35 zero carbon homes, Pontardawe
Our design brief from Sero Homes was to provide 35 zero carbon homes with a community building that also housed a ‘community guest annex’ that would allow short term let for residents to hire for visitors.
The starting point for the site layout strategy was to place a large communal garden at the centre of the scheme. Compact terraces of houses are then arranged around the edge of the communal garden. The footprint of the houses are angled at 30 degrees from south in order to shift the peak pv production times to the beginning and the end of the day, these are the times at which the homes will typically have the highest occupancy and therefore help to sync the energy demand of the site with its energy production. This layout also creates pockets of private terrace leading on the principal living space for each home, facing onto the communal garden. There is a strong hierarchy of space to the central landscape area. The private terraces are separated from the communal garden by a low fence which maintains visual connections to the communal space. There is then a semi private swale which acts as a physical buffer zone. Beyond this is the semi public garden.
Technical design and the efficiency of the dwellings has been a driving force from the outset of the design. The buildings follow a fabric first approach and integrate Passivhaus design principles to reduce energy consumption. To service the energy demand of the house there are integrated solar panels on the roofs of the homes and each house is served by a ground source heat pump. The site wide energy strategy has driven the form, mass and appearance of the houses. Each home has a monopitch roof providing enough space for all of the solar panels the house requires. To prevent the solar panels overshadowing each other there are flat roof sections between the houses. These flat roof sections also act as Blue roofs to attenuate the rainwater run off on each plot. This is to assist the SuDS strategy as the ground has such poor rates of infiltration.
The homes also have a net zero embodied carbon primary structure. This is achieved with a Cross Laminated Timber structure which has a negative carbon footprint. This offsets the embodied energy in the concrete foundations and thermal mass. Externally we are using low embodied energy and locally sourced materials including: timber, local stone and reclaimed brick.
In addition to the zero carbon design requirement, a key driver of the scheme right from the start was the social sustainability of the proposal as well as its integration within the existing landscape and wider context. The existing site area includes: an ancient woodland, a stream designated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation as well as sensitive wetland and grass habitats. The brief required us to design a scheme that worked with and enhanced the existing biodiversity on the site. Importantly, a 10-15m buffer zone has been established to protect the ancient woodland, with opportunity to enhance the habitats within this zone.
Further details can be seen on the development wesbite https://www.parc-hadau.wales/
Client: YR HADAU LIMITED (on behalf of Sero homes) Size: 1.45 ha (developable area 0.7 ha) Stage: Ongoing