The foundations for our eco policy were firmly set in 1988 with the construction of our earth sheltered eco building known as “the berm house”. It was designed by my Dad, Peter and seven years later in 1995, the building was officially recognised as being the 2nd lowest energy building in Europe. Perhaps the greatest achievement was the fact that this award was won in an era when the concept of “low energy” was given little consideration. The berm house was built, not with a view of saving the planet, but with a view to providing us with an additional accommodation annexe which was sympathetic to it’s countryside surroundings but most importantly had very low running costs. Our initial concept of an eco policy which we later applied to the main house was therefore driven primarily by the will to reduce running costs for ourselves.
Here are some of the measures that we took to improve energy efficiency at Caer Llan:
- The berm house
- Cold room preheat – The heat generated by the compressors which chill the walk in freezer and cold room is transferred to a pre heat tank for the hot water system. The main boiler therefore has less work to do and hence less fuel is burnt. My Dad refers to this as “heating your bath water with ice cream”.
- High efficiency “tank in tank” boiler.
- Low energy lighting throughout with commercial grade LED lighting in many areas.
- Occupancy sensors for lighting in hallways, corridors and passageways. I call them “magic lights”.
- Complete electrical survey to assess exact room by room usage. Data was gained using a clamp metre at distribution boards. High electric use areas and equipment were therefore easily identified and steps were put in place to manage usage (timers for instance or turning off the bar coolers and fridges during a quiet week).
- Antiquated inefficient kitchen equipment was replaced with more modern energy efficient equivalents.
- The oil fired aga was removed from the kitchen and replaced with a six burner range and necessary gas installation. It’s only on when in use now rather than all year round.
- Increased insulation throughout main house roof areas.
Having made considerable savings by becoming more energy efficient, it also became apparent that by burning less fuel and using less electric, we were indeed playing a small part towards today’s issues of reducing emissions and slowing climate change.
This in turn increased our passion to further develop our eco credentials:
Sustainability became an important factor in the refurbishment of Caer Llan. Natural hard wearing products were used for the ground floor areas in the main house. The function room has a solid oak floor with stone fireplaces whilst the piano bar has a large welsh slate floor with luxurious under floor heating.
In terms of further reducing our carbon footprint, we are also proud to support our local economy and actively promote and network with local businesses. We are blessed with a whole host of fantastic local suppliers for many products from quarry stone to award winning meats. Caer Llan also has its own kitchen garden, which provides us with fresh produce for many of our daily dishes. We also employ a local workforce, all of which share our ethos for creating a friendly and informal environment without compromise for professionalism and excellence.
For those all essential local journeys, we drive a fiat 500, keeping our fuel costs to a minimum and along with the low emissions.
Aims for the future:
- A photovoltaic electricity generation scheme.
- To discover an efficient waste recycling operator (sadly our local council are unable to offer a reliable service for us at present), but I have a new lead so that’s exciting.
- To continue to evolve our eco actions in a manner which benefits both our planet and our business.