Appleby Renewables Tour: Ground source heat pump, PVs and Biomass

Location: Appleby, Central Cumbria

Site visit report by: Jonathan Read, CAfS Volunteer.

Date: 19th September 2013

This event was part of CAfS Cumbria Green Build Festival 2013, funded by the BIG Lottery Fund, through the Sustain Eden programme

Overview

This event took place at three locations each with a variety of experiences and viewpoints, to provide attendees with a broad but comprehensive analysis of domestic renewables and energy saving technologies.

  • Logic Renewables tour with information and products available for biomass, wood chip and pellet burners.
  • Eden Frame talk, discussing the advantages of wooden frame support in buildings.
  • Tour of a farm with domestic log burner, roof-mounted solar PV and electric car.
  • Domestic ground source heat pump.

Logic Renewables gave the attendees industry backed information and statistics about domestic biomass and pellet boilers, solar thermal units and log burners. From kilowatt output to local pellet suppliers the information was given professionally and clearly by their engineers and independent renewable energy consultants.

Eden Frame gave a talk on wooden frame support for buildings. This provided an insight into professional building practices using natural materials for high rate insulation and structural integrity.

Eden Bank Farm’s tour displayed the uses of multiple renewable and green energy sources. The owner has a 12 kWh Roof-mounted solar PV system producing electricity for his home, electric car and surplus to sell back to the grid. He explained the need to use electrical appliances during the day to get the most use out of the panels, along with seasonal changes in supply and (living in a county with high rain fall) the reduction in cleaning requirements.

The farm also uses a 16 kWh log boiler for heating the house, hot water and again selling surplus back to the grid. Practical knowledge of using certain woods and having a storage facility are essential to the process of maintaining a well-functioning log burner.

An electric car has also been purchased by the couple for shorter journeys around the local area. Surplus power gained from the solar panels is used to charge the vehicle with back-up electricity used when necessary.

The White House’s  ground source heat pump is an underground system. The units for monitoring and supply (heat pump and distribution centre) are used to display the generation of electricity.

The level of energy generation is relatively low, but consistent. The placement of the generator needs to be in an accessible area for future maintenance with the pump and distribution centres close by.

Summary

This event was a combination of industry information and personal domestic use of renewable energies and sustainable living. It provided sound knowledge and first-hand experience of renewable installations. It was a valuable insight for anyone interested in installing their own renewable or energy saving systems.