The decision is inspired by the success of Rhiw Cefn Gwlad, a neighbourhood of 14 all-electric homes that had their first negative energy bill within three months of being built.
That means the homes produced more energy than they used.
Julie James, Wales’ minister for climate change, visited the neighbourhood on 4 August. She called the development “an exemplar” for others to follow. She added that her visit only reinforced her confidence that pushing for more “power positive” properties in Wales is the thing to do.
“We are building at scale to address the supply and demand imbalance, homelessness, the growing second homes crisis, and the climate emergency,” James said. “We are building high-quality homes to make a difference to people’s quality of living. And we are ensuring the decisions we make today are the right ones for our future generations.”
The Rhiw Cefn Gwlad houses each have an A-rated energy performance, due to several factors:
- Roofs are made from panels of photovoltaic cells that turn daylight into electricity, which helps power the house
- A combined air source heat pump and ventilation system provides heating and hot water
- Cupboards have Tesla batteries and store the energy from the PV cells on the roof
- Walls are made from Structured Insulated Panels and have higher levels of heat retention
- Residents can use a wall-mounted screen to track energy use
- Equipment is able to be remotely monitored and adjusted so that residents can quickly handle any issues
The houses were built with £2.4m in Welsh government funding and £1.4m from the Wales & West Housing Association. They were constructed by Jehu Group, completing in January 2021.