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 by by Chris Amos
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At Melin, we like to get involved with innovative, cutting-edge projects. So we were pleased to see the media highlighting not just one but two examples of sustainable design that we had been involved with; Solcer House and Pentre Solar.

Combating energy poverty

Exploring Wales’ Green Future, the BBC looked at how these two projects are aiming to save cash for the 291,000 households living in fuel poverty in Wales.

Solcer House

We’ve already looked at how we provided the air tightness testing and BREEAM assessment for the ‘energy positive’ house that achieved the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard. But this is just one part of the ongoing focus in Wales to combat fuel poverty. In Wales, a household is in fuel poverty if it spends 10% or more of its income on energy costs.

The dawn of ‘solar villages’ in Wales

Back in 2013, First Minister Carwyn Jones officially opened Western Solar's prototype Ty Solar house. Since then, a ‘solar village’ containing six of these timber homes was built and officially opened in the first week of 2017.

Pentre Solar

We were proud to provide the air tightness testing and thermal bridging calculations for the properties on the site in Glanrhyd, Pembrokeshire.

Pentre Solar interior

Each property faces south so that their roof solar panels can catch the sun and produce 6000kWh a year. Since they only use 4,000 kWh a year, any leftover electricity is sold to the national grid. With an energy rating of A++, these homes could result in a considerable saving on energy bills. Tenants will even benefit from the use of a shared electric car.

Pentre Solar exterior 2

Energy-saving features include:

  • 11" of insulation
  • Using 12% of the energy of a traditional home
  • Solar Panels provide 80% of space heating
  • All timber construction
  • A mono-pitch roof (single sloping roof surface)

Western Solar now plan to build a thousand more homes like this over the next 10 years.

With regards to our input into the project, Glen Peters, CEO at Western Solar, said, "Melin are a reliable, professional firm. They turn up when they say they will and provided an efficient return of certificate, critical when managing tight timescales."

And Gareth Dauncey, Project Architect, added, "Early thermal design input from the team at Melin at the very start of the project provided invaluable support in helping us achieve the desired air tightness test results. They were a very approachable and helpful company with a great work ethic."

We’re hoping that we’ll see the dawn of many more “solar villages” in Wales.

Pentre Solar images from Western Solar

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