The Challenge of Energy Use in Traditional Industrial Buildings

Retro fitting any building is beset with problems but more so when it is a listed one.

It’s an issue for homeowners, landlords (social and private) and for business.

Highland Park Distillery in Kirkwall is 222 years old and trying to make it a more energy efficient building without compromising the quality of the product is quite a balancing act.

The final online event for the Sustainable Orkney Conference was on the subject of Energy Consumption. The Conference which moved online due to the public health crisis has been discussing Orkney’s present but also future direction in this Cimate Emergency.

Marie Stanton and Colin Baird of Highland Park Distillery provided attendees with an excellent explanation of not only how the whisky is produced but the challenges faced in making changes to the building without affecting the product.

Highland Park have their own peat cuttings up at Hobbister and Marie explained that they have been working with both the RSPB and the OIC on restoration for over 15 years.

Anyone who has tasted Highland Park single malt, will be aware of the distinctive taste which has led to it taking its place as a leading world brand.

credit Bell

The Distillery has applied for the UKs Green Distilling Competition and if successful could look forward to removing coke from the production process.

In the Still House 90% of the energy used is to heat boiling water.

There are 4 main strategies in the long term to improving energy consumption at Highland Park Distillery:

  1. increase energy efficiency – a hot water recovery system
  2. improved controls
  3. pre-heating
  4. move away from kerosene

There is no easy route or short cuts to adapting both the building and the process.

The meeting also heard from Mark Hull who spoke about the many projects already existing in Orkney such as SMILE, Heat Smart Orkney Ltd and ReFLEX.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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