The biomass district heating system provides heat and hot water to the whole estate throughout the year, predictable fuel bills, income from the renewable heat incentive (RHI), and a 43,000kg reduction in CO2 emissions per year.

How Merthen Manor Heats Family Home And Six Cottages And Saves £20,000 Per Year In Fuel Bills

Contributed by | Forest Fuels


The owners of a 16th century estate in Cornwall have found a novel way of heating their manor house and six cottages, while saving £20,000 per year in fuel bills.

After months of planning, the Vyvyan family, who own Merthen Manor on the eastern side of the Lizard in Cornwall, have had a biomass district heating system installed. It provides heat and hot water to the whole estate throughout the year, predictable fuel bills, income from the renewable heat incentive (RHI), and a 43,000kg reduction in CO2 emissions per year.

Sam Whatmore (left) of Forest Fuels with Merthen Manor owner Tony Vyvyan outside the estate's woodchip store

“Our oil and LPG boilers were becoming increasingly expensive, prices had been going up uncontrollably, and we wanted a system to serve both the manor house and the six residential units in our developed barns,” said owner Tony Vyvyan.  “My son Charles is a chartered surveyor and was convinced that we could get a modern, reliable system that would not only help dry out our damp properties but also help us control our fuel and servicing costs.”

After attending a biomass seminar, Tony’s son Charles realised that there were several issues crucial to the implementation of a satisfactory system, so he called in Okehampton-based biomass specialists Forest Fuels to help get the right solution. Initially Forest Fuels looked at the heat requirements across the site, then proposed a 180kW woodchip boiler and district heating system to supply heat and hot water to the manor house, barn and other houses.

“It may be simple to get quotes from different biomass installers, but with each one giving different advice it’s not so easy to know the right questions to ask or even what your exact requirements are,” added Tony.  “That’s where Forest Fuels’ advisers have been invaluable to us.  They handled the specification and tender parts of the process and advised us at every stage, so we’re sure that we have the very best solution.  Getting them onboard at the start has answered our questions, given us peace of mind, saved us time, and will also save us thousands of pounds in the long run.”

Sam Whatmore (left) of Forest Fuels running through the finer details of the biomass boiler at Merthen Manor with Tony Vyvyan

Forest Fuels’ Director Sam Whatmore said: “Biomass is ideal for an estate like Merthen Manor. Our job was to ensure that the end solution would not only meet the Vyvyan’s exact requirements, but also guarantee that it would provide more than enough heat, be as simple to maintain as possible, and save them money.”

Merthen Manor’s solution ensures that the whole biomass system suits the estate’s requirements.  To achieve this, Sam visited Tony and Mary to find out exactly what they required, before taking them step-by-step through the simple-but-comprehensive process. Forest Fuels carried out a detailed survey of the country estate’s space heating and hot water requirements and then:

  • Produced an outline design of the required system
  • Undertook a full economic analysis
  • Specified the size of boiler required
  • Suggested the most appropriate fuel type
  • Produced a comprehensive tender document


Forest Fuels took care of the full tendering process for Merthen Manor, sending it out to proven installers and helping the Vyvyans choose the most appropriate solution.

“It’s essential to have an independent expert who knows the business, can look at the detail in a proposal and help you choose a solution that really does meet your needs,” added Sam.  “A woodchip boiler was ideal for this site because the estate has the potential to supply its own fuel from its woodland. We were able to help identify the best long-term boiler solution for the estate”

“Our biomass system has made a huge difference to us here at Merthen Manor,” added Tony, “and we couldn’t have realised such a marvellous solution without the help of Forest Fuels.  They’ve made the whole process seamless from start to finish.  By planning correctly in the first place we’ve avoided potential problems in the future.”




About Forest Fuels
Forest Fuels is a wood fuel specialist that supplies households, businesses and other organisations with:

  • Premium grade wood chip & wood pellet from its national network of 17 local depots
  • Advice and consultancy
  • Biomass ESCOs

The  company,  which  has  been  operating  since  2004,  has  more  than  1,000 customers  and  operates  from  four  offices  throughout  the  UK.    In  addition, Forest  Fuels  has  a  range  of  funding  options  that  enable  its  customers  to benefit from renewable wood fuel heating without any upfront capital costs or ongoing maintenance. 


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