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Dunster Castle goes solar

One of the oldest working castles in England has signalled that it is ready to fuse its medieval heritage with some of the trappings of the 21st century.


Dunster Castle in Somerset, has decided to start generating its own green energy as part of an ongoing drive to reduce its carbon footprint.


With the aid of the National Trust (NT), the 1000-year-old Grade 1 listed building - situated in the village of the same name – has installed 24 photo-voltaic panels on its south-facing roof.


It’s estimated that on a sunny day the solar panels will produce enough carbon zero electricity to power two ordinary family homes for a year. There are also plans to generate green power from the watermill in the village.


The NT is to also install a biomass boiler in the Castle’s stables, start harvesting rainwater to use in the greenhouses, and reduce the amount of water used in the toilets.


William Wake, Dunster Castle property manager, said: “The PV cells themselves will generate 5,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year of electricity, so that we don’t have to import that electricity from the fossil-fuelled National Grid and thereby save almost 3000 kg of CO2 a year – that’s the equivalent of travelling almost 14,000 miles in the average car.


He added: “We have set ourselves a three year goal of reducing our carbon footprint at the castle. Saving energy, along with reducing water consumption, increasing recycling, promoting green transport and many other initiatives, will play a crucial part in this.