Tag Archive | low carbon

The Green House Competition Winners are revealed

Huw Lewis, Minister for Housing Regeneration and Heritage has welcomed two families to their new eco-homes in Ebbw Vale.


The lucky families won the Green House competition run by United Welsh and its partners to live rent free for 12 months whilst taking part in an environmental monitoring project.

Larch and Lime House are situated on the site of the former Steelworks ‘The Works’, which is currently undergoing an extensive regeneration programme; including the building of a new school, leisure centre, hospital and the eco-homes.  Built as prototype social housing the eco-homes have been recognised for groundbreaking innovation winning multiple national sustainability awards.  United Welsh, and partners Blaenau Gwent Council, bere:architects and Pendragon Design and Build worked collaboratively as part of the National Eisteddfod festival celebrations 2010 to build a house to showcase the ‘Passivhaus’ concept, with the support of BRE and the Welsh Government. 

Nyree and Anthony Jones and their two daughters Shannon-Lee and Demi from Cwm were selected to live in Larch House, the UK’s first zero carbon passivhaus they said; “We are so excited to have won this competition and be given that chance to live in this eco-home.  We cannot wait to have a garden where the girls can safely ride their bikes and have the space to grow as a family. We will share all that we learn about energy awareness and eco-living.”

The couple moving in to The Lime House are Chloe Thomas and her partner of six years Stuart-Carl Barnes.  The young couple have been living with their parents until now saving for their own place.  The news came just at the right time for them as they are expecting their first child in May.


Housing, Regeneration and Heritage Minister Huw Lewis said: “Many Welsh households are feeling the pinch of the economic climate and some are facing real fuel poverty, so making ends meet is as important as ever. This is a fantastic opportunity for two lucky families to experience how living in a low carbon property, developed with Welsh Government support and built using local expertise and sustainable local products, helps protect the environment while cutting down on household fuel bills.

“I wish the residents the best of happiness in their new properties and I look forward to hearing about their experiences of living in two of the most environmentally friendly homes in the UK.”

March 2012

More information on Larch and Lime House


Helsinki SB11 Day 3

This was a day where our partners to the west in Swansea, Coastal Housing Association, were represented.  Tim Taylor from UWIC is one of their two doctoral students, and is looking at new build construction techniques for low carbon apartment buildngs.  He presented his poster today.  I must also make reference to Simon Hatherly who is undertaking a PhD with Pembrokeshire Housing Association as his industrial partner; Simon presented yesterday and is looking at rural housing issues and the viability of achieving high sustainability standards in these locations.

Of course, there is also United Welsh’s doctoral student, David Holmes who is looking at ecological modeling of new developments for United Welsh.  Wales is certainly well represented at this conference.

Another heady mixture of seminars today.  Reading University have prepared a model which simplifies the issues when it comes to measuring carbon footprints for businesses.  Interesting seminar which explores all the issues that businesses need to focus on to establish their benchmark.

Tonight was a unique occasion as we managed to convince UK representatives that we should be invited to a reception at the British Embassy in Helsinki.  This turned out to be a very civilised, yet informal affair bringng the scientific community of Finland and the UK together.  Why I was allowed in, I’m not quite sure, but whatever the merits of my own intellectual credentials, I still managed to chew the cud with Professor Mikko Malaska from the University of Oulo which is about 500km north of Helsinki.  Passivhaus was the order of the day and also trying to get my head around living in the winter time in an area where only 3 hours daylight is experienced!!!  A lot of the time, I think the UK tends to regard its continental cousins as being leaps ahead across a range of issues.  However, remarkably the challenges in terms of adapting to the climate change agenda are very much the same.  End-user education, cultural changes….all topical, and lots of nodding of heads all round.  We are not alone.

Gareth Davies