Smart homes that make working from home easier and greener

Posted by Derek Mason

31st January 2023

Photo credit: James Yarema on Unsplash

To hit carbon emission targets, we know we need to start building homes that make it easy for people to live greener lifestyles. One project that recognises this is a housing development in Conwy, North Wales.

The Maes y Felin scheme takes into account that as well as making properties energy efficient, we also need to think about setting people up to be able to work from home. By making fewer journeys, people are reducing their carbon footprints.

These high-tech homes will be both energy efficient and equipped with high-speed broadband, meaning residents will be easily able to work from home.

It will be interesting to see the energy-efficiency measures used in the development. With the costs of energy increasing, efficiency is important, but there are challenges involved. Homes need to breathe, so you can increase insulation up to a point, but you’ll still need some ventilation. And if you use mechanical ventilation, then that increases energy usage. So, there can be conflicting requirements.

It’s not only the homes themselves that will be “smart”. The entire project has been designed to be energy efficient, with 95 percent of the people working on the project coming in from within a 20-mile radius of the Glan Conwy site. Main contractor, Brenig Construction has committed to training apprentices and using suppliers from the area. The goal is to ensure the project benefits local people both during and after construction.

The developer, Calon Homes, is a subsidiary of housing association Cartrefi Conwy (Conwy Homes) and community interest company Creating Enterprise.

Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden has shared that “there is a shortage of housing in North Wales, particularly affordable housing, and we believe that this is an innovative solution to that problem. It means we can use the revenues from the profits on this scheme to create more homes that local people can afford, not just in Conwy, but across North Wales”.

Within this development of 107 two, three and four-bedroom properties, 33 of them will be affordable family homes. This is a positive step, but we are still not building affordable properties at a fast enough rate in the UK. We need to see many more of these developments, with a higher ratio of affordable family homes.

Meanwhile, from our base in Twickenham, the team and I are working on a wide variety of projects for our clients. If you need assistance with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.

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