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Grangetown nursery sources heat from the ground up

Headteacher of Grangetown Nursery

Jan Comrie, headteacher of Grangetown Nursery

A NURSERY is heating its building in an unusual way by sourcing renewable energy.

Grangetown Nursery School, on Avondale Road, is keeping the building warm by pumping water from the reservoir in the sand and gravel under the city.

The school is using ground source heat pumps that are attached to pipes buried in the ground. The fluid is taken from the soil, travels through the pipes and is warmed by an exchanger.

The nursery is able to do this because the groundwater below Cardiff is easy to access. It is around three to four metres below the surface and the temperature is normally 14C.

The council approved the plan in September and implemented it last month. The test-run will last a year and if it works, they will expand the project across the city.

Grangetown Councillor Lynda Thorne said: “We approved the idea of heating the building with renewable energy. It’s the first one in Cardiff and it’s a test run, if it works then we can not only expand it to the rest of the city but also to nearby buildings.

“If this does work we believe it will have amazing benefits as we hope this will help reduce heating bills and make us as a city much greener, which is something that Grangetown has always been a big supporter of.”

The nursery teamed up with Cardiff Harbour Authority, the British Geological Survey and WDS Energy Limited to install the system.

Energy Catalyst Innovate UK donated money to the project because they support different schemes in priority areas.

The pump is estimated to have cost between £11,000 and £15,000 to install, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

The new pump that will heat the building.

The new pump that is heating the building.

Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability, Councillor Ramesh Patel said: “I am delighted that Grangetown Nursery School is keeping the children warm this winter thanks to such an innovative and environmentally friendly system.

“I am extremely proud of our Green Energy projects across the city. Schemes such as this underground heat capture system and our hydroelectric development at Radyr Weir ensure that the council is in the vanguard of the UK battle against reliance on conventional fossil fuels.”

The headteacher of Grangetown Nursery School, Jan Comrie, said: “We certainly haven’t lost heat as a result of adopting the heat pump system. In fact, it’s quite the opposite as the school is so cosy.

“We were delighted to take part in this project as it builds on the work we’ve already done as a school. We’re the only nursery school in Wales to have received a Platinum Award from Eco-Schools Wales.

“Our attitude is that if organisations don’t try new eco-technologies we’ll never know if they work or not. We signed up for the scheme because as a school it’s important to us that we contribute to the development of these technologies.”