• E. Estelles

Off-grid Energy monitoring for the community

Helping to create and monitor a sustainable environment without losing quality of life.

Case Study Maes Yr Onn Farm


Maes Yr Onn Farm established in 1825 is comprised of 84 Ha (hectares) and has been farmed on a commercial basis by Arthur Davies and his family for over 30 years. Unfortunately, the original farmhouse fell into disrepair many years ago and Arthur and his family lived off-site. Their efforts to re-establish a presence on the farm was further hampered by a lack of electricity, gas, and water or sewerage services at this upland site.


Project Overview


Back in May 2011 the owners of Maes Yr Onn, the Davies family gained outline planning permission to build a farmhouse, which was the starting point of the journey. They wanted an inspirational modern farmhouse that overcame the challenges of the stunning and isolated Manmoel location. Maes Yr Onn incorporates a range of green technologies that include Solar Photovoltaic panels, Biomass boiler, Thermal store, Rainwater-harvesting and Battery bank to store surplus energy. The project aimed not only to provide a fully off grid energy and heat supply to the family but also prove the efficiency of the systems and how well they work on off grid conditions without the backup help of the electrical, gas and water “grid”. The key requirements were:

Full integration of different technologies within one systemDiesel generatorSolar PhotovoltaicBiomass boilerRain water collectionBattery charging system and battery statusOutdoor and indoor wireless temperature monitoringThe family had to had full access to live information via a dashboardRemote connectivity with very low GSM signalMonitoring equipment needed to be extremely energy efficient since the entire house was “running” on batteries. 


Solution

Scottish and Southern Energy [SSE] had already carried a number of projects with Logic Energy, mostly on monitoring and specification of field trial systems and new technology, and at the same time looking at the comfort levels of the “customers”. Towards the end of the project, SSE approached Logic Energy to design, supply and commission the installation a full hybrid monitoring system for all the different technologies and at the same time gather behaviour and lifestyle changes required for the effective transition from grid to off-grid living.


The family is able to access their customised logic energy dashboard to view their real time energy usage via mobile or tablet, so they can manage their energy usage effectively. SSE, Caerphilly County Borough Council’s RDP Sustainable Energy Team and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) have now access 24/7 to live information of one of the very few fully off-grid houses in the UK.


Benefits

Using the Logic Energy tools to monitor the Maes Yr Onn project has not only allowed the Davies family to have access to the farm all year round, it has also demonstrated the benefits of sustainable living without losing any quality of life. The Live information automatically gathered by the Logic Energy system has also been used by SSE to guide them with future off grid projects. Jo Horrigan, National Development Director SSE said:

We are very excited that we are able to monitor the benefits of this exemplar project in order to understand the true challenges of off grid living and to replicate the lessons learnt

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