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First low-cost energy positive house in Wales

Sector:
Construction
Cost:
Medium cost
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Resource savings: Energy:
The predicted energy performance is 70 % autonomous; for every unit of electricity used, the building is able to generate 1.75 units of electricity exports
For every € 112 (£ 100) spent on electricity used, the house should be able to generate €196 (£ 175) in electricity exports
Total cost savings:
The total estimated cost of the construction was about € 140 000 (£ 125 000) or € 1119 /m² (£ 1 000 /m²), which is within the social housing benchmark of € 895 - €1 119/m² (£ 800 - £1 000/m²) Lifetime costs are significantly lower than those of a standard building due to the low energy demand
Co2 emission reduction:
CO2 emissions of the house materials is 340 kgCO2/m2 compared to a standard house benchmark of around 500 kgCO2/m2
Premises and operation areas:
Product and design
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Advanced

Setting the example

  • SOLCER house is the first low-cost energy positive house in Wales
  • The building is a demo of existing technologies - reduced energy demand, renewable energy production, and energy storage
  • It shows the important of cooperation and employing local companies 

The first low-cost energy positive house in Wales was designed and constructed as part of the Wales Low Carbon Research institute’s SOLCER project (Smart Operation for a Low Carbon Energy Region). The SOLCER house is a three-bedroom two-storey residential building debuting a combination of reduced energy demand, renewable energy production, and energy storage.

The building combines existing technologies in an innovative way and showcases what is doable today. The energy system of the house combines solar generation and battery storage. The south-facing roof has fully integrated photovoltaic panels. This reduces the cost of bolting them to a standard roof and allows the area below the roof to be naturally lit. The north-facing roof has lithium-ion batteries for energy storage.

The building produces more energy than it uses. Reduced energy demand was achieved by using thick insulation, reducing air leakages and using an innovative energy-efficient design including structural insulated panels, transpired solar collectors and low-emitting windows and doors. Thus the CO2 emissions of the building materials are around a third lower than those of a standard house.

It was important to use local suppliers and installers during the construction project. The project and building is intended for training and to demonstrate the technologies both to local companies and internationally. These solutions can easily be replicated.

Key benefits

  • An example of successful collaboration between academia, industry, and government
  • The project demonstrated social and environmental credentials by employing local suppliers and installers
  • The building is a demonstration of what is doable today and it can be replicated
Testimonials:

We have been working over the past five years with the range of industry partners in Wales, developing low-carbon technologies for buildings. This is the accumulation of that work.” -- Phil Jones, Professor of architectural science, Welsh School of Architecture & Director low carbon research project, Cardiff University

I think what we have achieved here with the technology will become mainstream construction in a few years time and I’m very proud to be involved in that.” -- Andrew Davies, Director, SIPs Wales

Source

Fytrou-Moschopoulou, A (2015), BuildUp: SOLCER House: Wale´s first low-cost positive energy house, http://www.buildup.eu/en/practices/cases/solcer-house-wales-first-low-cost-positive-energy-house

Cardiff University (2015) SOLCER, a carbon positive house - Innovation in Sustainability Award 2015, Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kgi4S89AVgY

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