Europe’s biggest conservation charity, the UK’s National Trust, has revealed plans to invest £30 million ($50 milion) in renewable energy to heat and power its historic properties. The investment is the largest by the charity to date.

It targets reducing energy usage by 20% and sourcing 50% of its demand from renewable sources on its land by 2020. The programme could also help save up to £4 million on its energy costs each year, it says.

Of more than 40 projects to be developed under the investment programme is a 200 kW water source heating project at Blickling Estate in Norfolk (pictured); two biomass boilers at Upton House in Warwickshire; and, 250 kW hydropower scheme at Hayeswater in Cumbria.

Patrick Begg, Rural Enterprises Director at the National Trust said: ‘Many of the properties in our care are energy intensive and in remote areas without access to mains gas. Installing renewable technology in these places is a huge challenge. The success we have seen in decommissioning oil tanks, lowering our energy costs and reducing carbon emissions has shown us that renewables play a vital part in us reaching our 2020 energy targets and in delivering more for our core conservation mission.’