Biomass Heating System
Beechwood Lodge Holiday Homes.
When we purchased our home at Readstown, Trim Co. Meath in 1997, we saw the potential for self catering accommodation in the area. So we converted our out-building into three self contained holiday homes. Since then we have added three morelarger three bedroom homes.
We also decided to plant trees on our 13 hectares of land and develop a forest.
Initially, we planted about 32,000 trees, about half Sycamore and half Ash. Over the following years we replaced some of the trees that died with other species, such as Oak, Beech, Spanish Chestnut and Larch.
We also cut ‘ Racks’, which are tracks through the forest to provide access to work on the trees and for our guests to enjoy forest walks.
The cycle of growing the trees takes about forty years. Part of the process of developing the forest is to thin the trees. It became clear to us that we were going to have a lot of timber from the thinnings, especially as the trees got bigger.
At the same time energy prices were rising rapidly so we decided to install a ‘district biomass heating system’ and use the thinnings as fuel.
Every year we cut about 1500 trees and leave them to dry for about a year. The trees are extracted with a very small tractor and purpose built trailer and brought to wood shed. When there is a sufficient amount of timber, we process the logs through a large wood chipper and convert them into woodchips. The chip is then stored in a shed and fed by an automated system to our burner.
The burner is a Frohling 110 kw system, it is fully automatic and provides heat to all the houses. It heats water which is pumped to all the houses by a 300 meter underground network of heavily insulted pipes. The system uses about 35 tonnes of chip to produce 200,000 kw/ hrs of energy a year.
As the trees get taller,they also get too big for our chipper. So now we use those logs for firewood which we cut on a special saw operated by a tractor. The firewood is used by our guests in the wood fires that are in most of our homes. We continue to plant a few hundred trees each year for the long term future of the forest, now we plant Beech and Hornbeam as they are ‘ shade tolerant’ and will grow under the larger trees.
The forest started as a long term investment project, but has now found a secondary use as source of biomass fuel which would originally discarded as waste. We believe that we were the first business in the country to grow, make and use our own fuel.
Eco Friendly, Carbon Neutral, Biomass Heating System—- Woodchip.