A Denbighshire renewables firm is celebrating completion of its 1,000th installation – converting an Anglesey cottage into a state of the art eco-home.
The major milestone coincides with Hafod Renewable Energy’s 10th anniversary in business.
Hafod Managing Director David Jones and his father, Richard, launched in Denbigh in 2010 when the concept of renewables-powered, carbon-neutral domestic homes was in its infancy and a decade later the company is among the UK’s leaders in the field.
Their 1000th contract was for repeat customers Martin and Caroline Schwaller, who made the decision to go green for a second time on buying a four-bedroom property with 4.7 acres of land – plus a Shetland Pony – at Burwen near Amlwch.
David presented them with a souvenir gift bottle of champagne bearing a specially designed ‘1000th installation’ label and said: “This is a genuine milestone moment. It’s incredible to think how far we’ve come since 2010, and our success story is continuing.
“Through commercial business and domestic work like this we’re building on our breadth of knowledge and experience and have secured prestigious contracts across North Wales, Cheshire, the Wirral and the North West.
“We’re going to celebrate with a week-long open event when everyone is welcome to call in and see the various systems we install in action and have their questions about renewable energy systems answered.”
That landmark installation was for the Schwallers, a Yorkshire couple, who have fallen in love with Anglesey and are now on their second property on the island.
Martin Schwaller said: “We have visited Anglesey for decades. We love it here and have always wanted to live here so when we retired we made the big move.”
The couple are strong believers in green energy and they had already commissioned Hafod to install air source and solar systems at the 18th century cottage they bought near the Anglesey village of Elim four years ago.
They were so impressed with the results and aftercare service that they didn’t hesitate to return to Hafod for the Burwen property and David added: “We did explore ground source heating but due to the island being on rock it would have been impracticable to excavate so air source was the obvious choice.
“The fact that Anglesey has high annual air temperatures also means the system will be super-efficient.”
Martin said: “We’re staying in Anglesey for the rest of our lives. We love our Elim cottage but it’s small, not nearly big enough for all our belongings, so we bought Carreg y Cad and after discovering the advantages of renewable energy at Elim we wanted to do the same here.”
The house, built in the 1900s, is being stripped back to the bare bones and given a complete refit with Hafod installing underfloor heating throughout, air source-powered hot water and central heating and electricity supplied via sixteen 280 watt solar panels on an outbuilding roof top.
The couple are putting their Elim cottage on the market – and potential buyers will discover it comes with an added incentive – the new owners will continue to receive the Renewable Heating Incentive payments of several hundred pounds every quarter for another three years.
The £22,000 cost of the Schwallers installing renewables technologies at the house in Burwen is also being offset by Government RHI grants paid in instalments over seven years.
Martin, a former sustainable energy manager with Mitchells and Butlers, one of the largest operators of restaurants, pubs and bars in the UK, said: “Caroline and I are eco-minded and have always done our best to choose alternatives to carbon fuels but now having experienced first-hand living in a renewable-powered home we are more committed than ever.
“When we had the cottage converted it proved beyond doubt that you really can have the best of both worlds – modern technology in a cosy, old-style rural setting.
“Here at Carreg y Cad we’re going even further as the science has moved on to be even more efficient so we’re having underfloor heating retrofitted throughout and the air source will be powered by the latest Mitsibushi Ecodan inverter driven heat pump technology.”
Hafod Renewable Energy are accredited installers of the award-winning Ecodan, specially designed for the UK’s changeable weather so its advanced controls are optimised to harvest free, renewable energy from the outdoor air to deliver domestic heating and hot water in all weathers.
Martin said: “This kind of technology is definitely the way forward for all homes. It is future proofing not just for individuals but for the planet as a whole.
“If nations are to meet the eco targets we need to achieve to combat climate change then it makes simple sense to invest in renewables right now.”
Caroline, a horse lover who was delighted to find that a friendly Shetland pony called Tom Thumb came with their Burwen house, added: “The Hafod boys have been excellent, quick and efficient, taking only two weeks to complete the installation from start to finish.”
Hafod Renewables, which recently moved to its own carbon-free headquarters at Tremeirchion, in the Vale of Clwyd, now employs 11 staff and and has been crowned Wales’s Renewable Heating Installer of the Year for the last two years at the national Energy Efficiency Awards in Birmingham.
Since they began in 2010 those 1,000 installations have included at a 16,000-bird egg farm, a historic Tudor mansion, builder’s merchants and more than 100 farms, a bakery, the world’s oldest heritage railway, a giant super-school, a rugby club and two golf clubs.