In the first of its kind in the UK, experts at Cardiff University have designed and built a low-cost smart energy house, capable of exporting more energy back to the national grid than it uses. Designed at the Welsh School of Architecture, by Professor Phil Jones and his team, the prototype home has been built as part of UK Government target scheme for zero carbon housing.

The unique ‘energy positive’ home combines renewable energy supply, energy storage capability and energy efficient products for reduced energy demand. Professor Phil Jones said about the project:

“The Welsh and UK Governments – and governments across the EU – have set targets for very low ‘nearly zero’ energy buildings by 2020, and zero carbon new housing can deliver this and more.

This is the first house in the UK that has been purposely built, using a systems approach, to be carbon positive. Now the house has been built our key task is to ensure that all of the measures that we have put in place are monitored to ensure the most energy efficient use.

We will use this information to inform future projects with the aim of ensuring that Wales remains at the heart of the development of a zero carbon housing future.

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.”

The house, which took 16 weeks to build, was constructed with high levels of thermal insulation, low carbon cement and double glazed aluminium clad timber frame windows and doors. The energy systems for the house. which consist of a combination of heating, ventilation, hot water system and electrical power system, are all powered by solar generation with battery storage.

The current economy minister, Edwina Hart AM, said of the low energy home design:

“I am delighted to see Wales leading the UK with the launch of this unique property which has the distinction of being the first building of its kind in the UK.

It is a great showcase for the technologies being developed in Wales, with the potential to be adopted and replicated in future housing developments across the UK creating wide ranging long term benefits for the economy, the environment and occupiers.”