Entrance sign for Greenmeadow Community Farm
Greenmeadow Community Farm Credit: Cwmbran Life

A £1.73 MILLION ground source heat pump system will be installed at Cwmbran’s community farm to help reduce running costs. 

Greenmeadow Community Farm has been closed since the end of October 2022 and in September last year Torfaen Borough Council agreed to press ahead with a £3.7m redevelopment intended to boost visitor numbers and ensure it is commercially viable. 

It is intended the farm will reopen to the public in spring 2025 and it will feature a new cafe and play barn. 

It had been intended to replace its gas boiler on a like for like basis but the council has agreed to take advantage of a Welsh Government grant to replace gas heating/hot water systems with low carbon electrically powered alternatives. 

It has opted on heat pump technology for heating and hot water at the farm and agreed on ground source, rather than air source, due to its lower running costs of around £7,000 a year and greater efficiency. 

The 16 borehole system will cost an estimated £1.73m and will require improved insulation in existing buildings and more efficient doors and windows to ensure it is viable and improvements to the electricity supply. The cost will also cover removal of the two existing gas supplies. 

The council has been awarded £1.56m towards the cost of the system and it has agreed to provide 10 per cent funding from its own climate change reserve fund that works out at £173,418. 

A report for Councillor Sue Morgan, the Labour cabinet member for resources who has to approve the spending, said ground source heat will help support climate change targets and while running costs will be reduced they will not be significant. 

The report stated: “There is not a huge revenue cost reduction from a heat pump system compared to a conventional gas boiler, but some savings are indicated within the feasibility study.” 

It added more solar panels at the farm would allow for a further reduction in running costs by generating its own electricity supply. 

Julian Prosser, the council’s energy manager, also said the council should change from a gas system, while a grant is available, as it would eventually have to be replaced with a low carbon system. 

Other energy efficiency and carbon saving plans for the farm are under consideration as part of the redevelopment. 

It is intended installation of the new heating system is controlled by the main contractor and the tender pack has been updated. 

The report warned there is a risk the heating system could increase the construction period and this will be reviewed when tenders are returned.