This week the solar hot water panels went up on the basecamp roof. We are using flat plate collectors, you can see them waiting to be installed here.
The green technology we are putting in is in many ways one of the most exciting parts of this project. In the past our carbon footprint at Swan Barn Farm has not been anything to be proud of, but that is all changing this year, this is the latest step in that process.
The panels are fitted to bars which attach to brackets that reach through the tiles on the basecamp roof and attach to the rafters. Martyn the local bat worker has been present for the instalation of both these and the pv panels, we owe him a big thankyou for helping us with the work and ensuring that any disturbance to the roof didn’t cause any problems for the local bat population.
Flat plate collectors look a bit like massive iphones when they are strapped onto the roof, I guess there are a few arguments out there about the asthetics of this, but they are hidden on the back of the basecamp roof and I think they are a realy usefull piece of green technology.
They work by collecting the suns energy and focusing it on a pipe run which has an anti freeze solution within it. This solution passes along a pipe and into the bascamp plant room where the heat is exchanged inside a cylinder to heat the domestic hot water supply. On days when the sun is not providing enough heat the bring the water up to temperature the system will be boosted by a feed from the biomass boiler which we will be installing later in the year.
With the basecamp sleeping up to 19 people and 3 people in the new building you can imagine that there is quite a demand for hot water, especially after a hard days work in the woods. Our solar and biomass systems have been scaled to cope with this demand, and it will be a proud moment when they are switched on and we go over to using entirely sustainable sources of heat and hot water.
Meanwhile we have also had another working holiday helping with the project over the past week. The main job has been shingle making, and they have done a great job for us, making over 800 of them. Its not long untill we start the job of putting them on the roof, so its been crucial to get enough of them in stock to ensure first half of the roof can be completed in one go. Thanks guys, great work.
Before they go on the roof they all need to have a hole predrilled in them to ensure the nail that holds them in place doesn’t split the shingle in half. The holes need to be positioned accurately to ensure the shingles sit in nice level rows, this is where the jig comes in.
We made a jig (it makes sure each hole is exactly the same distance from the bottom of the shingle) and attached it to the pillar drill. Then it is a question of putting each of the 7500 or so shingles we need for the first part of the roof onto the jig and drilling the hole.
The volunteers made an excellent start on this, getting several wheelbarrow loads done. There is still a long way to go though, just another job to add to the list of stuff to do.