I had an interesting meeting today along with Tim Hulse from EcoVert Solutions at Trafford Mill in Chester. It was used for milling grain until 1952 and the site has been used for this purpose since 1302. It has two water wheels, one a double spoke and the other a single spoke, an there is a significant amount of the workings in a good condition.
The building is now used as a base for TCV Cheshire (the conservation volunteers) who carry out conservation activities such as pollarding and hedgelaying in the area, and have their offices in the mill. The building until recently was heated by expensive electric storage heating and is as leaky as a sieve when it comes to air-tightness, so it is ripe for some energy efficiency measures. Even with the log burner running you still need a coat on indoors, which obviously isn’t ideal.
They have already had a biomass boiler (log burning) installed, which fits well with their ready supply of wood from their conservation work, and this has been the stimulus for the next phase of development – to insulate and draft proof the building (some gaps are so big they are letting pigeons in!) to make the most of the heat that the burner supplies
. This is where Tim and I step in – we will be able to provide guidance and expertise on how to do this without compromising the existing fabric of the building, using natural and sustainable materials. It’s an exciting and interesting project and I will keep the blog updated with progress.