Is this Scottish village hall the greenest in the UK?

The ageing heating system at the Crawfordjohn Village Hall in South Lanarkshire has been replaced with a state-of-the-art renewable solution.

Heating system at Crawfordjohn Hall in South Lanarkshire upgraded with solar panels and Tesla batteries Banks Renewables

A Scottish village hall is bidding to be one of the most sustainable in the UK after installing 111 solar panels and four Tesla Powerwall batteries.

The ageing heating system at the Crawfordjohn Village Hall in South Lanarkshire has been replaced with a state-of-the-art renewable solution.

It is expected to generate enough electricity to slash running costs by an estimated 80% with any surplus energy going back into the grid and providing an additional income stream.

It means the venue will be able to stay warm when it hosts a whole variety of events while remain economically and ecologically friendly.

Four Tesla Powerwall batteries have been installed in the hall.iStock

The transformation has been made possible by a £166,000 grant, which has come from South Lanarkshire Council using funding from three nearby wind farms.

“We are still struggling to get the hall back to being used as it was pre-pandemic,” said Liz Steele, vice chair of the Crawfordjohn Hall Association.

“We’re hoping that with the boost to lower energy bills, it will enable us to increase the number of events at the hall so we can continue to offer the space as an important community facility.

“To have received such a huge grant has made this possible. Not only will the hall save money and continue to host events, it will also be part of a much more sustainable future.”

Crawfordjohn Village Hall was opened as a new facility in 2000 and hosts everything from social functions, concerts, exhibitions and even dog shows.

It is run by 12 volunteer committee members and has a large and small function room, a fully equipped kitchen and bar.

The £124,694 of funding came from the REF fund for Banks Renewable’s Middle Muir wind farm located in Crawfordjohn managed by South Lanarkshire Council, while £20,782 came from the Clyde Wind Farm with a further £20,782 from Clyde Extension.

Gareth Shields, community investment manager for Clyde Wind Farm, said it was an “excellent scheme”, which demonstrates small rural communities can play a part in achieving net zero.

Chair of the council’s Community and Enterprise Resources Committee, councillor Robert Brown, said the installation of photo voltaic cells and battery storage at Crawfordjohn Hall was part of the overall journey the council is making to reach net zero emissions.

The renewable energy fund comes from renewable developments across South Lanarkshire which helps communities within 10km of participating windfarms.

Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager at Banks Renewables said: “This is not your typical solar array – with rising fuel costs this will turn a community facility into something that can run sustainably and enable communities themselves to make the transition to renewable energy.

“it’s vitally important to us that communities are able to benefit from the wind farms they live close to and it’s even better if it helps them on their own journey to securing affordable and clean energy. We think this is a fantastic example for others to follow.”

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