Green energy at Bodnant Garden

Solar panel installation at Bodnant in Wales win energy award

As a Grade I listed garden with 80 acres of formal beds, borders, woodland and meadow, Bodnant is already pretty green. But by using renewable energy we’re doing our bit to make the way we operate more efficient and sustainable for the future.

Our biggest project so far has been solar-powering our tearoom with a national award-winning installation in the car park - mistaken by some visitors as a piece of modern art. Designed by Carbon Zero, the 175 photo-voltaic panels laid on the hillside generate enough electricity to power the Pavilion cafe and two electric vehicle charging points in the car park. They even recharge gardeners’ battery power tools.

We’re installing a smaller solar scheme to power the refreshment kiosk at the Far End of the garden. Our Kingfisher Cabin is currently powered by a generator which is noisy and expensive to run. Carbon Zero have come up with a system which will provide all our electricity needs at the cabin from Easter to October. So from Spring 2017 the Kingfisher Cabin with be completely powered by the sun  – heating your tea, cooling your water and freezing your ice cream.

Air source heat pump

In another initiative, we’re installing an air source heat pump in the car park toilets to provide hot water for hand washing. The power to drive this, and to run the background room heating is being provided by the photo-voltaic panels in the over flow car park. Air source heating is highly efficient and work effectively all year round. It will reduce our carbon emissions…and another fossil-fired heating system will disappear from the National Trust.

In the garden we’ve switched to many battery operated power tools – they’re lighter and cleaner for our gardeners to use and quieter for visitors, as well as being better for the environment. We’ve even invested in a battery powered robot mower. The Stihl iMow is programmed to cut the rolling North Garden lawn automatically, freeing up gardeners for the trickier cutting jobs.

Our green mission

National Trust has a mission to reduce use of fossil fuels at its properties and places across the UK to half by 2020. This will cut down on carbon emissions and save an estimated £4million on energy bills to plough back into conservation work.

At Bodnant Garden every penny saved by using renewable energy goes back into conservation work. It helps fund garden renovation, like the recently opened Furnace Wood and Meadow, and current architectural projects such as replacing the crumbling Croquet Terrace Fountain, repairing the Pin Mill upper floor and conserving the sculptural interior of the Poem mausoleum.

Bodnant's head gardener John Rippin using a battery powered leaf blower
Bodnant's head gardener John Rippin using a battery powered leaf blower