Residents of a planned neighbourhood in Pontardawe, Wales will generate more green energy than they use, in one of the world’s first zero carbon towns.
Neath Port Talbot council has approved the £8 million Parc Hadau development from Sero Homes. The two-, three- and four-homes will outfitted with solar panels and energy-storage batteries, ground-source heat pumps and innovative ventilation systems, which will generate more clean electricity than the residents can use.
Residents therefore won’t pay energy bills, which across the UK averaged £1,360 per year in third quarter of 2019.
James Williams, managing director of Sero Homes, said: “The principles underpinning our vision for housing are simple — people’s homes should minimise the harm done to our planet and they shouldn’t cost the earth to run.
“Parc Hadau will be an international exemplar of what great places to live can look like, and we hope will be one of many opportunities for us to create new neighbourhoods across the UK that [give] more people access to great-quality, zero-carbon homes at a time when they are needed most,” he said.
The affordable homes will be offered by Sero Homes through long-term, index-linked leases—which will give residents security without the need for a large deposit.
“The current housing market is failing to achieve this, and Parc Hadau will bring to life, at scale, this vision for better homes for future generations,” Williams added.
The scheme will also be the first to abide by the UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) definition of net zero carbon, by keeping track of the development’s energy use and carbon emissions in real time.
Richard Twinn, policy adviser at the UKGBC, said: “Meaningful action over the next 10 years will be critical to help avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The energy used in homes accounts for around 20% of the UK’s emissions, so if we’re going to radically reduce emissions, we need all of our new homes to be net zero carbon in operation by 2030 at the latest.”
In 2010, the new coalition government scrapped a plan, initially put forward by then chancellor Gordon Brown, to ensure all new homes built after 2016 would be carbon neutral—generating as much renewable energy as they would use for heating, lighting, hot water and ventilation.
The Labour party attempted to revive that commitment in its last election manifesto, pledging that all new homes would be carbon neutral by 2022.
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