What is ‘eco’ about the adventure lodge?
Living, working and playing as we do in Britain’s only coastal National Park we are very aware of our impact on the environment, and as such we have tried to make sure that it is as positive as possible. On a fundamental level we are guided by our aim;
Preseli Venture aims to meet the needs of our clients, in an environmentally sustainable way, whilst providing jobs for people living locally and trade for local businesses. We aim to provide an example of how to live and work sustainably in the precious resource of this inspirational National Park environment.
With this in mind – the new build of the lodge, and the renovations of the existing lodge, provided the opportunity to invest considerably into making the lodge a much ‘greener’ place. We don’t claim to be perfect, and we don’t claim to have all of the answers, however we do try to make choices with the environment, sustainability, and people in mind.
The ecolodge has been independently reviewed by Responsible Travel’s ‘responsible tourism writer of the year 2011’ award winner and freelance ethical travel writer Catherine Mack, who found the lodge to have ‘impressive eco-credentials’. – read the full review here.
Saving Energy – the Preseli Venture low carbon lodge
The Preseli Venture lodge has been built with energy saving considerations at the forefront; it’s built from an Insulating Concrete Formwork (ICF) system called BecoWallForm, which is based on large hollow lightweight block components which lock together, without intermediate bedding materials, to provide a formwork system. The building achieves a U-value – the measurement of heat lost – of 0.19W/m2K, compared to the current building standard of 0.35W/m2K. The building is therefore very highly insulating and by its construction also extremely air-tight with no heat lost through draughts.
The other very important low carbon factor for the new lodge is the ground source heat pump which we have installed, and which provides 100% of our heating and hot water for the entire lodge. The ground source heat pump uses buried ground loops which transfer heat from the ground into the buildings to provide the central heating and to heat the lodge hot water. This system is very efficient, providing carbon savings to the tune of:
- Fuel Displaced CO2 saving per year
- Gas 1.2 tonnes
- Electricity 7 tonnes
- Oil 1.8 tonnes
- Solid 6.5 tonnes
The heat pump does require electricity to drive the compressor and pump for the ground loop, and all of our electricity is sourced from ecotricity, a key investor in renewable energy, as well as our photovoltaic panels.
In 2016 we have also installed solar water heating panels on the office ‘living roof’ to generate hot water for the lodge, working in addition to the heat pump.
LED Lighting – lighting accounts for approximately 25% of national power generation and so to further cut electricity consumption, in the majority of the lodge we’ve opted for revolutionary LED lights – which are more expensive, but they last a really really long time, they are incredibly energy efficient, emitting more light per watt than other bulbs, and they contain no harmful chemicals (low energy bulbs can contain mercury).
Additionally, all of our bathrooms and our drying room are fitted with high efficiency heat exchange units that recover up to 95% of the heat from the extracted air, and transfers it to the incoming fresh air.
Microgeneration at the eco lodge
In December 2011 we installed a 6kwW array of photovoltaic panels, which we’re proud to say are busily generating electricity which feeds back into the National Grid. The generated electricity is also used for powering the heat pump and for the immediate electricity needs of the lodge.
We are happy to endorse and recommend the companies we worked with to equip the lodge with the carbon saving technologies: Greener heat located in west Wales provided the ground source heat pump and So Gecko in Cardiff researched and installed the best photovoltaic panels for our coastal location.
Dealing with Waste
As unpleasant as it sounds – dealing with the ‘human’ waste created by up to 40 guests in a rural coastal location which is completely off grid in terms of sewerage was always going to be a challenge! A £14,000 investment bought us the Klargester BioDisc system, which uses a system that comprises of rotating a biomass into and out of the sewage effluent. The biomass grows due to being in contact with the natural oxygen in the air and then with the bacteria in the effluent. Essentially the Klargester is a complete sewage treatment plant, which means that we can be confident that the waste released into the environment is completely and thoroughly treated, free from solids and pollutants. We’re constantly considering our water usage, and our new bathrooms and showers have been built with water saving features as standard, including dual flush toilets and low flow showerheads.
We’ve developed a system for rainwater harvesting at the equipment stores to take advantage of our large roof area, and we can store this water and use it for the all-important job of washing and rinsing the outdoor kit after its been in the sea, and for the myriad of day to day jobs that require water which we were sourcing from the tap.
Recycling and composting
We actually do what we say and we recycle all of our paper, plastic and glass waste, and we have a compost bin which is filling up nicely with all of our fruit and veg waste and other compostable material.
Importantly we lead by example, encouraging our guests to re-cycle with the provision of recycling bins both outside in the courtyard and inside the lounge and bar.
The office “growing roof” – the office has a lovely growing roof comprising of LED a mixture of grasses, wild flowers and sedum, lovely! An important function of the roof will be to provide extra insulation for the office building, as these types of roof finishes have excellent insulating properties.
In all our bathrooms we provide our guests with ecover hand soap and shower gel, and also recycled toilet paper.
Looking to the future…
Plans in the pipeline are to have a polytunnel and grow our own vegetables and to have a herb garden to keep our chef happy and supplied with lots of wonderful fresh herbs!
We will also be developing our land behind the lodge to create lovely ‘outdoor rooms’ for people to enjoy.
Like more information?
Please do call us on 01348 837709 or contact us for more details about our eco lodge accommodation, we’d really love to have you along for a stay in Pembrokeshire soon!