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Renewable Energy for Welsh care home


Ty Penrhos, one of Hafod Care's newer care homes in Caerphilly, which specialises in dementia care, benefits from two forms of renewable energy supplied by Baxi Commercial. The mini-CHP unit from Baxi-SenerTec UK generates electricity whilst also producing useful heat, and a solar water heating system from Andrews Water Heaters is used to pre-heat domestic hot water generation. Ty Penrhos is a three storey purpose-built care home providing accommodation for 75 residents with high care dependency and, as such, the building has a particularly high demand for both heat and power 24/7. The accommodation comprises six ten bed care units for elderly residents with en suite bedrooms and lounge/dining areas as well as a separate, dedicated respite care centre for younger users.

The building services were designed by McCann & Partners in accordance with Hafod Care's requirement for the use of renewable energy systems and the equipment supplied by Baxi Commercial was deemed the most appropriate system. Both Baxi-SenerTec Dachs gas-fired mini-CHP units act as lead boilers for the space heating system and each has an electrical output of 5.5kW and a minimum heat output of 12.5kW.

Using an optional condenser, the Dachs unit is capable of producing up to 15.5kW of heat. In installations where heat demand is unreliable, use of a buffer vessel can keep the unit running and maintain the electricity supply whilst avoiding wear and tear on the engine due to unnecessary shut-downs. This ensures maximum operational hours for the Dachs system which, in turn, means maximum power generation and savings for the care home.

In the first year of operation, the Dachs system installed in the Ty Penrhos Care Home had run for 3,544 hours generating approximately 49,000kW of heat and 19,400kW of electricity. Heat generated by the Dachs system also contributes indirectly to the production of domestic hot water via the space heating system which supplies a secondary coil in the solar heating cylinder. This, in turn, supplies pre-heated water to two conventional 1800 litre hot water cylinders, supplying domestic hot water to showers, wash hand basins, kitchens and laundry.

The equipment was installed by Newport based contractors Whitehead Building Services Ltd. Four evacuated tube solar collectors are installed on the pitched roof of the care home, supplying heat to a 450 litre twin coil cylinder which features a non-corrosive duplex stainless steel water chamber with destratification and anti-legionella functionality as standard. This cylinder and the remainder of the system are installed in the rooftop plant room along with the Dachs units and the remainder of the heating and domestic hot water equipment. SOLARflo evacuated tube collectors are ideal for larger commercial water heating applications as they have a higher annual, average thermal efficiency than glazed flat plate collectors and, operating at lower ambient temperatures, they are capable of providing a higher annual percentage of domestic hot water. A further advantage of evacuated tubes is their ability to be rotated in situ in order to maximise solar irradiation.

In addition to the solar collectors and cylinder, the complete SOLARflo package includes solar controls, pump station, expansion vessels, first fill of heat transfer fluid and collector mounting accessories. SOLARflo evacuated tubes are Solar Key Mark Approved and, in common with the glazed flat plate collectors and stainless steel unvented cylinders in the range, carry a 10 year guarantee.

Hafod Care is a charitable Housing Association that provides a wide range of housing and support services to over 1000 people each year across South and West Wales. The Association provides care and support services to vulnerable people with a variety of needs.

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