Bert Electrics support urban food project in ex-air raid shelter

Watford-based electrical services company Bert Electrics has been supporting an innovative urban food project, Growing Underground, which could radically change the way food is grown and distributed around the capital.

Deep down in a dusty old World War II air raid shelter in Clapham, south London, Richard Ballard – who Darryl Bertie, Bert Electrics head honcho, has known for years – and his business partner Steven Dring are growing vegetables and herbs.           request a call back

 Growing and glowing veg underground

Growing and glowing veg underground
Growing and glowing veg underground

This underground domain covers 2.5 acres for crops that will include a range of exotic herbs and shoots, such as Pea Shoots, Rocket, Red Amaranth, Mizuna, Broccoli, Garlic Chives, Red Vein Sorrel, Mustard Leaf, Radish, Coriander and Thai Basil. Edible flowers and miniature vegetables will also be grown, and there are plans afoot to move onto heritage tomato varieties and mushrooms.

If they get funding for long-term food production Richard and Steven may have solved a huge logistical problem of getting fresh produce around the bustling metropolis with a massively reduced carbon footprint.

The tricky task of installing the lighting was carried out by Darryl and his merry band last year – no mean feat, as the growing area is some 100 feet from pavement level.

It’s a long way down, an even longer way back up

Darryl describes the subterranean scene when he started working on the project: “There’s a 35-metre drop from the top of the staircases to the tunnels which are close to Clapham North station. A few steps and the descent takes about five minutes, but it’s considerably longer getting back to ground level, it almost takes your breath away.

“When we first went down there it was quite eerie and pitch black. The only source of light was torches until I fixed a few of the existing lights, then we could at least see our hands in front of our faces.

The prototype growing bench

The prototype growing bench
The prototype growing bench

“Considering the tunnels have not been used for over sixty years it was surprisingly dry, with a few damp areas. Stalactites hung from the tunnel ceilings that made it feel like you were on the set of “Aliens”!

“The total floor area of the tunnel complex is about the size of three full-size football pitches.

“The tunnels themselves are about seven metres wide and split into two levels, which maximises the growing space as you’ve got a main floor and a mezzanine level, which are big enough to stand up in, are interconnected and seem to go on for an eternity.”

Bert and his team designed the electrics with the aspirations of the Zero Carbon Food Company very much in mind.

 Special hydroponic low energy LED light fittings

LED Light for hydroponics
LED Light for hydroponics

They ran electricity to the growing tables and fitted low-energy LED fittings specifically developed for hydroponic growing (they emit red and blue light that supports the photosynthesis process). Initially, fabric lining the tunnel floors and ceilings was repaired, then the LED lights were secured to the tables.

“We did as much electrical consultancy and practical work as we could, but as Growing Underground needed further technical assistance we recommended a plumbing and alarm company to help out,”adds Bert.

Early on they realised that they could only get half of the project set up. “Eventually a new sub-main will have to be installed by an electricity provider to enable growing in all the tunnels, which will be another huge project in itself. Once this is done we’ll be heading downstairs again.

“We feel very privileged to have worked with Growing Underground from “acorn stage” and hope to watch them grow into a huge and magnificent oak. It’s taken about six months so far and it’s not been easy or simple.”

Michel Roux Jr gives project thumbs up

Visitors in the tunnel
Visitors in the tunnel
michel roux jr
michel roux jr

“This is barely the first chapter of the project, but it demonstrates what you can achieve with a vision and a concept. We’re sure it will get bigger and better and we hope to co-write many more chapters.”

When you discover that TV chef Michel Roux Jr, who runs the two-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche restaurant, has given the project the thumbs up too, you realise the only way is up for Richard and Steven. Here’s what Mr Roux said:

“When I first met these guys I thought they were absolutely crazy. But when I visited the tunnels and sampled the delicious produce they are already growing down there I was blown away. The market for this produce is huge.”

Articles about the project have been published in local and international press. At Bert Electrics we reckon the brass bands will play and feet will start to pound if this exciting new project hits the big time and goes overground!

Want to invest in Zero Carbon Food?

An early growing underground crop
An early growing underground crop

Bert Electrics is one of 177 investors who have taken a punt on Zero Carbon Food, who are currently looking to raise £300,000.

We think it’s the food for London’s future and we reckon they’ll do it…

If you do too, put your money where your mouth is!

Just click here to support the project.

Whats growing in the tunnel

Find out more about the Zero Carbon Food project

On ITV  

On the Beebs’s website

On Radio 4   36.00min – 42.28min

In The Guardian’s Sustainable Business section

In the Daily Mail

In Time Out London

In the Western Daily Press

In Food Magazine (Australia)

In the Bristol Post

On the Mashable website (very cool…)

And you can ‘Like’ them on Facebook

Look out for more news about Growing Underground. Fingers and toes crossed that they reach their target.

For more info call 01923 369194 or we will call you back

B2B Electrician Gives Your Business A Spark

B2B Electrician Gives Your Business A Spark

When it comes to running your business in the most effective and efficient manner, you are going to need some outside help and support. This is the case with every business because there are some tasks that you just can’t carry out yourself. No matter what industry you are in or how good a service you provide to clients, there is scope for outsourcing some work to the professionals in the industry. This is extremely true when it comes to the electrical work in your office.
Dealing with electrical work can be a dangerous task and it is not something that should be carried out by people with no skills or experience. No matter the job, the impact of unprofessional or unskilled people working on electrical work can be damaging. It can be damaging to people’s health and it can be damaging to the success of your business. Many DIY electrical jobs result in the loss of power, which can harm your business? If your power goes down in the office or workplace, how long would it be before the loss of power impacted on your business.
You need a reliable Gerrards Cross electrician
This is why you need the service of a reliable and local emergency electrician and if you are in Gerrards Cross, you won’t find better than Bert Electrics. Bert has been in the electrics business since 1985, so you are guaranteed a reliable and effective electrical service. Having access to a local electrician is important when dealing with electrical emergencies but you need to find a local electrician with skills, experience and know-how. This is where Bert Electrics is the obvious choice.
Bert Electrics can provide everything you need from a domestic electrician but they can also provide the business to business (B2B) electrical service to. If you are looking for the most effective subcontractor Gerrards Cross has to offer, this is the company for you. In fact, of all the electric specialists Gerrards Cross has to offer, this is the company that offers the best value and quality of service.
When you have been in the industry for as long as Bert has been, you learn how to offer a more effective service to clients. This means providing value for money without impacting on the quality of service.
Electricians are not just for emergencies
It is important to remember that while having a local electrician is great for emergencies, it can be of benefit to hire an electrician to examine your business and property. Being proactive makes sense because this minimises the risk of issues arising at a later date. Bert Electrics can provide electrical testing and provide a domestic installer service which means that your property or place of work will be in great electrical condition at all times. While electrical faults can seemingly come out of the blue, there are usually tell-tale signs. A professional electrician will be able to spot these, which means that these issues can be rectified before they become an issue.
With a pedigree that is second to none, Bert Electrics is the electric specialists Gerrards Cross relies on. No matter the needs of your business or even any peculiarities of your business, you will find that support is available. The company is regarded as the Grade 1 and Grade 2 listed building Gerrards Cross specialist so even if your building is an old one, there is help available. Of course, Bert Electrics is also a specialist with respect to the new builds Gerrards Cross has to offer so no matter the age or condition of your building, help is at hand.
A good business will know when they need the support and assistance of outside professionals. When it comes to ensuring that the electrical supply is safe and consistent in the workplace, it is always best to seek outside help. In Gerrards Cross, Bert Electrics is the number one choice.

Call Bert Electrics on 01923 369194

Subcontractor in Gerrards Cross – Bert Electrics

Subcontractor in Gerrards Cross – Bert Electrics

Bert Electrics as a subcontractor in Gerrards Cross and surrounding area have built a brilliant reputation over the years. As a quality electrical installation contractor, Bert Electrics have the ability to take most of Contracting Service Projects, Electrical inspections, testing and ultimately, issue Electrical Safety Certificate.
Quality and safety are the integral parts of our everyday electrical service work, where we pay a particular attention to our customer’s needs offering valuable advice on the latest energy saving options and prices.
As a subcontractor in Gerrards Cross area, often, we agree to carry out our electrical work for another business, contractor or local authority. To do this, we strictly adhere and follow the rules for contractors and subcontractors under FA04/s57(2)(b)(i) – The Subcontractor definition, CISR13020 – And the Contractor rights.
With our reputation for personal and quality service, which meets the highest standards and legislations, we will deliver a great value projects, executed on time, which will very often exceed the compliance on all relevant legislations.
To maintenance companies, building contractors and local authority, we offer our diverse range of commercial and industrial electrical services.
Our subcontractor in Gerrards Cross services are:

Services Project Consultancy
Contract Maintenance
Home Automation Contracts
Building management services
Electrical inspection and testing
Electrical installation
Electrical test certificates
Electrical installation certificate
Electrical installation testing

Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
Electrical Installation Periodic Inspection Report (PIR)
Electrical Safety Certificate Fault Finding
Alarm systems installation
CCTV Installation
Fire alarm systems
Consumer Unit Upgrade
Security and Garden Lights

Our goal is to provide personal and dedicated subcontractor service in Gerrard Cross area, to fit the most demanding needs of today’s customers.
With our considerable experience as a commercial electricians working daily on the new constructions, renovations, maintenance contracts and latest electrical installations, we can only add value and provide reputable service for projects that require a complete electrical subcontractor service.
As a trusted electricians and subcontractor in Gerrards Cross area you can call us today for all your commercial and residential electrical needs:
For Bert Electrics as a Subcontractor in Gerrards Cross area CALL 01923 369194

Hydroponics In the Tunnels

Growing Underground!

Hydroponics in Tunnels
Going Underground, Hydroponics in Tunnels

My Name is Darryl Bertie and I run a successful electrical business based in Rickmansworth and surrounding areas. We have been in the Electrical industry for 30 years, so we have worked on various projects both small and large however this turned out to be a unique challenge to Bert Electrics.

Hydroponics in Tunnels
Hydroponics in Tunnels

Richard Ballard, (who happens to be a close friend of mine), contacted me with an innovative and in my opinion unique idea. He was working on zero carbon food. I asked myself what was this and when he began to explain the concept it was the growing of micro vegetables under an artificial light. His concept was to grow and produce the vegetables in London and then distribute them without the hefty transport costs, therefore giving zero carbon The challenge was to find suitable land big enough to grow vegetables in. What transpired was to use these tunnels. The tunnels are owned by the Transport for London. As far as I am aware they were built for the Northern line which was never completed. They tunnels were used as air raid shelters in World War II where they housed up to 8000 people at one time. As you can imagine the immensity of floor area the tunnels provide. There is a steady flow of air as enormous fans that run twenty four seven. When I went to have a look I was blown away, the whole scene was pretty amazing. As you reach the top of the staircases leading down to the tunnels there is a thirty five metre drop. There are a few steps and it feels quick, the descent into the tunnels takes approximately five minutes, however it takes considerably longer getting back up. There are a few puffs and pants on the way up and a couple of stops to catch our breath! When you get down there, at first it is quite eerie, you can imagine it is pitch black and almost like something out of a Jules Verne novel (Journey to the Centre of The Earth) with no windows and little or no visibility. The only source of light is from our torches until of course using my expert electrical skills I managed to fix a few of the existing lights, so we had some sort of lighting.

Hydroponics in Tunnels
Hydroponics in Tunnels
Hydroponics in Tunnels
Hydroponics in Tunnels

For somewhere that has been defunct and disused for over sixty years it really is quite cool, but surprisingly dry, with a few damp areas. There are stalactites hanging down from the ceiling which was another amazing sight and added to the whole alien effect. The actual floor area of these tunnels, I would estimate is about the size of three full size football pitches. The way to perceive it is; if you can imagine a tunnel, approximately 7 metres wide and a floor running across half of it. You can stand on the top half, or you can stand on the bottom half. The tunnels are large enough to stand up in and they are all inter-connected and go on for what seems an eternity!

Hydroponics in Tunnels
Hydroponics in Tunnels
Hydroponics in Tunnels
Hydroponics in Tunnels
Hydroponics in Tunnels
Hydroponics in Tunnels

When we started to put some design ideas together bearing in mind of what the the Zero Carbon Food Company intended to do, it soon became apparent that there was actually not enough power for the operation. With the existing electric supply they may have been able to get only half of the project set up, to make the whole lot work, they are going to have to get the Electricity Board in to put in a new sub-main so that they can bring in more electricity to get it to work, certainly a huge project in itself!
Fortunately enough, I have had the privilege of being brought on board with these guys from the very beginning. I have watched this little project grow from an idea (A little acorn) to the set up that they have now (A HUGE Oak Tree). The setting up of the project was by no means a quick, easy and simple job, however I believe anything that is worthwhile doing takes time and a lot of effort. It has taken over six months to get to the stage they are now. I did help them as much as I could with this, but they needed further instruction and collaboration from the plumbers as well as an alarm company of whom I have put them in touch with.

Hydroponics in Tunnels
Hydroponics in Tunnels
Hydroponics in Tunnels
Hydroponics in Tunnels

The work that we undertook is where all the tables are situated at the current time. The actual lining of the floors and the ceilings are of a fabric that was put up, but ultimately had to be reparied. The lights then had to be secured onto the tables. This is not the finished project and by no means does my story about it end here, it merely illustrates that with a vision and concept of what can be achieved. I know there are bigger and better things to be done, this are just the start of the journey of what is going to be a magnificent project!

Home Automation – Lutron System

Lutron Installer

Bert Electrics is a Lutron Specialist and Lutron Installer. With energy prices soaring higher every day, Lutron devices helps you control wide range of energy saving solutions. With this ingenious product you can now control lighting, temperature and number of small appliances, taking full control of your energy cost.

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Lutron Panels
Lutron Panels
Bert and Lutron
Bert and Lutron

What is Lutron system?

Lutron system is an integrated control system for small devices aimed at homes and business premises which saves energy. Apart from being able to control the range of small devices around the home, Lutron system is also compatible with the range of other manufactures to control audio-visual devices around your home.
Lutron system includes power module, which controls Eco Systems around your house like, LED lights where it lets you easily reconfigure lighting zones or with the touch of a button brings you in control of a blind, creating, sophisticated look of your space or puts you in the control of the room temperature creating up to 16% saving towards your energy bills. Each power module is capable of controlling up to 128 zones and is operated by a Lutron Home Control app.                                                                                                    request a call back

How to install Lutron systems


Lutron integrated control system should involve a skilled electrical workforce to identify the type of electrical circuits and switches, to safely remove them, re-connect and to make sure that safety aspect always stays on the high level.
As the Lutron’s full range system, offers different types of controls for lights, sound & vision, temperature, fans, curtains, sensors and timers, special care has to be taken to install all components accurately and establish adjustable control connection which will enable you to control your lights, sound & vision, temperature, fans, sensors and timers from anywhere in the house and Lutron 3

even from the outside of your home.
C-L models for dimmable CFL and LED bulbs are available with eco-dim feature which guarantees you at least 15% of energy savings. Additional advanced programming options offer customizable delayed fade-to-off feature which lets you have enough time to leave the room before lights go off.
Our expert installation of Lutron lighting control system will ensure that all energy saving features, dimming capabilities, power controls and power failure memory control units are in the perfect working order. Also, before signing off, we will explain and demonstrate all features of the Lutron control system , including programmable sound & vision features, locked and unlocked settings, fade on and fade off and time adjustments, delayed fade off adjustment and any other Lutron’s control feature.                          request a call back

We are Lutron Specialists

Bert Electrics electrical engineers are trained as Lutron installers. We will

Lutron blinds
Lutron blinds

integrate seamlessly this energy saving, wireless, home control system with your latest design home features.

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For Bert Electrics as a Lutron specialists and Lutron Installer CALL 01923 369194