Work is underway on a feasibility trial in Caerau as part of plans for a low-carbon heat scheme.

Eligible households can earn up to £150 for participating in the study, which sees consultants Energy Systems Catapult monitor heat usage in homes over the winter by installing a tado° smart thermostat.  This replaces conventional room thermostats and lets residents control their heating system remotely using an app, while allowing the information to be shared for the study.  Paul Smith at Energy Systems Catapult said: “We’ve had a great response, so far, with more than 50 people get in touch to take part in the trial.

“Work is underway to begin to install the tado smart thermostats in 30 of their homes soon, for which they will receive £75.

“We still need more people to signup, especially those whose homes have smart meters, so that we can understand how the Caerau heat project can best deliver benefits for Caerau residents.”

Earlier this week Bridgend County Borough Council cabinet members approved plans for an options appraisal into the Caerau heat project after a report outlined the challenges of using mine water, including increasing costs for investigation work.

A study on alternative technologies has indicated other options could involve air-source or ground source heat and individual property-based packages.

The options appraisal which is expected to be completed within six months will review a range of options, including continuing investigations into a smaller mine water-led scheme, seeking an alternative source of heat for a scheme to serve homes, delivering a combined programme mine water scheme, serving the school, and an alternative heat source serving homes or providing home energy improvements on a home by home basis.

The council’s cabinet member for communities Cllr Richard Young said: “The trial underway in Caerau is ultimately about developing a model to provide heat as a service.

“The concept is versatile – with the consultants using the information to understand residents’ heating needs and test an affordable heating tariff.

“The options appraisal will help us decide whether to continue with the use of mine water, perhaps on a smaller scale than first envisaged, or use a different source of heat.

“It’s all about helping to address fuel poverty and supporting the development of a new energy industry, developing skills within the low-carbon agenda.”

The £9.7m Caerau Heat Scheme, which has been funded with European funds through the Welsh Government, aims to see heat extracted from renewable sources to provide heat to homes in the area. It is hoped heating costs will be reduced by about 10% compared to using a traditional gas boiler.  The local authority which is overseeing the project, is working closely on the scheme alongside partners such as Welsh Government, British Geological Survey, Natural Resources Wales, Cardiff University, Energy Systems Catapult and The Coal Authority.  It has been awarded funding for the Caerau Heat Scheme from the European Regional Development Fund through Welsh Government.

Residents who give permission for their energy consumption data to be collected as part of the trial underway in Caerau will get a free smart thermostat and £75 in cash from Energy Systems Catapult, with another £75 paid if they take part in other activities, such as surveys, in the next three months. There is no requirement for any structural work to be undertaken on residents’ properties.

If you are interested in taking part or have any questions visit https://www.livinglab.energy/offer/1005