Electric vehicles research getting everywhere. Bodnant Garden

looks cool... and the truck is not bad either! works  well so far for the team at the property

looks cool… and the truck is not bad either! works
well so far for the team at the property

We are really building the interest across National Trust Wales with vehicles of all shapes and sizes being trialled and evaluated. The latest offering is a Toro at Bodnant. The previous one which the team at the property had sorted a trail on (which we shall not embarrass the company) could not actually make it up the hill from Dell at the lower end of the garden. The Toro looks like it can climb mountains and its only two-wheel drive.

It feels like the dawn of a new travel revolution but i may be biased. Wonder what it was like when everyone with a garage and some spanners was developing vehicles when that new fuel ‘petrol’ was developed at the turn of the last century?

Bodnant also has an EV charge point in a prominent position in the car park

Bodnant also has an EV charge point in a prominent position in the car park

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Scortchio…hot hot hot. Perfect for building our hydro

the prefab weir is in place. went up on Wednesday with Owen, Richard and Samanta (what is the collective known for Interns?)

The prefab weir is in place. We went up on Wednesday with Owen, Richard and Samanta (what is the collective noun for Interns?)

Its been 4 weeks of dry and warm / hot!. Afon y Cwm at Hafod y Porth farm is running low and the main weir work has been completed on our 100kw hydro. Pipe butt welding is complete, turbine building is being clad and the final roof covering going on this week. Turbine arriving in 4 week and the substation building is in place… looking good for an end of September switch on. Slight fly in the ointment. Few weeks delay on gaining our G59 or gird witnessing and connection. If this is the worst then i think we have had another good hydro project

the 3/4 of a Kilometer of 350mm pipe is on place and ready to be burried. It is very very dusty up there

The 3/4 of a Kilometer of 350mm pipe is in place and ready to be buried. It is very very dusty up there. (yes this is Snowdonia but it is exactly the same as last July!)

the small power house is taking shape. the european larch cladding from our estate is covering the building nicely

The small power house is taking shape. with ist european larch cladding from our estate. The whole lot will turn grey over the next 18 months

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What do you do on your holidays? – Plas Newydd Heat Pump – How’s it looking?

IMG_1543

Okay so when you are on your holidays do you “just pop in” to your place of work to take a look at how your heat pump is performing? No I didn’t think so! Then again you would if you worked at Plas Newydd – the picture above is the view from the historic viewpoint we opened up once more as part of the heat pump project – Stunning.IMG_1544

Yet as always my eye had to take in a wider perspective of the pump-house building complete with its snorkel. I am indeed quite sad, and yet to me it also looks quite good.

The reinstatement works are starting to soften at the edges with new pathway and seating so you can stop and take in the view across the Menai Strait.reinstatement

 

 

The heat pump system itself is performing superbly, with monitoring taking place throughout the next 6 months in conjunction with the main contractors and designers Kimpton Building Services and Stiebel-Eltron.source flow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have generated 64 MWH of heat and hot water to date, and based on the last calculations made last week we are currently achieving a CoP of 4.65 from the “magic white boxes”.

Keith and I will keep you posted as we progress into the winter months. Now back to my holidays.

 

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What does good sustianable development look like?

Do you see cockerels or is it just me?

Do you see cockerels or is it just me?

Earlier this week I arranged for some colleagues and I to visit BedZED, BioRegional’s iconic offices in Hackbridge. The reason for the visit was cooked up when Matt Wood (their Energy Innovation Manager) and I met at an Ashden Alumni workshop a couple of months ago. There seemed to be a number of ways the National Trust and BioRegional could learn from each other or work together, such as how we can better manage our woodlands and improve the supply chain of timber. Mostly though, we were there to get a better understanding of what ‘good’ sustainable development looks like, and more importantly, how to do it.

Although BedZED is now about 10 years old, the buildings still seem futuristic. As well as their offices, the 1.8 hectare site (built on an old sewage works) has 100 apartments and boasts cutting-edge (well, it was at the time!) sustainability features like SUDs, rain-water harvesting, 777 m2 of solar PV and the UK’s second car club. All materials were sourced within 35 miles from the site and each apartment has their own roof-top allotment. The most striking features are their colourful wind cowls (I thought they looked a bit like cockerel heads), which help to ventilate the buildings without having to use electricity. Sue Riddlestone, CEO, highlighted the importance of having these quirky features if you want your development to be memorable.

NIcole Lazarus shows us round, with colleagues Rick, Adam and Karin

Nicole Lazarus shows us round, with NT colleagues Rick, Adam and Karin

It was good to see how BioRegional are also working beyond their boundaries, engaging with the council and local communities to improve other areas of Hackbridge and the wider Borough of Sutton. Their good development practice has also helped inform policy, with their recent development OneBrighton resulting in the council recommending that all new developments across the city include roof-top allotments.

OneBrighton: proving that sustainable developments can look 'normal' - and was built within normal build costs

OneBrighton: proving that sustainable developments can look ‘normal’ – and can be done within normal build costs

Undoubtedly there are a few things they probably wouldn’t repeat if they were to build BedZED again – such as large south-facing windows (the flats were very hot on the day we visited) – and it’s these lessons which are probably more valuable to pass on than the things that have worked. Thanks to BioRegional for an informative and inspiring day out.

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Views from Brazil. Interns perspective of her first 4 weeks with National Trust Wales

Samanta with the Chirk Castle Biomass system

Samanta with the Chirk Castle Biomass system

Hi! My name is Samanta, I am an Environmental Engineering student from Brazil, taking part in a project called ‘Science without Borders’, a programme created by the Brazilian Government to support university students to study and work abroad for one year. I have been studying Environmental Science in Bangor University since last September, and now I am working with Keith and Paul for my last months in Wales.

My first few weeks have been great. I have been visiting different places and seeing a lot. I was really impressed to see how the National Trust works, and its commitment to making its properties more environmentally friendly by replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy. The places I have been to include the Hafod y Llan farm on Snowdon, where I was shown a biomass boilers and two hydros, and Plas Newydd, with its solar PV array and a marine source heat pump. It is such a great opportunity to be able to see projects such as these, and understand how they work.

I also found it interesting to see how the National Trust is installing electrical vehicles charging points in their properties, free to use. It not only encourages people to use electrical vehicles, but also brings visitors to the properties.

I am currently involved in reviewing and writing case studies for the marine source heat pump at Plas Newydd and the hydro at Hafod y Llan on Snowdon. Researching hydro companies and equipment and I am also helping on the process of replacing the oil boilers at Bodnant Garden with a biomass boiler, and the installation of a solar PV.

I am honestly impressed with what the National Trust has been doing in relation to the environment, and also Keith and Paul’s involvement and commitment to it. It has been a great opportunity to work with them, and see how it is possible to generate energy from so many different sources, and how it can be done in small scale as well. This experience is certainly giving me a whole new vision on renewable energy.

This was her 'office' last week!

Part of a working day for Samanta. Last week it was Chirk Castle

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Electric Vehicle charging points. National Trust Wales… only one mansion to go and we have a full house?

The electric vehicle charger in front of the visitor centre at Dyffryn Gardens near Cardiff

The electric vehicle charger in front of the visitor centre at Dyffryn Gardens near Cardiff

Its been 18 months in the doing but we are down to our last mansion to receive an Electric Vehicle charging point. All of the mansions / castle sites in Wales are now proud owners of electric vehicle charging points. All of which are free to use. This has been an interesting if challenging project. No two sites have the same wiring, car-park point, accessibility, security and so on. 26 of the systems have been kindly donated by zero carbon world which is a charity dedicated to extending the availability of electric vehicle chargers. In quite a few of the rural locations around Wales The National Trust Wales points are the only ones to be had but I hope it’s the start of something exciting as we try to decarbonise travel. We have also been the recipients of a second charger for Chirk castle from those kid people at Pod chargers. Only one mansion to go at Tredegar House!

but we have plans for many more… watch this space!

One of two EV charger systems at Chirk castle

One of two EV charger systems at Chirk castle

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World Tour of the Lake District pt2. Does your biomass have a climbing wall?

Cool or what. Biomass building with its own climbing wall!

Cool or what. Biomass building with its own climbing wall!

Follow on from yesterday’s blog. This was a look at the NT Great Langdale camp site next to the Stickle Gill hydro. Proper Green camping! It amazed me the vast amount of hot water a camp site goes through for showers. So much so Great Langdale has a new 150kw Herz wood chip biomass system charging a huge 10,000 litre buffer tank. Most of this water is for showers for the happy campers. Garry and I did have a chat about harvesting this heat from the waste water. Plenty of thinking required on this. The campsite also has a 4kw PV system on the reception block. It does work quite well but being in a valley bottom does limit the overall yield. But what it does generate it does use on site. No visit to an NT site would be complete without someone pointing out a possible hydro and true to form the camp site might have one to supply its electricity…but thats another story. Overall stunning site, energy efficiency push and ‘nice’ and simple district heating wood chip system….with a climbing wall bolted on the outside. This must be a first!

Lots of biomass. including a store  for the campsite charcoal. 150kw wood chip system with a mother of a buffer tank

Lots of biomass. including a store for the campsite charcoal. 150kw wood chip system with a mother of a buffer tank

Nice and discreet PV in the campsite

Nice and discreet PV in the campsite

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