GUEST BLOG (Olivia Lasseiere)
Steven Berry and Olivia Lassiere from Scottish Canals http://www.scottishcanals.co.uk/ (SC) and Gordon MacDonald from NHS Highland (soon to be seconded to SC) spent a wonderful 2 days (17/18 March 2014) in the company of Paul Southall, Keith Jones (National Trust, Wales) and Chloe Hampson (Fit4Future coordinator) seeing their incredible range of energy efficiency and generation projects first hand.
We were on a fact-finding mission as part of the Fit4Future network to understand how NT Wales has delivered so much so quickly, saving over 40% in kwh and £1m cumulatively on bills. Scottish Canals is keen to use its estate, which has much in common with the National Trust for Wales (lots of old buildings and plenty of water), to reduce energy wastage and increase energy production using renewable technology.
On our whistle-stop tour (just over 24 hours) we visited the National Trust Hafod-y-llan estate near Beddgelert, Plas Newydd and Penrhyn Castle on Anglesey and the village of Abergwyngregyn near Bangor. We had the chance to get up close to solar photovoltaic arrays, run-of river hydropower generation schemes (various sizes), a wood-pellet biomass boiler, secondary glazing, a ‘groovy’ woodpellet-fired kitchen range and ground, air and marine source heat pumps. It was good to talk too with Richard (General Manager) at National Trust Penrhyn Castle about the challenges of making old buildings more efficient and to Jackie at the Abergwyngregyn tea room about the approach to their community energy project (hydro-power).
Key lessons learnt
- Always believe in the ‘Art of the Possible’
- Take a practical approach to environmental management and make it part of your day job
- Understand your subject and work with experienced contractors who understand what you want to achieve.
- Enjoy what you are doing
- Sharing is good
We look forward to joining the Fit4Future network , making progress on our own projects and to hosting other network members to Scotland when we have something to show them.
Many thanks again to the dream team of Keith, Paul and Chloe for an enlightening trip.