Cwm Hesgan, Abergeirw
Few of us can imagine the remote location of this traditional Welsh holiday cottage situated on a working sheep farm high in the mountains in Gwynedd. Indeed, it’s location is so remote that it was the last village in the UK to be connected to the mains electricity and this only took place less than a decade ago in 2008! Clearly, alternative ways of generating power and heating is almost second nature to this community but Rhun Jones, owner of Cwm Hesgen, sought to install a renewable source of heating to replace an old oil boiler. Having installed a hydro system and a biomass boiler at his own home on the estate he began to explore the options for other renewable sources which would remove the inconvenience of sustaining the oil boiler (receiving deliveries was challenging due to its remote location) and was much more environmentally friendly.
The farm cottage, which was constructed in the early 1700’s, forms part of the estate which has been in Mr Jones’ family since 1860 – Mr Jones is the fifth generation to farm here. It has been sympathetically enhanced to create a holiday cottage where people really can escape from it all. It commands stunning views and now thanks to a NIBE Ground Source Heat Pump enjoys plentiful heating and hot water for guests to enjoy. This was specified with the help of experienced renewable energy installers Hafod Renewables. Two F1245 12kW Ground source Heat Pumps along with a 300 litre UKV buffer tank were sufficient to generate heating and hot water for the property as well as a drying room in an adjacent outbuilding to support the working farm.
“The remote location of Cwm Hesgen made it an ideal property to install a renewable heating system harnessing nature in what is an absolutely gorgeous spot,” said David Jones Hafod Renewables. “With plenty of land surrounding the property we were able to install the collector loops laterally which only took two days thanks to the geology which was wet clay, perfect for digging and laying the pipes. We then spent a further two weeks removing the old boiler and 1000 litre oil tank, installing new radiators to maximise the efficiencies of the system and creating a bespoke plant room for the property. Perhaps the most challenging part of the installation was accessing the property – getting our plant, machinery and equipment to the cottage proved arduous but we chose early summer for the installation so our team were able to maximise the daylight and the weather conditions.
“Mr Jones also benefits from fantastic cost saving and environmental benefits. The old oil boiler was circa 80% efficient and used fuel with a very heavy carbon footprint, Kerosene. The new heating system is 350% more efficient and the fact that the system gets 75% of the electrical requirements to run the heat pump via Mr Jones’ hydro system means he will save over 8 tonnes of CO2 per annum – the equivalent of taking five diesel cars off the road each year. Furthermore, his Renewable Heat Incentives (RHI) payments will pay £2,800 each year and will continue for 20 years rising with inflation. The projected income from the installation of the system is £60,000.”
Rural holiday properties, particularly those that are off grid are entirely suited to renewable energy systems. With the remote locations being the very thing that attracts guests to the property, and a desire to get back to nature, a renewable heating and hot water system will only serve to make the property more attractive to let. This traditional granite built cottage now retains all of its alluring qualities whilst enjoying the most modern and efficient heating system. And, as one of the safest ways to heat a property they will give owners and rental companies added peace of mind. This is a fine example of how such systems can be integrated into old or remote properties with the minimum of disruption and inconvenience.
Rhun Jones, owner of Cwm Hesgen commented; “I am truly delighted with the new NIBE heating system and the wonderfully ambient heat that it provides to this traditional cottage which is situated in a beautiful but often bleak setting. The installation by Hafod Renewables was straightforward and it was clear that they were highy skilled, professional and knowledgable in undertaking such projects. They overcame the challenges met due to the remoteness of the property with professionalism and humour, embracing the situation rather than finding it difficult. The return on my investment through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) programme is an added bonus and we will save a considerable amount of money each year in oil deliveries.
“I would like to think that Cwm Hesgen can be an example to other holiday cottage owners , particularly those in off grid locations, that installing a renewable heating and hot water system is the responsible thing to do. I really do think that the figures and statistics speak for themselves and with the renewable installer market growing accessibility is becoming easier and more straightforward.”