Business Conference 2023

Securing an evergreen future for historic houses: Sustainable practices & strategies

Groombridge Place

Thank you to everyone who attended the Historic Houses Business Conference

The Business Conference was generously supported by Saffery Champness and Savills. We explored the issues faced when improving the energy efficiency of historic buildings and looked at the ways Historic Houses members are adapting buildings and their businesses to become more sustainable and energy efficient. Our aim was to share new ideas about what works, so that all those attending the event would be inspired to embrace a strategy to reduce their carbon footprint.

Download the slides from the Business Conference below


Setting the Scene

Low carbon historic houses - Setting the scene

Andrew Lawrence is an Arup Fellow and conservation accredited engineer with significant expertise in the assessment of existing and historic timber, concrete, iron and masonry structures. Andrew lectures worldwide on the structural use of timber and works with timber industry bodies to help make timber a safe durable mainstream construction material. His projects include the highly acclaimed Metz Pompidou, Canary Wharf Crossrail Station roof and The Smile.

Improving energy efficiency
of historic buildings

Measures recommended for historic buildings

Morwenna Slade is Head of Historic Building Climate Change Adaptation at Historic England. She is a Conservation Accredited Chartered Building Surveyor. She is based in the technical conservation team and leads a multidisciplinary team focused on the maintenance, repair and adaptation of historic buildings. She has gained extensive experience through working as an independent consultant, as well as for The Churches Conservation Trust and National Trust.

Implementing Energy Efficient Measures: Perspectives and Problems

Francis Maude MA(Cantab) DipArch RIBA AABC IHBC is a conservation architect and director at Donald Insall Associates, Architects and Historic Building Consultants. He works across many building types, both in the UK and overseas. Key projects include the post-fire restoration of Windsor Castle and the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago. His key concern is to ensure the continued relevance of historic buildings as a resource, as they demonstrate ways of living before fossil fuels.


A professionals’ view

Energy Performance for Listed Buildings & Estates

Andrew McRoyall is a RIBA accredited conservation architect, based in the York office of Savills. He has progressively specialised in heritage, rural and vernacular buildings and has built up a sound knowledge of renewable technologies and sustainable practices. Emily Hartnell is a director with Savills and leads on Rural Residential Property within the Rural Division. Emily is a chartered surveyor and acts as managing agent to clients across the UK, providing strategic advice to both institutional and private landowners.


Heating an historic house with
renewable energy

Biomass Heating

Robert Parker inherited Browsholme Hall in 1975, which was then in a neglected condition. The Hall has been open to visitors since 1958 and is the oldest surviving family home in Lancashire, extending across 620 acres of grassland, woodland and includes a portfolio of listed residential and commercial buildings. In 2010, a Grade-II-listed barn was restored a as a venue for tourism, private functions and community events. Robert has been Technical Adviser to Historic Houses since 2005.

Muncaster Ground Source Heat Pump

Ewan Frost-Pennington is a seasoned energy consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. For the last 7 years, he worked for the global engineering firm Arup, serving as a technical energy lead for several high-profile clients including projects at Google, Microsoft and YouTube. Ewan is a specialist in developing and modelling sustainable solutions for heating, cooling and electrical systems, helping clients to decarbonize their facilities and operations.

Anaerobic digestion

Simon Cunliffe-Lister grew up in Masham, North Yorkshire and he inherited the Burton Agnes estate when he was twelve. Burton Agnes Hall is an Elizabethan stately home in East Yorkshire. The Hall, its gardens, courtyard shops and café attracts 55,000 visits annually. A quarter of these visits take place at weekend events, such as an Easter egg hunt, a gardeners’ fair, a jazz and blues festival and a Michaelmas food and craft fair.


Generating power from
renewable sources

Muncaster Solar

Along his work as an energy consultant, Ewan Frost-Pennington also applied his knowledge and skills to his family’s business, Muncaster Castle. He developed and implemented the installation of an 85 kWp solar array, EV charging infrastructure and a 65 kWth Ground Source Heat Pump, as well as managing energy rates and data analysis for the tourist attraction and hotel business.

Hydropower Opportunities

Dave Mann is a Chartered Electrical Engineer with thirty years’ experience in project managing complex field operations worldwide. In 2003, Dave set up Mann Power Hydro Ltd in the UK, which is now part of the TLS Energy group. He is now Hydropower Director at TLS Energy, leading a team of seven experienced engineers. TLS Energy owns and operates nine hydropower schemes, two wind turbines and maintains over thirty projects for other clients across the country.


A professionals’ view

Tax considerations and opportunities: Renewable energy projects and sustainable enterprises

Peter Harker specialises in Landed Estates and also manages a mixed portfolio of clients, providing a bespoke service by helping with audit and accounting needs, tax compliance requirements and tax planning. Peter is a member of Saffery Champness’s Landed Estates Practice Group, Renewable Energy Team, Estates Discussion Group and heads up the Natural Capital group. He is also a committee member of the ICAEW’s Farming and Rural community.


Strategies for
sustainable enterprise

Whole estate strategy — buildings, woodland, and parkland

Hugh Somerleyton has run the Somerleyton Estate since 2005. Somerleyton is a 5,000-acre estate on the Norfolk-Suffolk border. The estate is farmed in-hand with three tenants and is a traditional mixed farm. Somerleyton Hall & Gardens has been a visitor attraction since the late 1950s. North of the estate lies Fritton Lake, a tenanted farm until 1969, and has since been evolving as a tourism business and it is now a private holiday and members club.

Sustainable visitor attraction — food, transport, and education

Dominic Hare qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and spent ten years in corporate finance and investment banking with Paribas and Barclays Capital. He served as Finance Director at Blenheim for thirteen years and is now their Chief Executive Officer. Dominic and the Blenheim team are delivering an evolved role of a landed estate today, as the powerhouse of the local economy; the custodians and innovators in carbon management; and the social and cultural heartbeat of local life.


Closing remarks

Closing remarks from Historic Houses Director General

Ben is the Director General of Historic Houses, which represents 1,500 of the UK’s finest and most significant historic houses, castles and gardens, all independently owned. Ben has worked previously for the National Trust, English Heritage, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. He sits on the Government’s Heritage Council as representative for the interests of private owners of heritage.

The Historic Houses Business Conference was supported by:

Saffery Champness_featureSavills supplier card


Download the Business Conference Events Programme