What goes on behind the scenes at Standen House, an Arts & Crafts family home

Leave a comment

Saving Energy

boilers 003This week we thought we’d share some of the measures we’ve introduced in our boiler room to save energy, which is a really important part of the work we do.

The first thing we did was to switch our boiler fuel to kerosene, which is cheaper (saving approx. £2,000 pa) and cleaner, from a maintenance point of view. Ultimately we want to get off oil, but in the mean time to fix a broken burner we replaced the two Avon boilers with cleaner burning units with duel output heads, thus saving money when a low heat is required. A poorly fitting inspection door was also repaired and the boilers re‐lagged with more efficient modern lagging.

Two non‐serviceable heat pumps were replaced and these, together with the four hot‐water pumps, were fitted with sensors and controls to allow adjustment of the running speed (previously they had all run at a constant speed). The 25% reduction in running speed will equate to a significant saving of 48% power.

Redundant piping and unused towel rails were removed from the heating system.

An indirect heat exchanger was installed next to the current hot water cylinder which heats the water much more quickly and efficiently than before.

We’ve seen an impact on our energy use already, and hope that over a full year we will see a real reduction!

Leave a comment

Front of House

photo 1

One of our very welcoming volunteers on duty on the Porch

One of the most important jobs that we do here as staff, is to ensure that our volunteers are happy and enjoying what they do for us. We do this mostly through front of house duties.

Doing front of house basically means ensuring that the house runs smoothly on a daily basis. This is a role that we split between myself, the Assistant House Steward, House Steward and House Manager.

We start off the day with a briefing. This is to update everyone, staff and volunteers, on things that are happening that day, such as if there are any groups coming or if there is a new exhibition starting. It also means that any information from other departments like the garden team, are passed on to keep everyone updated, such as updates on the Garden Revival project. We also let each volunteer know what room they are guiding in for that shift.

Once  we are open, we will go around the house and see how the room guides are doing – It gives me an excuse for a quick catch up as well. We are also on hand to answer any queries or requests that the room guide feels unable to answer fully or generally lend a hand if it is busy.

Larkspur Bedroom

Larkspur Bedroom

Front of house does bring its own challenges especially with us being open 363 days of the year now. Often I find myself going from room to room covering tea breaks or covering the room whilst the guide goes and does an introductory talk – one of my favorite rooms to cover is the Larkspur Bedroom and Dressing Room. However  this does give me the opportunity to connect with our visitors and find out what they like and dislike about the house.

Being front of house is always an interesting way to spend the day. Every day is different, with new questions, challenges and demonstrations. I always find that I learn something new, whether from a visitor, volunteer or member of staff.

Happy New Year