Sun, rain and even air – village hall gets greener thanks to windfarm windfall

A Vale of Clwyd village hall could be the greenest in Wales literally thanks to a windfall from a renewable energy giant.

The building at Llanbedr DC, near Ruthin, dates back to the First World War but it’s very 21st century thanks to a brand-new air-source heating system.

That’s been installed by award-winning green energy company Hafod Renewables, from Tremeirchion, with help from a £6,700 grant from the Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm Fund.

It’s part of an annual £700,000 bonanza for local communities and businesses across rural Conwy and Denbighshire from the fund which is administered by Community and Voluntary Support Conwy.

The sophisticated air-source heating cost £8,500 but isn’t the only renewable aspect of the hall which also has an array of solar panels and a rainwater collection system and plans to add an outdoor green gym.

David Jones, Managing Director of Hafod Renewables, said: “They did have an old air-source system here but it was always breaking down and they were calling us out to repair it – in the end we were doing it free of charge because they’d had so many call-outs.

“But these grants have been brilliant for the Village Hall and for so many other communities and it means Llanbedr has now got a modern and up-to-date system to complement their other renewables.

“They’re pretty much off-grid here.  It only took us a day to install and will last them 25 years – we’ll only need to come round for the annual service.

“It’s also excellent that the Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm, a renewable source of energy, is paying for the Village Hall to be renewable as well.”

The chair of the Village Hall Committee is Denbighshire County Councillor Huw Williams who said: “The village hall is at the heart of the community and is very well used.

“The hall is as green as we can make it now with the new air-source system, the solar panels, rainwater recycling and plans for a green gym outside with eco-friendly equipment.

“The old system we had was breaking down all the time but thanks to Hafod Renewables and the Wind Farm Fund we’ve been able to replace it with a brand new one.”

Air-source heating acts like a fridge in reverse, using a heat exchanger to transform outside temperatures as low as -20C to up to 25C indoors and heating water to 65C while it can easily be retro-fitted to older properties.

Local resident Gwenda Williams said: “The village hall is very well used. We have lots of local groups who use it for everything from yoga to sewing.

“We even have a group of model train enthusiasts from Manchester who come every month to set up their railway which is stored in the hall and they spend the day running it.”

The Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm Fund was launched last year with a commitment to distribute grants worth £19 million over the next 25 years to community projects and businesses across Conwy and Denbighshire.

The money, £700,000 annually, comes from energy giant RWE’s Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm whose 27 turbines generate 96 megawatts of green electricity for the National Grid.

It is administered by Community and Voluntary Support Conwy with a panel of people from rural Conwy and Denbighshire allocating the grants.

Wind Farm Fund Manager Esyllt Adair said: “It’s a terrific opportunity for the area and for its communities and businesses, because there is a focus on having an economic benefit as well, especially after the pandemic.

“So far we have allocated over £500,000 in three rounds of community funding and we have also received 27 applications from rural businesses.

“The project at Llanbedr is small-scale but it is really important to the community and it’s brilliant for them. It’s a very green village.”

Among the organisations to have benefited from the Fund are Denbigh Town FC, Golygfa Gwydyr Llanrwst, Cerrigydrudion PTA, Ruthin Town football club, Llannefydd Village Hall, St Peter’s Square clock, in Ruthin, and Baby Basics Dyffryn Clwyd for essential goods for expectant mothers.

For details on eligibility for the Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm Fund grants and how to apply go to www.clocaenog.cymru

For more on Hafod Renewables go to https://www.hafodrenewables.co.uk/

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