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Green prototype for social housing

14 April 2011 No Comment

The United Welsh Housing Association has unveiled a zero carbon prototype in what could be the future of social housing.

The three bedroom property showcases the PassivHaus concept: a sustainable and efficient building that could save as much as 90 per cent in energy costs compared to conventional house builds, according to passivhaus.org.uk.


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The ‘Larch House’ is named so after its Pembrokeshire Larch cladding panels which contribute toward its sustainable credentials. It also has large south facing windows – to absorb the majority of sunlight – closed-panel timber framing, high insulation and photovolatic panels.

In line with the PassivHaus way of building; materials, products and expertise were all locally sourced.

A construction competition at the National Eisteddfod festival in 2010 lead to its creation by the Building Research Establishment Group, Blaenau Gwent Council and the Welsh Assembly Government.

United Welsh Housing Association

United Welsh head of development, Gareth Davies, spoke to edie.net about the future of low-carbon housing, calling the property “a real statement for social housing in Wales”.

Mr Davies said: “It uses cutting edge technology, the very latest in building material & techniques and some clever thinking to create a home that’s super-efficient, low cost to run and will be a pleasure to live in now and in the future.”

“It’s important that we continue to build houses that incorporate sustainable features both in the finished product and in the building process.”

“We are determined to get the balance right between incorporating greener methods of building, offering benefits to tenants through things such as lower energy bills, and providing a service that can be delivered for years to come.”

In a test to establish how much air, and consequently heat, escapes the building, the Larch house had an average reading of 0.197 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals.

According to the housing association, this reading is three times better than the minimum standard required by the Passivhaus Institute.

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