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First Zero Carbon House Opens in Wales
Designers from Cardiff University have completed the UK’s first zero carbon house. The three-bedroom home on an industrial estate in Bridgend cost just £125,000 to build and took 16 weeks to construct. It should generate £175 in electricity exports for every £100 spent on power by the occupiers.
The south-facing roof has glazed photovoltaic panels, cutting the cost of bolting on standard solar panels. The combined heating, ventilation and hot water systems as well as the electrical system, which includes a heat pump, are run from batteries using solar power. The solar air system preheats the ventilation air, which is also warmed by a warm water store. Insulated render on the outside of the property reduces energy use further, with researchers estimating that it should be able to export energy to the national grid for eight months of the year.
Professor Phil Jones, whose team designed the house, believes future properties could prove even cheaper to construct. “We save money and space by making the photovoltaic panels the roof itself and by dispensing with radiators and making the air collector part of the wall,” he said. “The building demonstrates our leading-edge low-carbon supply, storage and demand technologies at a domestic scale which we hope will be replicated in other areas of Wales and the UK in the future.”
Another zero carbon house is close to completion at the Building Research Establishment in Watford.
Last week Chancellor George Osbourne announced that the government’s zero carbon homes policy, introduced in 2006, would be scrapped in order to reduce the amount of red tape house builders are subject to.