Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Village hall ‘greenest’ in Wales after energy makeover

A Vale of Clwyd village hall is the ‘greenest’ in Wales after getting a renewable energy makeover.
Trefnant Village Hall dates back to 1917 but it’s been brought firmly into the 21st century thanks to St Asaph-based green energy specialists Carbon Zero UK.

The hall generates its own electricity thanks to 16 solar panels on its roof and supplies itself with most of the water it needs thanks to a rainwater harvesting system while four more solar thermal panels provide hot water for the showers.

Local MP Chris Ruane and Assembly Member Ann Jones were impressed with the transformation when they visited the site to see the work that has been done.

Vale of Clwyd Labour MP Ruane said: “I think it’s an excellent way of powering a village hall in the 21st century and it shows we have the capability here in the Vale of Clwyd to install these sophisticated energy systems. They really deserve a pat on the back.

“Trefnant is leading the field. This must be the greenest village hall in Wales with its solar panels and rainwater harvesting sand it gives the village hall long term sustainability over the next 25 years.”

The heating, electricity and water systems are part of a major refurbishment of the village hall which was brought to the village from the First World War army camp at Kinmel Bay in 1917.

Carbon Zero Managing Director Gareth Jones said: “This system is quite cutting edge because it provides electricity and heats the water which is gathered from the roof but also filters it using ultra violet rays to make it safe for bathing.

“The 16 solar panels will provide 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year while the solar thermal panels can heat 750 litres of water on demand for showers and there is a rainwater harvesting tank which stores 7,500 litres of water.

Ann Jones, Labour’s Welsh Assembly Member for the Vale of Clwyd, added: “This project is very much in line with Welsh Assembly Government thinking about how communities need to take care of our planet.

“I believe this is a first and I hope they can share their experience with many more communities throughout Wales.”

Val Roberts, the Village Hall’s project manager, has masterminded the transformation of the hall which has been achieved with grants totalling £155,000 from local rural development agency Cadwyn Clwyd, Denbighshire County Council and the Welsh Assembly Government’s Communities and Facilities Fund.

He said: “The village hall is such an important amenity. It is hired out every day for everything from yoga and WI meetings to Zumba and karate and this makes it more viable to open it because it keeps the costs down.

“We are on a water meter so The rainwater harvesting will save us money and the electricity generation will earn us money by selling it back to the national grid. I’m sure we’ll be the greenest village hall in Wales.

“Carbon Zero have done a very good job for us and Gareth has been a great help with advice. We’re very leased with them.”

Gareth Jones added: “They’ve got a really good community here in Trefnant and they’re an inspiration to other communities.

“They’ve really worked hard and fought for this and Val and the chairman, Tudor Evans, have done a great job for their community and as a local company we’re delighted to have been involved in this scheme.”