Small steps …
Step One – Masses of insulation, low energy light bulbs, wood burners, more energy efficient alliances.
Step Two – Micro Hydro Scheme
No we are not mad, there are some advantages to living in Wales, and I’m not talking about all that lovely lamb and lush green hillsides. I talking about the reason for them; soft rain forming mountain streams. Water running consistanly down a hillside is ideal for a micro-hydro project.
This was a project Paul had been looking at for years and finally started in 2009 the system was completed and commissioned in February 2010 and since then we have been producing electricity for both cottages and our own house and selling back to the grid. Of course sometimes there is insufficient water but our bills are minimal and we get paid for producing all the electricity whether we use it or not!
Now we can have cars running on Welsh rain! Following the installation of the micro-hydro we installed two elcetric vehicle charging points for the use of our guests. With many thanks to Zero Carbon World
Step Three – Batch Wood Boiler – Bye bye oil!
Finally installed into both cottages and our house. The heating, from the users point of view is unchanged, still works on a timer and heats radiators throughout the cottages. However, instead of their being two oil boilers we now have a nice warm shed containing a massive wood boiler and an even bigger water storage tank, it’s BRILLIANT!
The boiler can take up-to one metre lengths of timber and only needs to be lit when the water temperature in the accumulator tank goes down. The water from this tank is pumped through the pipes and uses heat exchange to heat water for showers and baths.
So, you may ask, where does the fuel come from? In short we had a small plantation (3 acres) of Sitka Spruce that was due to be felled which was obscuring the view from Blaenrhyddnant. Problem solved, trees felled and gave a great view of the Beacons, sufficient timber for the boiler for many years and a surplus we can sell to help towards the cost of the new system. Talk about win:win!
But do not fear the plantaion will be replanted with native willows, birch etc which will be ready to harvest in another 20 years.
Step Four – Solar Thermal
Obviously the draw back to a wood boiler is having to light it during the summer months. We hope we have solved this problem by installing Solar Thermal panels to produce hot water when the sunshines as it does even in winter sometimes!
If you would like more in-depth information about any of our projects please feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org