Kathryn and Rankin Bell own and operate the Kingswood Hotel based on the outskirts of Burntisland, four miles west of Kirkcaldy, in the Kingdom of Fife. Nestled in over two acres of gardens and woodland, it is uniquely situated to allow panoramic views of the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh. Built circa 1850 by the Johnstone family, sugar planters from Jamaica, the Kingswood Hotel remained a private residence until around 1930. In 1986 the now 13 room hotel was purchased by the Bell family, who extended it in 1990 and again in 2004. In 2013 the hotel was awarded a Certificate in Excellence by TripAdvisor and continues to receive high ratings from its guests.
A hotel must have a consistent good supply of heat and hot water for its guests. As the hotel trade tends to be seasonal, finding ways to generate income all year round is also key. Equally important is the hotel’s ability to attract new guests and ensure those that have stayed before come back. Business KPIs are Average Room Rates and Occupancy Rates – to help realise these goals, continued investment in the business is required Having limited knowledge of heat from biomass made the investment decision process difficult, along with limited reference in the form of seeing a working boiler system in action.
With Close Brothers Asset Finance and a local trusted installer of biomass systems, Kilmac Renewables, the Kingswood Hotel embarked on a process of design and build of a new biomass heating system. A tier 1 boiler was identified as suitable and mindful of the hotel’s busy period at Christmas and New Year, a purpose built boiler house and wood-pellet fuel store was built by Kilmac. James Waterson from Close Brothers attended the site at design stage and again upon installation and commissioning. James said: “It was obvious that Rankin and Kathryn’s well thought out and considered approach had paid dividends. The quality of the installation and forethought around the design gave comfort to all parties that the investment was viable and most importantly, functional.”
The hotel now has a modern, carbon friendly heating and hot water system that has replaced the former costly oil burning boiler system, whilst also having secured the index-linked 20 year income stream from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The Bells are keen to use their latest investment to promote the benefit of renewable energy to the wider community and also offer it up as a ‘working example’ for others to reference when making these investment decisions – something that was not readily available to them at the time.