The work on Hafod y llan farm on Snowdon is now moving a pace. This demonstration farm is adding an energy string to its bow. Paul is managing the efficiency work and the 10kw PV is within a couple of weeks of going in. New LED lighting has been ordered. The deposit has been paid on the 640kw hydro turbine. The 15kw hydro is getting ready to go in. The farmhouse is about to get an overhaul. £5000 quote had been received for new secondary glazing. We have been looking at external insulation. Heat recovery units in the bathrooms and kitchen, induction cooker, smart metering and so on. Then we get to the heating system for the large ish 1950’s farmhouse. We have had to slow down and take our time to think this through. The initial dash for air to air heat pumps has had to be looked at because of the higher than expected costs, which when we look at the quote actually makes sense because of the complex use of the building and its general layout. What next and what to consider?
One of the objectives for this work is that it has to be value for money, reliable, practical and replicable. One test is would a farmer visiting the farm consider adopting our approach. It’s all too easy chucking money at these things as we have seen at ‘exemplar’ projects but this approach is not replicable to most of us (we don’t have ‘that’ luxury on this project!)
Options being considered
Air to air heat pumps located around the building and heating different zones. Benefit – cost per unit, control-ability and speed of install. Against – cumulatively its is quite expensive. No RHi payments to help with the capital cost, fear that the cooling mode (or air conditioning will be used)
Biomass system – either small pellet or a batch boiling log system. Benefit – can be bolted on to the existing heating system, RHi payments to offset the cost, low operating cost for log system Against – can be very expensive if you got for all the options (auto feed, dishing and full automation) log system involved a lot of wood handling. Pellet can track oil cost increases (takes energy to make and move) they can also take up a bit for room esp. with the biomass store
Ground source heat pump using the field behind the building – Benefit – automated switch on system. RHi payments to help with capital cost, use electricity generated on site Against – quite expensive per KW to install, heat profile (slow release system. The farm manager may be out for most of the day and may not benefit) will need to change the radiators because of the lower flow temperatures (also air to water heat pump, solar thermal, short wave infrared to consider)
something different – using the 15kw of waste heat from the large hydro generator and using an air to water heat pump and moving this hot water to the farm-house. But the hydro will only be generating for 60% of the year and only has a 40% load factor. I personally like this idea but the system has to be replicable in this demonstration farm.
The most important thing to consider is the victim or should we say the person left with the heating system after ‘we’ the clever people have left. We have to make sure that Arwyn the farm manager is able to use this system and that it works for his life style. eg during lambing and the long cold nights and irregular hours the last thing you want to do when you get home is to shift quite a few kilos of logs or empty and ash pan. The client is king on the decision –
let us know what you think? PS Paul and i are going through the same dilemma with our own homes!