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Bring on the Biomass!

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For the past two months there has been a great upheaval at Hilfield Friary. Roads and paths have been fenced off, trenches, a metre and a half deep, have been dug between all the houses, and earth and stones have been piled up across the grass. When the rain began around St Francis Day in early October after a wonderfully dry September, the place began to look like a re-creation of the Western Front! All this has been undertaken in order to install a biomass heating and hot-water system for the Friary that is carbon neutral, burning wood-chips sourced from local woodlands.

It has been a huge communal effort. The trenches, in which are laid the large insulated pipes for supplying water from the boiler to the houses, have been dug by members of the Hilfield Community, together with local friends and visitors, under the direction of Jonathan Herbert; and everyone has played some part in the work. John Griffin, a local farmer, has generously lent the Friary his mechanical digger. There have been unexpected problems, and snags and crises such as when water and sewage lines have been broken – at times it has felt that the task would never be completed – but the end is in sight! Bob Roddy and his team from Amber Heating, who have been installing the boiler, tanks, plumbing and electrics, have been tremendously supportive and encouraging, and Bioheat, the firm which has designed and supplied the system, has been very helpful. Good friendships have been made through this work.

 

When the system is commissioned sometime around the end of October it will mean not just a saving on fuel costs, but, more importantly, a re-connection with the creation in which we live and of which we are a part, a further step towards sustainable living, and a deeper sense of gratitude for heat and hot water!

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