‘World’s first’ net zero neighbourhood to be built in Wales

17 January 2020

The UK’s first housing scheme to meet net-zero carbon emission standards has finally secured planning consent and will be built at the Parc Hadau estate, Pontardawe in Wales.

The innovative £8m Parc Hadau scheme from developers, Sero Homes, will be built on existing scrubland next to an existing community and comprises 35 homes including 11 two-bed homes, 22 three-bed homes and two four-bed homes.

The UK’s framework for defining ‘net zero’ carbon buildings was devised by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and has two definitions — one for in-use operational energy and one for emissions from the construction process — which the UKGBC says should be adopted by any organisation involved in the built environment that is serious about climate change mitigation.

Sero Homes’ Managing Director, James Williams, 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. 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.”

The new homes will use very low energy building design to reduce the energy demands of the homes and their residents. This will be combined with a mix of renewable energy technologies, including thermal and electrical storage, significant on-site photovoltaic (solar) panels and ground source heat pumps, together with ventilation systems designed to keep the warmth inside whilst ensuring fresh, filtered air.

Real-time ‘in-use’ carbon emissions will be tracked when the homes are running and sister company Sero Energy will continuously track carbon emissions from the National Grid to ensure any imported electricity’s emissions are more than balanced by those avoided from electricity generated on the site and exported from the homes.

Parc Hadau will be the first UK scheme to go to the full extent of the UKGBC’s framework. Richard Twinn, Senior Policy Advisor at the UKGBC, said: “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. Forward-thinking projects such as Sero’s Parc Hadau will help to lead the way so that we can turn net zero into business as usual by 2030.”

 Further information about UKGBC’s framework for Net Zero Carbon Buildings is available here.