A Sustainable Building.
All buildings require maintenance. In Ireland all require heating during at least six months of the year. They must to meet the needs of their owners and occupiers. These needs change as people change and as expectations of acceptable comfort change. Yet the character of a building such as St Clerans must be preserved.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the only heating at St Clerans was by open fires burning peat or wood. There are 27 chimneys. In practice houses such as this were cold and drafty to a degree that would not be acceptable today.
If those chimneys are open a flow of warm air goes up through them drawing cold moist air into the house. Some argue that this is necessary to avoid damp but a quick calculation shows that about 800 lites (210 US gallons) of rain falls down those open chimenys each year, most if it during winter. Instead we have capped each chimney that is not in use with a slate. We keep a low level background heat in the whole house. The result is a damp free house.
In 1958 Ricki Huston wrote to the architect Michael Scott complaining about the oil consumption. 9,000 litres in two weeks. She said " . . even Mr H. can't afford that!" Read the letter.
Today, only four of those chimneys are ever used. Two are open fires but dampers shut off the chimneys when not in use. Two are stoves, one gas burinng and one wood burning.
There are two main sources of heat: Geothermal heat pumps and a wood burining boiler.
5 geothermal units pump heat from the river and the outside air into the central heating system. They have a total ouput capacity of 55Kw.
The heat pump system was designed and installed by Eurotech. The pumps were manufactured by Ochsner.
Their total power consumption on full load is 14kW. The full load output is 57kW.
Log Wood Boiler
A log boiler with an output of 80kW is used as a supplemental source of heat during the winter. Only wood harvested from the St Clerans farm and forest is used. No tree has been cut for firewood. Windfall trees, thinnings and trees that were removed for saferty are the source of firewood.