Doncaster's Brodsworth House to be put on a technological par with The Shard

Ecclesiastical Insurance and English Heritage, in partnership with technology firm Shepherd, are extending a pilot that puts Brodsworth House on a technological par with The Shard.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 12:05 pm

The first of its kind scheme to pilot sensors to monitor and manage building services at Brodsworth House, the Victorian country estate built in the 1860s, located in Doncaster, will start following a successful trial at Kenwood House.

Dozens of tiny sensors are to be installed inside Brodsworth House to discreetly monitor environmental changes within the building. The technology learns what normal looks like for the building over a short period.

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Brodsworth Hall and Gardens. Picture: Chris Etchells

The pilot is part of Ecclesiastical’s loss prevention innovation programme and is helping English Heritage to reduce costs. English Heritage’s annual budget for maintaining its buildings is around £15 million. The pilot is assisting the charity’s objective to achieve a 25 per cent reduction in operating costs.

The sensors - which are unobtrusive, battery-operated and do not require Wi-Fi – are deployed across the estate and send live real-time data back to be analysed, enabling English Heritage to identify performance issues in its mechanical and electrical plant, or catch minor leaks before they cause major problems.

The technology which was first trialled at Kenwood House throughout the pandemic, identifies key areas where costs savings and efficiencies can be made, as well as how to optimise its building services during the national lockdowns.

Ecclesiastical, English Heritage and Shepherd are collaborating with the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage to give Data Science for Cultural Heritage MSc students access to data and insights from the pilot.

English Heritage is also expanding the pilot to monitor energy consumption and identify efficiencies at eight other energy-intensive historic sites across the country including Dover Castle and Battle Abbey.

Faith Kitchen, Heritage Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “As the UK’s leading insurer of Grade I listed buildings, we’re passionate about protecting Britain’s heritage. As part of our innovation programme we’re delighted to be partnering with English Heritage and Shepherd to expand our cutting edge technology pilot. We know that rising energy costs are a major concern and incidents such as electrical fire or escape of water can be disastrous for customers, which is why we’re piloting innovative solutions to detect issues as early as possible.”

Rob Woodside, Conservation and Estates Director at English Heritage, said: “The application of live real-time monitoring has huge potential to revolutionise the management of heritage estates in a sustainable way. This pilot will enable us to minimise risks to the building and its irreplaceable collections by cost-effective evidence-based preventive maintenance. We are now equipped with real-time insight and a risk score which enables us to make smarter, more informed decisions around how we manage the performance and risk of stately homes and historic buildings, both day-to-day and strategically. This insight is not a nice to have but absolutely essential for us to both better protect the building, its contents and revenue.”

Stephen Chadwick, CEO at Shepherd, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Ecclesiastical and English Heritage as they transform the way they manage risk. Shepherd’s real-time, 24/7 monitoring and alerts, pre-empt and prevent damage, breakdowns and emergencies. Our risk analysis enables a consolidated overview of the performance of the property to support keeping Brodsworth House and its contents, safe for many years to come.”

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