Specialist insurer Ecclesiastical is working with English Heritage to pilot cutting edge technology to monitor and manage building services at 18th century Kenwood House.
In the first scheme of its kind, Ecclesiastical and English Heritage, in partnership with technology firm Shepherd, are piloting sensors to monitor Kenwood, the former home of William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, located on the edge of Hampstead Heath in London. The sensors – which are battery-operated and do not require Wi-Fi – discreetly monitor environmental changes within the building.
The estate team will be alerted to potential breakdowns, electrical fires and water leaks to minimise the loss of critical equipment or damage to the building and its collections.
The pilot is part of Ecclesiastical’s loss prevention innovation programme and will help Kenwood reduce its costs as well as help to safeguard its irreplaceable art collection, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Gainsborough, Reynolds and Turner.
The technology learns what normal looks like for the building over a short period. The sensors deployed in the estate then send live real-time data back to be analysed, co-habiting seamlessly with any existing building management and environmental monitoring systems.
The technology is powerful and the expected benefits are a 25% reduction in operational costs, as well as being able to better prevent losses or interruption and to better understand the building’s assets and performance. This will help drive down the energy and maintenance costs and prevent or minimise any damage.
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 pilot this cutting edge technology. While many modern buildings such as The Shard have sophisticated monitoring services built in by design, this is the first time this technology has been piloted within an 18th century house. We know that rising energy costs and incidents such as escape of water can be distressing for customers, which is why we’re piloting innovative solutions to detect issues as early as possible.”
Nicola Duncan-Finn, Senior Estates Manager at English Heritage, said: “This is an exciting pilot project for English Heritage. The application of live real-time monitoring has huge potential to revolutionise the management of heritage estates in a sustainable way. This partnership with Ecclesiastical will enable us to minimise risks to the building and its irreplaceable collections by cost-effective evidence-based preventive maintenance. We’ll be able to identify issues in real-time and take preventative steps before maintenance issues become too large and costly. The cost savings will also enable the charity to invest a greater percentage of its annual maintenance budgets on the delivery of exemplary conservation work across the estate”.
Stephen Chadwick, CEO at Shepherd, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Ecclesiastical and English Heritage. Shepherd’s real-time, 24/7 monitoring and alerts to pre-empt and prevent damage, breakdowns and emergencies. Our analysis adds a new lens to view the performance of the property and we hope that it helps to keep Kenwood House and its contents, safe for many years to come.”