Biomass praised for reducing monastery’s heating bills

Biomass praised for reducing monastery’s heating bills

A monastery in West Sussex has increased its green credentials by turning to a Windhager BioWIN Excel wood pellet boiler.

The Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Crawley Down, West Sussex contacted installers at A Greener Alternative to invest in a greener heating system that was both ecologically efficient and manageable.

The 60 kW BioWIN Excel boiler is situated in the plant room of the ‘Community building’ and provides heating and hot water for the various properties in the complex. The system comprises a solar thermal buffer to supplement the thermal store of the main plant room and further increase heating efficiency. In addition, the installation also qualifies for the non-domestic RHI scheme.

A Greener Alternative specialises in low carbon heating solutions and its Project Manager and Technical Heating Expert, Simon Beach, designed and managed the installation at the Crawley Down Monastery. The design of the new heating system was vital in ensuring the clients requirements were met, taking into account their desire to reduce supply and running costs while negotiating the limited space in which to situate the system.

The Windhager BioWIN Excel system that was decided upon is fully automated and requires little maintenance due to its self-cleaning stainless steel burner bowl and integrated ash container. The automatic pellet feed system that directs the biomass fuel from the pellet store into the boiler further lessens the need for manual intervention.

Two separate 8 ton external wood pellet stores were supplied for access reasons and they only need to be refilled once a year. Suction probes at the bottom of the pellet stores ensure a continuous supply of pellets to the boiler via underground pipes, with up to eight suction probes being used dependent on the size of the stores.

The system’s efficiency is further increased with the inclusion of evacuated solar thermal arrays that have been installed on the adjacent Founders Wing roof. The heat energy generated from the solar thermal arrays supplies heating to the 300 litre solar thermal un-vented store that has ancillary heating primaries running to the main plant room. When the hot water demand has been met, the solar thermal store will supplement the thermal store of the main plant room, therefore preventing the unnecessary use of fuel by stopping over production of hot water.

Control of the heating system is managed by Windhager’s Modular Energy System (MES) control solution. The system allows up to 10 separate heating circuits to be operated from a single master control, making it expandable for any possible future heating variations to the system. The MES control solution also handles the heat distribution by matching the optimum option to the clients’ heating requirements.

Further information is available on the company’s website at

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