Cosying Up The Abbey
Our historic building was founded in the late 13th century and has enjoyed an 800 year history of “mixed fortunes.” Until 1979 when The Abbey Sutton Courtenay Ltd. saved it from dereliction and development into luxury flats. During the last 40 years considerable restoration of the fabric of the building has been undertaken. In the last ten years, a new fire alarm system and hearing loop have modernised the facilities. Despite this investment, our building still underperforms from an energy efficiency point of view.
Not only are steadily rising energy bills eating into our financial margins, we cannot ignore the climate emergency. As fuel bills rise – projected to cost £14,000 this year – and unpredictable weather impacts our building, we’re working hard to conserve energy by replacing outmoded heating systems and improving thermal insulation.
The time has come to reduce the emissions from our hard to treat property by conserving as much heat in the building as possible, improving not only the comfort of guests but also the living conditions of residential staff and long stay volunteers.
In partnership with Oxford’s Low Carbon Hub and grant funding from Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment, we have embarked on an energy efficiency review of our site. With the input of survey work by Oxford University students plus our energy audit report from Oxford Brookes, we have a clear rationale and plan for action and are ready to seize a rare opportunity to future proof our buildings for owners and users in the centuries to come.
In 2018 we installed several energy conservation measures in the guest house, a garage block converted into accommodation in the late 1980’s, adding a new heating system and improved insulation along with thermal blinds, plus LED lighting throughout the estate.
In 2019 we won further support to introduce more energy conservation measures on the site, this time in the hard-to-treat medieval house. This support comes from Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE) with funding from Grundon Waste Management Ltd from their own funds and through the Landfill Communities Fund.
In 2020 we will be installing framed secondary glazing in well-used rooms, masses more insulation in the loft spaces above bedrooms, thermal blinds in our public meeting rooms, guest bedrooms and in our residential staff quarters plus chimney sheep in various fireplaces. Low Carbon Hub are investigating the potential for on site solar PV generation.
These interventions not only demonstrate to other historic homeowners what’s possible, they also make it possible for us to keep offering our guests and residents the opportunity to experience living in a building of this age, character and heritage.