We’ll drink to that! Five Horseshoes is the first rural pub to go carbon neutral

In the Autumn 2021 issue of Oil Installer, we reported on the Five Horseshoes, a South Lincolnshire pub that had been converted to HVO as part of the current OFTEC and UKIFDA field trial.

Now we can raise a glass again after it has become the first rural pub in the country to achieve net zero for its heating.

Having already reduced its carbon emissions by nearly 90% by adopting Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel for its heating, the Five Horseshoes has off-set the remaining carbon and achieved net zero status by planting trees, which puts the 300-year-old pub at the forefront of greener, rural heating.

Like many other older, rural properties it has very low energy efficiency. The building has uninsulated solid walls, solid and suspended timber floors and single glazing in most doors and windows. This would make the transition to alternative heating systems such as heat pumps very costly and would require extensive renovation and disruption – not an attractive option for a small, rural business. It would also fundamentally change the special character and atmosphere of the pub – not something that would be popular with the regulars.

L to R: Malcolm Farrow, Paul Rose (OFTEC), Martin Cooke (EOGB Energy Products), Matt and Emma Freeman and son, Simon Ellis (the Oil Tank Company), Martin Trollope Bellew (Barholm Estate), Alan Black (project consultant).

At a recent event the landlord and landlady, Emma and Matt Freeman, were presented with a framed tree planting certificate by Martin Cooke, managing director of EOGB Energy Products. To further improve the energy efficiency of the pub, EOGB Energy Products replaced the old 1970s oil fired boiler with a fully modulating OpenTherm Sapphire boiler and installed smarter controls, greatly reducing fuel use. Crown Oil Limited also provided a new bunded steel oil storage tank to replace the life-expired old one.

Fifteen trees will be planted at local primary schools as part of the Carbon Footprint emission offsetting scheme, more than enough to offset the remaining carbon generated by the HVO-heated system. By contrast, it was calculated that to offset the old kerosene heating system, over 200 trees would need to be planted – that’s quite a forest!

Emma Freeman, who is delighted to be part of the pioneering demonstration project, said: “For us, the conversion ticks two boxes. From an energy point of view the place will be much warmer thanks to a better heating system and improved controls, and environmentally, we know we are doing our bit to make a difference.”

Martin Cooke, EOGB, added: “The Five Horseshoes is a perfect example of how we can create a green, cleaner future for rural communities. As well as replacing the fuel, by installing smarter controls to monitor our energy usage and replacing older, less efficient boilers we can reduce not just harmful carbon emissions, but also the money we spend on keeping warm.”

Malcolm Farrow from OFTEC, which is funding the cost of the HVO used in the pub as part of the demonstration project, summed up the benefits: “We’ve been delighted to work with the Five Horseshoes pub. It’s a great example of why low carbon liquid fuels are needed and shows how easy it is to make the switch to low or even zero carbon if you pick the right solution.”