If your name was on the utility bills of an estate like Buckingham Palace, you’d probably dread the monthly energy bill even more than you currently do… but the savings to be made from comparing the energy market could be huge.
In the last The Sovereign Grant and Sovereign Grant Reserves Accounts Annual Report and Accounts publication (2013-2014), it was reported that the annual spend on gas and electricity hit £2million across all occupied royal palaces.
The latest report for the last financial year is fast approaching, so what is the current known situation with the Royal Estate’s energy issues?
Buckingham Palace and energy efficiency
The iconic home of Queen Elizabeth II has come under scrutiny throughout recent years for how the palace is heated and powered; it turns out that the energy issues ordinary folk face don’t escape the Queen either. If you’re worried about a draft or how insulated your home is, just be thankful you don’t have over 1,000 doors and more than 700 single glazed windows to deal with.
Making modifications to the palace for energy efficiency will always be a struggle; as a grade I listed building, the introduction of double-glazing for instance is not an option for the majority of the ground’s windows.
The palace has to work alongside English Heritage to discuss any amendments that would be made with the goal of improving its energy efficiency — something to seriously consider if you’re thinking of purchasing your own listed property.
With initiatives including barely heating some of the palace’s rooms, to installing combined heat and power units, Buckingham Palace holds a C grade Energy Performance Certificate for energy efficiency on an A — G scale (A being the most energy efficient).
Although this may appear a respectable grade for a building of such age and limited alterations, in 2009 it was named as the worst energy polluter of iconic London buildings. Energy experts with a thermal imaging camera uncovered the excessive amount of heat loss from windows, putting Buckingham Palace at the top of the list for wasting energy, above the likes of The Houses of Parliament, and the MI6 building.
The Queen’s soaring energy bill
If over the past year or so you’ve felt the price increase of the cold winters then The Queen should be able to empathise. With an uncomfortable 6% of the annual sovereign grant spent on gas and electricity alone, this places The Queen on the brink of fuel poverty with the 4.8 million UK households paying over 10% on bills.
Energy bills have continued to rise despite industry prices falling over 20%, and Buckingham Palace has also clearly suffered. In 2013/2014 the harsh winter led to a £300,000 pound energy bill rise, adding to the financial woes of the £50million repairs reportedly needed to the Royal Estate in 2013: this includes new boilers which would aid energy efficiency.
In June of this year the report for 2014/2015 will be released, indicating if the Queen’s energy bills have been reigned in, or continue to eat into the sovereign grant and hinder the repairs the estate greatly needs.