OK OK…..I finally get it.
It seems like everyone from Craig@123webdesigns.co.uk to my marketing guru Sam has been trying/nagging me to get on and start blogging. The guys at the Welsh Government through their ICT program tried…but failed to stimulate my interest in blogging but I have finally, stubbornly come to the conclusion that to achieve the “holy grail” and push the site up the google rankings I have to give it a go.
The next thing is to try to work out a style for the blogs. Shall I just blog irrelevant stories like on twitter, or in depth tourism and green issues? After a great deal of discussion/arguing with Sarah I think we will just wing it and see how it goes.
I have just seen the weather forecast http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/forecast/380?area=SA4 and it looks like summer has finally arrived!!! It means we will have to break out the barbies for one last time.
We have just been granted entry into the Green Tourism Business Scheme. http://www.green-business.co.uk/. This is the national sustainable tourism certification scheme for the UK.
We do not want you to think that we are a family of tree huggers, but just a young family trying to do our little bit.
Another grading visit on the way!!!! I will keep you informed of how we get on.
5 Star Accommodation in Wales
We have been awarded a 5 star grading by Visit Wales for both of our Self Catering Barn Conversions in the Gower, South Wales.
After 2 years of hard work building the barns we have finally been acknowledged with the 5 star grading by the Visit Wales inspectors for both The Llaethdy and Beudy…… Be one of the first to stay with us in 2012 by booking you self catering barn conversion break.
Meanwhile I have started the not too exciting task of excavating and burying the ground collector pipes for the Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) we are going to install to heat the barns. They consist of 500m of plastic pipe buried 1m underground and 1m apart.
Through our friends at Green Dragon Energy (www.greendragonenergy.com), who are local suppliers & installers of environmentally friendly and low carbon heating and hot water systems, we have decided on a Dimplex (www.dimplex.co.uk) GSHP. We will supplement this with a Dimplex solar thermal to supply up to 60% of the hot water requirements with the GSHP supplying the rest.
This will work out at a much more energy efficient way of heating and supplying the water needs to our guest. We have calculated that the saving by using the technology will be 75% compared to Oil, which would be the only real option due to where we are situated.
So what is a heat pump?
Heat pumps use conventional refrigeration technology to extract the sun’s energy stored in the environment and raise it to a temperature suitable for heating purposes.This principle works even in the middle of winter at temperatures as low as -25°C.
There are three types of heat pumps.
Air source heat pumps utilise the outside air as their energy source. Heat pumps can even extract heating energy from the outside air at temperatures as low as -25°C·
Ground source heat pumps extract heat from the earth all year round via ground heat collectors buried beneath the ground.
Water to water heat pumps extract thermal energy from underground water. If the supply is readily available and the quality is sufficient, water is the most effective heat source.
A heat pump heating system consists of 3 components: the heat source, the heat pump itself and a heat distribution and storage system. Heat pumps are able to produce more energy than they consume by using the conventional refrigeration cycle to absorb heat from the environment and raise it to a suitable level for heating.
- 75% of the energy is taken from the environment i.e the air or ground and transfered to the heat pump.
- 25% of the energy is sourced from the national grid in the normal way of supplying your electricity. This is used to operate the heat pump but with very low consumption
The energy from the air or ground is transferred to the refrigerant inside the heat pumps evaporator. This causes the temperature of the refrigerant to rise and change state from liquid to gas. The refrigerant gas is then compressed, using an electrically driven compressor, reducing its volume but causing its temperature to rise significantly.
A heat exchanger (condenser) then extracts the heat energy from the hot refrigerant to heat water for central heating, underfloor heating or domestic hot water. After giving up its heat energy the refrigerant turns back into a liquid and is able to absorb energy from the environment, allowing the cycle to begin again.
Heat pumps are among the most efficient heating and hot water systems available today. Approximately 75% of the energy needed for heating comes from the environment. This means that for every 1kWh of electricity used to power the heat pump compressor, between 3 and 4 kWh of heating energy are produced, giving the heat pump an efficiency of 300-400% or higher.
The heat pump’s “efficiency” is known as it’s “Coefficient of Performance” (CoP). This is simply a ratio between the proportion of the total energy supplied that can be extracted from the environment and the amount supplied by electricity to run the heat pump compressor. The higher the CoP, the more “free” environmental energy the heat pump is using! The CoP for our system is 4.32, or for the layman, for every 1 unit of energy we put into the system we get 4.32 back, or 3.32 free!
Phew!!! Now you know!! Please do not ask me to explain it!!
Easter is nearly upon us and work has been progressing so that the new handcrafted Oak frame can be erected. The guys for Border Oak (www.borderoak.com) in Leominster are due to be on site on 31st March for a few weeks. We are installing the frame to be the major structural element for the barns. They will support the first floor and roof without loading the existing ancient walls.
The new design for the barns includes the addition of a first floor into the roof space. To accommodate this we have had to dig out the existing floor and reduce the levels. For this we used a mini digger that fitted through the doors and removed all the muck with a wheelbarrow. (Well done Dean. My back was playing up that day!)
We are hoping to start taking bookings for our guests during the summer for the autumn season but barn conversions are notoriously hard to accurately plan out.
In reference to eggs! A few weeks ago we got hold of 4 chickens form a battery egg farm that were destined for slaughter. When we got hold of them thay were missing feathers and pecked to bits. For a few weeks they would not leave the chicken coop but now they are finding their feet and we are getting 4 eggs a every day.
The boys have named the chickens Pie, Rocket, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. You can see what happens whenyou let a 4 and 6 year old name animals.
Week 1- The A Team
After the euphoria of starting the project it is now down to the practical task of trying to convert a 150 year old stone farm building into 21st century luxury holiday accommodation.
To help with the sympathetic renovation of the barns we have enlisted the help of a great couple of guys. Phil and Dean will be on hand to help with all stages of construction and to tell me where I am going wrong!!
The first task we undertook was the stripping of most of the roof off and the demolition of the unsafe walls. We knew the walls may need a bit of work but it became quickly apparent that the structural instability was worse than expected, so half of the walls had to go.