Long day today. Tredegar house for a meeting this morning. looking forward to working with the property to get under the bonnet of this new mansion. can see lots of quick wins. But that is a series of blogs to come
Paul and I spent this afternoon having a look-see at what has and is happening in some of the Brecon properties. Namely Dan y Gyrn and Beili Gwennol. If you’ve even driven from North to South Wales along the A470? as you near the highest bit of the road near the Storey Arms bellow you nestling in the Tarell Valley the National Trust has its countryside base (Dan y Gyrn) and volunteer house Beili Gwennol. Of late these two buildings have been touched with the sustainable energy wand. Energy efficiency is of course the first port of call and nice it was to see all of the new LED lights but of interest for this afternoon was to see the new 25kw biomass system being installed at Beili Gwennol and a series of air to air heat pumps being installed at Dan y Gyrn.
We have become fans of the air to air heat pumps. Namely for their simplicity and cost (about £500 – £1000 ish each) and four hours to fit. The challenge with upgrading the heating in Dan y Gyrn was the issue of having no distribution system for hot water and so any new system would have to expensively install a hot water system for a biomass or water based heat pump to replace the incredibly inefficient storage heaters. The storage heaters distributed their heat when there was nobody in the building and electricity can also be the highest carbon form of heating. In this situation we opted for £3500 worth of heat pumps (7 of them) rather than £25,000 for a biomass system. Budget, time and disruption were major factors. Air based heat pumps have had a bit of a bad press but more based on design and management rather than the technology. Yes they will be on a par with a convector heater when its -12c but for 95% of the time we should get decent COP’s but not the manufacturers 5 -7 COP – if its that warm outside then your heating should not be on. It must also be remembered that Dan y Gyrn also has a large log stove for the main communal area inside and they are well aware of the need to manage the heat pumps and refrain for the ‘sub tropical’ setting on the controllers. It will be interesting to see the results next winter when the heating is being driven in anger by the weather.