Buying a DNRG multi fuel burner was the key to efficiency for one family in rural Wales
Having a large old house and 3 children did not stop the Roberts family from cutting their CO2 emissions and their energy bills when they decided to buy a DNRG multi-fuel log burner
Deep in the hills of south Wales lies the Towy valley; the surrounding land s some of the most bountiful in the UK. A picture postcard mix of green pastures, wooded glades, babbling streams and at the heart the majestic river Towy, all watched over by the Black Mountain range. The area is close to the Brecon Beacons National Park and those who live and work in the area are justifiably proud of their surroundings; it is not surprising that many are keen to make as little impact as possible on the environment.
One family playing their part by going green is the Roberts family who live in a three story house with a smallholding of 50 acres to keep their flock of pedigree Suffolk sheep. The house is called Cefnycheldre Llanwdra, which roughly translates as ‘House on the Hill’. This hill runs down towards the river and is as near to unspoilt as anywhere you could imagine. The house, built around 1800, is three storeys with six bedrooms with solid walls built of local stone; the Roberts family are Dad Hefin his wife and three children.
Despite the age of the house and outbuildings the family still want all mod cons and that includes heating. Being so far off grid the only option for heating was oil fired central heating. “The oil bills were crippling” says Hefin “over £4,000 per year, we have plenty of woods and can easily provide enough logs to keep a biomass boiler going. The move to biomass to replace oil was definitely an option we wanted to explore” continued Hefin “the job was to find a boiler that could take lots of different types of fuel and not be too demanding or complicated” The solution was to install a DNRG Multi Fuel Burner. This robust farm style burner rated at 90 kilowatts and supplied with a 5,000 litre storage tank. The boiler is hand fed with logs of all sizes and can also take chips, shavings and pellets. “It was important that we didn’t become slaves to the burner” said Hefin, now installed the operation is remarkably simple, fed once or sometimes twice a day by hand even the children can help. “In fact the hardest work is cutting the logs in the first place”. The family will have paid back the outlay in under 4 years, they now have a permanently warm house, can bathe to their hearts content and turn the heating up whenever they want, all without feeling guilty, maybe, they say,” it will be a swimming pool next”.
Like many UK farms and smallholdings the Roberts had unmanaged woodland on their land and with a little planning and care the woodland can become productive over the long term. Trees (and plants) remove CO2 from the atmosphere, through decaying and burning, they return exactly as much CO2 to the atmosphere as they previously removed. So one other benefit we all receive from the Roberts heating their house with wood is a healthy natural CO2 balance in the atmosphere: but it gets better they are also now not using the fuel oil they were before. 1 litre of heating oil generates 2.676 kg CO2 so if the Roberts were using 6,000 litres per year that’s a whopping 16 tons of CO2 saved per year, over 20 years (the lifetime of the boiler) a massive 329 tons. Just from one family.
Ecomerchant are stockists of Pat Lee DNRG log burners and DNRG thermal stores
8th of March 2013