Vale of Clwyd family could be Wales's greenest after going off-grid

Reporter:

Andrew Martin

A Trefnant family could be the greenest in Wales after going off-grid to save the planet and save themselves a packet of money.

David Jones and Jen Hay have a zero carbon footprint – and even their cars guzzle sunshine-generated electricity rather than gas.

It’s an annual saving of over £6,000 a year and David said: “It’s like having a lottery win every year. It pays for our holidays.”

The couple get all their heat and power from renewable sources, much of it generated at their neat detached home in Trefnant.

David, 32, managing director of Denbigh-based renewable energy specialists Hafod Renewables, has transformed the property which has an array of 16 solar panels - two of them on the garden shed roof – as well as an air-source heat pump in the back garden. Inside there is a wall-mounted battery which is charged up either when the house is empty during the day or at night when renewable-generated electricity is cheapest.

The energy sources also warm the house through an underfloor heating system they have had installed and which stores energy in the two-centimetre thick resin screed which covers the entire ground floor and in which the heating pipes lie.

Outside a his’n’hers charging point tops up the batteries on their cars – his Tesla Model X, a two-ton, gullwing-doored four-wheel drive SUV with a 200-mile range which does 0-60 in 4.8 seconds, and hers a Mitsubishi Outlander estate which can easily manage local trips on its 33-mile battery range.

David said: “This was a conventionally-powered home which cost about £1,200 to heat when we bought it and I was driving a conventional car which was costing me about £4,000 a year and Jen’s car cost us another £1500 in fuel. I did the maths and it made sense to go off-grid and the numbers will look even better in about seven years when the solar panels, the battery and the air-source heating is paid for. Then we will have the rest of the 20-year lifetime of the systems for pretty much free green living and travelling.”

The whole project was designed by David himself and installed by David’s co-owned firm Hafod Renewables, using all its expertise in solar, heating and electrical systems and their experience gained over the last seven years of installing similar systems.

David has carefully costed the savings he has made and the family’s heating, hot water and electricity have more than halved from £1,350 to £650 but the biggest difference is in motoring where they used to spend over £5,000 and which now costs them £800.

He said: “Everything is controlled from one app on my phone, from charging the car to heating the hot water and the house itself has four zones which I can adjust individually wherever I am.”

As well as the benefits to the planet David has also gained from the grants system for renewables and his bank balance stands to receive a Renewable Heat Incentive of £650 per year for 7 years, a solar payment of £270 annually for 20 years, £500 for his home charging point and a £7000 Electric Vehicle plug in grant. There’s also the potential for an extra £300 per year when battery storage legislation changes so the Joneses can sell electricity back to the grid when demand is high and it adds up to total grants of up to £18,000.

Hafod Renewables, which was founded in Denbigh in 2010 by David Jones and his father, Richard, now employs nine staff and has become a key player in North Wales in the installation of non-solar systems such as air and ground-source heating and biomass and this sector now accounts for over 60per cent of its business.

For more on Hafod Renewables visit www.hafodrenewables.co.uk.

Email:

andrew.martin@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Free Press

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