Winter is coming...
We are in a beautiful location in the middle of Wales, up to the elbows in the renovation of an old stone hall into a unique, multi-arts venue. We're almost there but winter is just around the corner and we still don't have any heating! We want to use 100% renewable energy for our building's heating and hot water, and we need your help to get it in before the weather gets really cold!
The story so far...
In 2013 we bought a building (at one point the tallest in Rhayader) which was formerly a Mill, Tannery, Cinema and most recently a Supermarket, but by this time it was a near derelict site, barely able to keep the Welsh weather at bay.
We have since gutted, repaired, extended and re-roofed, all the while keeping in mind our end goal to create a performance venue, arts centre and cafe to be a real community asset for future generations.
The arts for everyone!
We believe that the arts are an important part of our culture and should be promoted rather than side-lined; available to everyone, not just those in big cities.
Our vision for the Lost ARC is to create a space where locals and tourists alike can come to enjoy music, arts and culture otherwise unavailable or inaccessible in this part or the world in a welcoming environment, at an affordable price. Key to that vision is to have a space which is warm and inviting (a difficult proposition with no heating or hot water system!).
During our renovation we have not let the fact that we are still a building site get in the way of putting on quality live performance, albeit on a slightly less frequent basis than we would prefer! We keep our building open when we are at work, and like to offer everyone who passes a warm welcome... BUT....
Winter is coming...
It can get pretty cold in these parts, so we need to make our old building as warm and efficient as we can.
So far we've given our old stone walls an internal lining of cosy British sheep's wool, and under our screed we've installed about 3.5 kilometres of underfloor heating pipes! But at the moment we've got nothing to heat them with so it's looking set to be a hard winter at the Lost ARC!
We're environmentally conscious folk over here: We're making efforts to use eco-friendly building materials where we can and we're set on the idea of heating our building, and our hot water using renewable energy.
The best renewable option for our site is a Water Source Heat Pump, using the heat of the adjacent and wonderful River Wye (yes, we know, it's pretty cold!) via a heat exchange unit to make our building nice and toasty.
A WSHP is very efficient, offering up to 4 units of heat energy for every 1 unit of electrical input into the system. And with our bank of solar PV panels on our south facing roof, a fair bit of that electricity is coming in from the sun too!
**Scroll down to the video for a good look at the technology**
All sounds super right? But we have reached an impasse... We are rather lacking the funds we need to install this system!
This is where YOU come in...
Are you sitting down?
We're looking to raise £35,000 in total to put the system in. This will pay for the heat pump itself, the Energy Blade system to install in the river, assosciated pipework and importantly the digging and works to get from the river to our pump room.
Our target for crowd-funding has been set at £20,000, which will be added to money raised through additional streams including live events in the venue and our own capital.
Recoupable cost and payback.
Now we understand that this might seem like a steep bill for a heating system, but it's a pretty clever one, which has financial incentives as well as eco-friendly credentials.
The government, despite their seeming lack of love for green energy offer a Renewable Heat Incentive which, for a commercial premises like ours offers a relatively good payment per KwH for generating heat through a Water Source Heat Pump. These RHI payments are projected (over the 20 years for which they are guaranteed) to not only cover the £30,000 initial cost of the install, but to go further and pay us up to £70,000 in total, securing an income to help keep our project up and running in the years to come against a backdrop of cuts to arts funding across the UK.
We will be able to divert some of this income into
- Programming quality arts and music events at affordable ticket prices, making the arts more accessible for rural people, especially those unable to travel.
- Training local people of all ages and abilities to work in a theatre and service environment.
- Providing young people with arts education opportunities, both front of house and backstage.
Comparable cost of traditional heating types.
Of course, heating by traditional fossil fuels comes at a cost too, and not just environmental.
For example: We don't have mains gas to our building and to bring it here would cost at least £7,000 plus the cost of a boiler, and the gas itself for years to come, so we really think that this is the best investment for the future of our building, and our planet...
How it works.
We have no affiliation with Kensa Heat Pumps, but they have made a handy video describing how the technology works...
How A Ground [and water] Source Heat Pump Works.