Stronger together… we really are!

Prince Charles took a keen interest in the Marine Source Heat pump. Our stand was snawiched between a one tonne energy producing under water kite and a multi billion pound tidal lagoon. Image thanks to @BangorUniversity

Prince Charles took a keen interest in the Marine Source Heat pump and spent a good amount of time with us. Our stand was sandwiched between a one tonne energy producing under-water kite and a multi billion pound tidal lagoon.Not boring!  Image thanks to @BangorUniversity

It’s been one of those weeks. Here is a quick summary. On Monday we found out that the National Trust in Wales community energy initiative had been put forward for a big award (community energy England partnership award. We have been short-listed for Cyd Ynni approach (Energy together)) This was thanks to one of the groups we work with. Tuesday we were at the launch of the brand new Multi million pound EU funded Bangor University SEACAMS centre on Anglesey. Tuesday evening I was off with my father in law by train and car to a certain football match in France. Wednesday the chat over a coffee network Paul, Simon and I devised won one of the biggest environmental awards in the UK. (see previous blog) Oh i forgot on Monday i was also counting bulbs for LED replacement (real life is good to ground you)… its been a good week

The bit I would like to focus on is partnership working which most of the above is. We have worked with Bangor University for coming on a couple of decades now. We felt honoured to be invited and have a stand and also meet the VIP who was opening the new marine centre (it was all very hush hush and we were not told until the day who it was) Paul and i duly turned up with the obligatory banners and film. Our stand was surrounded by multi billion pound projects that Bangor University support with their what was quoted by said VIP ‘world renowned’ expertise in oceanography. But the bit that got me was what Bangor University excel at the application of research or driving research based on need. Not sure where the marine source heat pump would be without the reassurance we gave to the statutory bodies and I suppose our own senior management that we had such a prestigious partner on board. From detailed seabed surveys, inter tidal laser surveys, micro flora and fauna surveys, before, during and after surveys but also introducing us to a network of others who made our life easier Bangor provided a critical component to the development. We really are ‘stronger together’ and we should be fostering such partnerships for the long-term and not just ‘because I have a project’

Celebrate success even if you don't reach the goal. we  too easily focus on weakness rather than strength.

My Wednesday. Celebrate success even if you don’t reach the goal. We too easily focus on weakness rather than strength. If you work on risk management all of the time you play a certain way… but if you play to your strengths and have commitment… good things happen!

PS the next Bangor University / National Trust Wales project is also on the cusp of being launched. Here is a teaser. It involves heat harvesting from some sort of waste. It will be one of the first of its type (again!)

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What a chat over a cup of coffee can lead to

The Fit for the Future Network received the huge accolade of winning a  Business Green Leaders Award in the Employee Engagement Campaign of the Year 2016 category.

Our Project Officer Sophie accepting the award from comedian Hal Cruttenden, who was compere for the evening

Our Project Officer Sophie accepting the award from comedian Hal Cruttenden, who was compere for the evening

The Fit for the Future Network set up in 2013 following myself and Keith chatting over a cup of coffee with Simon at Ashden on how we should set up an Environmental solutions network which Dispels myths and demonstrates that the charity sector can play its part in meeting the challenges posed by climate change and finite resource use.

The Network was recognised for its achievements in engaging almost 1,000 environmental practitioners from 106 different organisations in 2015 in order to foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing to drive energy efficiency and sustainability projects.

Judges said of the Network:

“In this highly competitive category, the judges were won over by the reach and ambition of the Fit for the Future Network as it sought to encourage clean tech initiatives amongst both National Trust staff and wider stakeholders. The judges were particular impressed by the ‘environmental dating agency’s’ expansion to take in 80 members and almost 1,000 practitioners.”

Fantastic recognition of the hard work carried out by Chloe Hampson and Sophie McGovern who manage the network, and we are especially proud and honoured  when you look at the  fantastic works undertaken by the other shortlistlisted  campaigns which include the Bank of America, Royal Bank of Scotland, JLL and Aldi.BG awards room

We’d like to thank all those involved for engaging in the spirit of openness, honesty and sharing to make headway in tackling climate change and increasing resilience over the past three years.

Now time for another coffee!

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Local cheaper energy from local sources. The Bethesda trial is starting this week. National Trust playing its part in a stunning partnership!

As has been highlighted quite a few times we are all looking for the perfect mix to derive more income and deliver cheaper local energy to local communities but more importantly to tackle fuel poverty and enable the energy user to make informed decisions about their energy. The first end to end UK Energy Local trial is starting now! We have also been helping Smart Energy GB the Government appointed body to highlight the opportunities which are coming from smart metering. We are all  at the tip of something huge in terms of the ‘internet of things’ This video was launched in a large event in Cardiff on Monday to much acclaim about being at the cutting edge of data management. All this from the National Trust Wales highlighting opportunities and networking / supporting a partnership approach.

 

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National Trust Bodnant Garden and its electric robot. Natural next step? Ask Ernie!

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One man went to mow, went to mow a meadow. Having a go with the tethered controller. Ernie the iMow won’t work without the perimeter wire in place around the boundary unless you override it.

Its been a busy few weeks hence the lack of blogs. On Monday I was over in Bodnant Garden with Adam Salvin the assistant Head Gardner meeting Ernie. Ernie is the electric robot mower (iMow) being trailed at the world-famous garden. An electric mower which will be left to its own devices for weeks on end. We set the parameters and bury a perimeter cable and off he goes. If it rains its stays in, if there is an obstacle it goes round it, it goes out once a day by itself, it charges up its self, it parks itself and the list goes one. Why I hear you ask do we need one? There is a complicated piece of lawn in the garden that takes longer to fetch and keep the mower and then goes round and round and takes more than a much bigger patch of lawn. I am interested in the environmental side as well. How much energy will it use? Whats the whole life cost? The site will be installing the perimeter cable in the next week or so.  Ernie will then free to roam by its self.

Bodnant shifting to electrical equipment in a big way. the two stoke may be a thing of the past in the near future. Bodnant is growing the fuel on site with its PV

Bodnant shifting to electrical equipment in a big way. The two stoke engine may be a thing of the past in the near future. Bodnant is growing the fuel on site with its PV

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Winners in the Welsh procurement awards. International panel selects National Trust Wales

Our fisrt 3D printed award. winners of the CSR award category. Adding value to procurement!

Our first 3D printed award. Winners of the CSR award category. Adding value to procurement!

This week Bangor University has been hosting the International Procurement Week with over 39 countries in attendance (its next off to Malaysia and then London in 2017). This culminated last night in the Welsh Procurement Awards. National Trust Wales came away with the Corporate Social Responsibility Award. We were chosen by a large international panel as ‘worthy winners’ . Procurement is so much more than simply buying stuff within risk frameworks at the cheapest price as my procurement colleges in the National Trust inform me. We were awarded because of the extra steps we have been taking over the last six years to develop new supplies, new products in partnership with others, how we disseminate through our Fit for the Future network, working with communities in supporting them and enabling them to do the things we do, partnership working with multiple academic institutes to understand our needs / products and life cycle aspects so much clearer and so much better to become an informed organisation. (buying a boiler or hydro is straight forward… ). I am really proud that the international industry recognised National Trust Wales as an exemplar of how we add social, local economic and environmental focus on what we do. We are sometimes focused on the bottom line a bit too much in this world and if we don’t work with and for our communities (social, geographical and of interest) there in lies the end of us all if the economy continues on the ‘me first’ and let everyone else sort their own needs out. ‘we are in this together’ Accountancy is a tool and not the reason why we do stuff. The bottom line is social, environmental and economic responsibility. Doing the right thing for others and hope they do the same for you. The more we ALL do it, the more likely we are going to develop. Special thanks go the National Trust procurement team who we have been working with us for the last 6 years in this area. We have the good ideas of how stuff should be and they help make this a reality (oh good social and environmental focus usually delivers real cost savings as well… interesting!)

this image encapsulates part of what we are doing. This is the Penrhyn Choir who have an international reputation. The Choir is based in Bathesda. A small town we are working closely with and their new hydro plus fisrt every local supply network will be a rwality in the next 4 weeks. at the front 3rd from the left is Hywel the chair of the anafon hydro company who we helped set up and are now generateing. Many memebrs of the choir are from Fyffryn Peris who we have helped set up their own energy company and will be in construction in 3 weeks.

This image encapsulates part of what we are doing. This is the Penrhyn Choir who opened the ceremony who have an international reputation. Many of whom are share holder in Ynni Ogwen. The Choir is based in Bethesda. A small town we are working closely with and their new hydro plus first ever UK local energy supply network will be a reality in the next 4 weeks. At the front, 3rd from the left is Hywel the chair of the Anafon Hydro company which we helped set up and are now generating. Many members of the choir are from Dyffryn Peris who we have helped set up their own energy company (Ynni Padarn Peris) and will be in construction in 3 weeks. 

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My National Trust year in plants.

I must be getting soft in the head but I have decided to track my working year in the National Trust through plants. Specifically photographing what I see day-to-day. Not sure how to present it but I get to see some magnificent sites in my comings and goings for the job. It is also partly why I got into the job which was to hand on landscapes and the world in a generally  better condition. I am not a botanist or a gardener but I like learning new things and stuff like this puts a spring in my step. No specific outcomes, no specific plants. (probably flowering but also special stuff I come across in the job) Might use Flickr or Ingram but not sure yet. (suggestions please) The following images were my yesterday from Hafod y Llan farm on Snowdon down to the Cothi Valley in S Wales. I was looking at biomass heating from our woodlands but that’s another story!

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Welsh Poppy  (Pabi Cymreig) and foxgloves (Bysedd y Cwn neu Ffion) growing at National Trust Hafod y Llan on the drive into the farm yesterday. I have been watching this wall develop over the years into this magnificent yellow display

cotton-grass

Cotton Grass (Plu’r Gweunydd – Cymraeg) in National Trust Hafod Garegog National Nature Reserve. this was taken 5 meters from the road.

pink-campion

Pink Campion in full bloom by the visitor building in National Trust Llanerchaeron

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Welsh Poppy again in Hafod y Llan

 

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Is the internet of things delivering (starting to) deliver real benefits to ‘us’ and our communities. I think so…!

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This is the data National Trust Hafod y Porth hydro produces every half and hour through its smart meter which provided the detailed data to enable the Bethesda Energy Local trial to model and develop the ‘offer’ to the generator and the user. Data is king on this project.

The internet of things is something i have heard about but not really taken and interest in… until now. Wikipedia quotes

The internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.[1] The IoT allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure,[2] creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit. 

Today we were filming for the Governments Smart Meter role out at the NT Berthen Hydro

Today we were filming for the Governments Smart Meter role out at the NT Berthen Hydro

…and in a village nestling in the shade of the Carneddau mountains in Bethesda little digital acorns are budding. A large group of us have been working as you may have read on supplying a local community with locally generated electricity by using existing infrastructure. Simple you may think? As you can guess the cards are stacked against such an endeavour. But the thing which joins the dots and makes things possible is data. Its collection, its sorting and its reporting. Thanks to Energy Local and many other players, we will soon have a network of smart meters, a data gathering organisation, a cloud host, GSM or board bank links, local interfaces with the generator and user smart meters to know whats going on and deliver direct financial savings to participants and increase income for the generator. But we will also have the framework for an internet of things to hang itself on. This new data and its use can provide community benefit from better time of use tariffs, automatic switching of appliances and switching heating systems on and off based on economic and local preferences, it could release capacity in constrained local grids and the list goes on and on. But this is one of the first steps hopefully by the end of the summer we will be ready for a sprint based on the data coming through

Here is what the TOUT looks like for the trial without the local generaton from the hydro. The mart meters are driving real time savings for the useres of the system. we now need to support the community to make the best use of this information to make informed desicions

Here is what the TOUT (time of use tariff) looks like for the trial in Bethesda without the local generation from the hydro. (when its running this will level out the peaks) The smart meters are driving real-time savings for the users of the system. We now need to support the community to make the best use of this information to make informed decisions and pass the lessons on to the next projects

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