ecovision’s design engineers were able to instead build a bespoke store in a very confined space within an existing outhouse.

A Froling wood pellet boiler benefits from a 3-pass heat exchanger regulating the system’s combustion levels. This allows for a more economical fuel consumption; providing greater cost savings. The Froling biomass system also includes modern-grate technology, which allows for automatic cleaning and ash removal, ensuring easy maintenance for the retirement home staff, whilst they are also able to simply adjust the settings of the system by using the sophisticated Froling touch screen control unit.

Mr Darwent indicated a confidence in Froling as an established brand and with Ecovision having a history of installing systems of this manufacturer. A market leading 5 year manufacturer’s warranty was included in the package Ecovision provided, as well as a 2 year workmanship warranty. Ecovision’s past experience of installing renewable heating systems within the care home sector ensured the most practical installation process, limiting heating and hot water downtime to a minimum – an important consideration for a care facility.

The Benefits

The cost of the biomass was just under £110K, however with the combination of fuel savings and government payments through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), of more than £15,000 annually, the system payback time for Albion Lodge will be around 7 years. Furthermore, as the RHI is paid out over a 20 year period to non-domestic properties, the remaining 13 years of government payments will be pure return on investment to the business.

The move to renewable heating means the retirement home can also protect themselves against the fluctuating price of oil, which, although cost of oil was at a low at the time of installation, the economics within the oil producing regions of the world means that this cannot be maintained.

After a successful Ecovision installation, and having had time to experience the benefits of the biomass system at the retirement home, Mr Darwent concludes, “I’d recommend biomass to those in a rural location, especially those with large heating demands. I’m very happy with the system and how Ecovision discussed various options with me throughout.  The installation was completed on schedule and Ecovision have been accommodating and helpful at all stages.”

To learn more about Albion Lodge Retirement Home and their care facilities visit their website at http://www.albionlodge.co.uk/

For more info contact: Ecovision Renewables on 01666 501580