• Low carbon energy at the heart of The Story

    Low carbon energy at the heart of The Story

    Solar panels and ground source heat pumps have been installed at The Story as part of a series of low-carbon measures.

    In 2020, Durham County Council was awarded £1.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to install energy efficiency measures at The Story, which will bring the grade II listed Mount Oswald Manor House in Durham City back to life as a key new cultural venue. 

    Construction of the centre is well underway and, with £1 million match funding from the council, the works include installing 291 solar panels, 60 ground source heat pumps, and a smart boiler system.

    Renewables from these measures will provide almost 90 per cent of The Story’s heating demand and 60 per cent of its cooling demand.

    This will reduce its overall energy consumption by 61 per cent and carbon emissions by 51 per cent, saving more than 100 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year when compared to a standard building of similar size.

    The new archive stores have also been designed and constructed with low-carbon principles in mind to reduce the need to use additional heating or cooling. 

    These measures have been made in line with the council’s commitment to its Climate Emergency Response Plan, in which it has pledged to achieve net zero in its operations by 2030 and make the county carbon neutral by 2045.

    Cllr Mark Wilkes, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: “We are delighted to say that work is going well on the creation of The Story, a new place to uncover the history of County Durham and a key cultural project which supports our position as the culture county.

    “It was important to us to ensure that the new building is as energy efficient as possible, in line with our Climate Emergency Response Plan. We want people to discover the past, celebrate the present and create the future of Durham, which is why we have designed The Story with low carbon measures to protect and conserve its future.”

    The Story will transform the historic Mount Oswald into a site which will provide a secure future for the Durham Light Infantry Collection and almost six miles of archives, charting 900 years of local history, with the addition of an elegant wedding ceremony venue

    Set to open in 2023, the venue will transform the way the county’s history is told and accessed, with free entry to permanent and temporary exhibitions telling the fascinating journey of the county, often through lesser-known narratives of working people and the communities pivotal in shaping the county.

    It is just one of the many cultural projects taking place in the county, cementing Durham’s position as the ‘culture county’ and demonstrating the council’s ongoing commitment to culture-led regeneration. This includes delivering key projects within the county’s shortlisted UK City of Culture bid, progressing major capital projects, and raising the county’s profile as a place to live, work, visit and invest.

    For more information about The Story, follow its Twitter page at @TheStoryDurham or visit www.durham.gov.uk/thestory