Hi-tech homes for the future scheme bags top UK accolade

A highly-innovative Cardiff housing development that is creating tomorrow’s homes today has scooped a prestigious national award for its sustainability, climate resilience and low carbon footprint.

At the annual RESI Residential Property awards atGrosvenor House, London, Cardiff Council and its Cardiff Living scheme development partner, Wates Residential were awarded thetop spot in theClimate Crisis Initiative – Residential category.

Aspen Grove in Rumney is a ground-breaking scheme currently being developed on the former site of Eastern High school that has been awarded £4.1m of Welsh Government Innovative Housing Programme (IHP) funding.

The Council and Wates Residential are working withCardiff-based sustainable energy services company, Sero, to incorporate low carbon technologies into the developmentand Monmouthshire Building Society who are providing a ‘green mortgage’ product for home buyers.

A total of 214 homes – a mix of private sale properties and affordable homes to rent from the council are on their way to the east of the city, as part of the overall Cardiff Living programme to build 1,500 new homes.

The siteis the first within our programme to target a Net Zero Carbon Ready Standard at scale and plays a significant part in the Council’s One Planet Cardiff strategy to be a carbon neutral city by 2030, its Fuel Poverty strategy and Wates’ ongoing approach to low carbon/energy development.

The site will include 65 new council homes, 44 of which will be Community Living apartments for older people while 149 properties will be for sale on the open market. Both council and sale housing will be built to the same energy performance standards focused on a fabric first approach and incorporating ground source heat pumps, thermal storage, PV panels, battery storage electric vehicle charging points and Intelligent Energy System controls.

And with the current energy price hikes, the introduction of this new technology will help reduce the impact of the energy market on households by enabling them to be less reliant on the national grid.


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A council spokesperson said: “The Council is over the moon to have won this esteemed award, with our partners Wates Residential and supported by Welsh Government. It shows that we are really leading the way in the development of low carbon, energy efficient homes –  taking the term ‘eco-friendly to the next level.

“Aspen Grove is the largest scheme in the second phase our Cardiff Living programme which is delivering much-needed new homes for the city to meet high demand, not only in the social sector but the private market too.

“The homes have been designed to the Cardiff Living Design Standard – our own high benchmark which focuses on carbon reduction, energy efficiency and design quality at its heart as we aim to build new homes for the future that promote place-making and sustainable communities.

“The Council has set out its response to the climate emergency with a range of ambitious actions to become carbon neutrality by 2030.  Innovative schemes such as Aspen Grove, and the standard it sets for the rest of our house-building plans over the coming years, will play an important role in how we achieve that goal.”

Edward Rees, Regional Director at Wates Residential, said: “This national award, in recognition of our transformative climate-focused scheme at Eastern High/Aspen Grove, highlights how Wates Residential is working collaboratively with Cardiff Council to find better and more innovative ways to reduce waste, reduce energy consumption and enhance the natural environment. This development is one of many in the city, where we are also using modular and Passivhaus technologies to build 1,500 new homes in support of the Council’s journey to being a carbon neutral city by 2030.”

Andy Sutton, Sero’s Chief Innovation Officer said: “Sero is delighted that its work with Cardiff Council and Wates Residential at Aspen Grove has been recognised and showcased at a national level. With our input from detailed design through to home operation, these homes will become Net Zero Carbon without any future retrofit measures required to help address the Climate Emergency. In the short term, these already very low carbon homes combined with our simply controlled home optimisation ensure that the new residents are as protected as possible from the current energy price crisis.”

Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said: “Congratulations to Cardiff Council and Wates Residential on winning this prestigious award.

“The Aspen Grove development showcases exactly the type of low carbon, sustainable homes we need to build in Wales to make a real difference to people’s quality of living and, importantly, tackle the climate emergency.

“At a time when costs are rising, the innovative, energy efficient measures included in both the social rented and market homes on the development will really make a difference to residents’ fuel bills.”

Work on the Aspen Grove site, which is also home to the On-site Construction Academy, South East Wales providing on-site training and experience for apprentices, is progressing well and expected to complete by the end of 2023.

Following success at the RESI awards, the Cardiff Living partners are now looking forward to the Constructing Excellence Wales awards at the Celtic Manor Resort next month where Aspen Grove has been shortlisted in the  Best Net Zero Carbon project  category and other Cardiff Living schemes, Crofts Street and Silvervale Park have been shortlisted for Best MMC (Modern Methods of Construction)/Modular project and Best residential project of the year, respectively.