The last couple of weeks have seen myself, Keith (and Hernandes) spending quite a bit of time over at Hafod y Llan farm on the foot of Snowdon – You can see from the photograph that it has been a tough decision between the office or here!
As part of the “Fit for the future” programme we are working with the Farm Manager Arwyn and the team to further develop this demonstration farm. Earlier blogs have highlighted how we are looking to “show and tell” high quality, low cost efficiency and generation opportunities that can be replicated by landowners and householders.
With this in mind I have been focussing on getting the farmbuildings and farm managers house, and adjoining campsite operating as efficiently as possible –
- Secondary double glazing
- Induction cooker
- LED lighting
- Air Source heating to the farmhouse
- Heat recovery
- PV system
Can we ensure that the farm managers home is warm and energy efficienct? Can we utilise the steel portal framed agricultural shed to generate electricity for the farmhouse? Can we provide the nearby tenant houses with electricity generated on the farm via a private wire network?
Biggest question – Can all of this be done to a high quality in a cost effective and therefore replicable way?
This does not just mean in a monetary sense. We have to provide a user friendly heating system that will not require Arwyn loading a pellet hopper at 3.30am to get heat into the house when it is lambing time. We do not want to over-engineer systems as people want simple and straightforward, with less bits that can break.
Have been meeting and surveying the farm with contractors and engineers, and the upshot is a resounding “YES”. There may be a few engineering hurdles to overcome, but so far (fingers crossed) all of the efficiency measures I have mentioned above are both doable, and replicable without costing the earth.
We have been working with the trust legal team to finalise an energy supply agreement for our tenants. Now complete we can use this in order to provide our tenants with the benefit of our renewables generation in a cost-effective way for them.
He is the rather adorable farm “Guard Alpaca”. Arwyn tells me that since he has been looking after the sheep the losses to foxes have fallen dramatically. He may look cute, but he obviously is not an Alpaca to be messed with!