Since the economic downturn, we’ve all been looking for ways to save money wherever we can and no less so than in the way we use energy. In an effort to slash bills, Cartrefi Conwy have started an ambitious project to end fuel poverty.
With aid from the Welsh Government, the housing association are doing all they can to cut fuel prices which can leave many people financially hamstrung leading to the choice of either food or heat.
Some of the ways that have been touted which can help the public include installation of small wind turbines in a community and also heat pumps which are capable of making heat out of water, air and ground. In addition, those close to large pools of water (such as the Conwy Valley) may be able to benefit from hydro power.
The future of the campaign lies in the hands of main researcher, Dr Liz Shepherd of Bangor University who will perform thorough tests and practices over the next two years to see if it’s sustainable. The Energy Services Company will dedicate themselves to providing power to residents through economically viable means.
Speaking after the partnership with Bangor University was put in place, Cartrefi Conwy’s Chief Executive Andrew Bowden said: “Our vision is to create communities to be proud of and I believe by producing our own energy in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way making it more affordable for tenants has to be a worthwhile aim.
“Of course, with more than 3,700 properties throughout Conwy, our communities are all different. What suits those living on housing estates near the coast might not work for tenants living as part of smaller, more remote, communities elsewhere in the county.
“That’s why it’s important we consult with tenants at every stage and make sure the right approach, and plan, is put in place to suit each individual community.
“I’m very excited about this whole project however, and eager to see what innovative ideas are developed that will benefit out tenants in the long-term.”
Dr Shepherd also said: “We are looking at how we can generate electricity and heat locally through renewable means, near to the communities that need it.
“When we generate electricity we also generate heat, almost as a by-product, but currently, and because of the distances involved, that heat is simply lost or discarded. That’s why we have cooling towers, for example, at power stations.
“But by producing electricity locally we can pipe the heat, through a district heat network, into the homes of tenants. This is heat that would otherwise be lost. This could be a really cheap and sustainable way to provide tenants with some of their energy needs.”
Adrian Johnson of Cartrefi Conwy: “There is a great deal of new technology out there and if we can harness that and see if we can make some of it work to help our communities and tenants then it’s only right we do so.“