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Sustainable barn conversion in Snowdonia


The property consists of three barns  in a spectacular location in Snowdonia National Park. The buildings are in various states of disrepair, consisting of a newer building with some remaining but with no roof remaining on the others. Graffiti dates the newer building to 1902 or earlier. The other building appears to be older as suggested by its slates which are poorer in quality with a rounded end to the top and were held in place with a single  oak peg.


The renovated building including a link between the barns will comprise two bedrooms, bathroom, toilet, dining room, kitchen - about 110m2 in total. It will be energy efficient, utilizing environmentally friendly local materials and materials with low embodied energy as much as possible. The site is "off-grid" and all electricity will be generated on-site, with water being provided by a well.


Design details that will be incorporated include:

  • Repointing and stabilising of walls with lime mortar

  • Varying thicknesses of Hempcrete will be used for insulation of the rubble-stone walls

  • Limecrete or hempcrete floor

  • Triple glazing throughout

  • Solar slates & Proven wind turbine for electricity generation

  • Solar thermal

  • Thermal store

  • Air ground heat exchanger

  • All LED lighting and low energy appliances

  • Lindab steel gutters and downpipes

  • Rainwater recycling

  • Well for drinking water

  • Biodigester for sewage processing (but also investigating possibility of installing reedbed)


One of the unique features will be that all energy/heat sources (solar PV, solar thermal, wind turbine, wood stove, wood range) will heat a thermal store which will in turn will be used to provide hot water to the underfloor heating system, although the primary role for the solar PV and wind turbine will be to keep the batteries topped up which will power all electrical appliances for up to 5 days without any wind or sun input. The other unique feature is the use of Hempcrete for internal wall insulation.


Planning permission took three years of tricky navigation from purchasing the property (due to its location in Snowdonia National Park).



Maes y Llech - Proposal