The application is the first step in delivering a significant City Deal project in Neath Port Talbot.
“Homes as Power Stations” is being led by Neath Port Talbot Council and is one of the biggest Swansea Bay City Deal projects which could kick start a construction programme with a projected investment of over £500m when the concept is operational across the region.
A site in Neath has been chosen to demonstrate this innovative housing project – a concept where buildings can generate, store and release their own energy, helping to reduce fuel poverty and its impact on health and wellbeing.
The aim is to eventually roll out the concept across the Swansea Bay City Region area to both new housing projects and retrofitting existing homes.
If approved by Councillors, the proposed development will provide 16 new homes on the site of the former Hafod Care Home, Neath, with easy access to shops and local amenities.
There will be eight 2 and 3 bedroom homes and eight 1 bedroom apartments.
Designed to be an exemplar low cost energy positive pilot project, the aim is to show how applying innovative technology including integrated renewable technologies and energy efficient materials to the design, building and operating of such homes can reduce energy consumption and provide a healthier home environment for people.
The application has been made by the Council’s partners Pobl Group supported by SPECIFIC who developed the innovative technology here in Neath Port Talbot, putting Wales at the forefront of global renewable energy technology.
Based on Baglan Energy Park, SPECIFIC is a national Innovation and Knowledge Centre, led by Swansea University with strategic industrial partners including Tata Steel. SPECIFIC works with a wide range of partners from academia, industry and government to turn ‘buildings into power stations’ that can generate, store and release solar energy.
If approved, work on the pilot development is expected to start at the end of 2017 / early 2018.
Councillor Rob Jones, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council said:
“One of the key drivers of the Swansea Bay City Deal and an energising Valley Taskforce priority is to establish our region as a pioneer and leader in energy, health, manufacturing and creative technologies
“The “Homes as Power Stations” concept has the potential to make a huge contribution to addressing energy efficiency and fuel poverty, and in turn improve the wellbeing of the people in our communities.
“We also want to see the benefits of what is developed locally exploited locally and this project in particular would not only safeguard and create thousands of jobs in our construction industry, but develop a highly technologically advanced and skilled large scale supply chain.
“City Deals are long term plans but I am very pleased to see that our partners have worked quickly to get to this first step in delivering what is one of the biggest city deal projects.”
Elfed Roberts, Head of Projects Pobl Group said:
“Pobl is very pleased and excited to be working on this innovative housing project in Neath. The project would enable us for the first time to demonstrate the benefits that the latest technologies can bring to affordable housing developments, and to drastically reduce Fuel Poverty and Carbon emissions.
“We are aiming to achieve homes that feel homely and pleasant to live in, but that also generate most of their energy needs from the roof and wall coverings; thus dramatically reducing the bills for our tenants. The latest solar power technologies will be seamlessly integrated into the external walls and roofs of the homes, along with the latest battery technologies for storing electricity. Much of our design work is being informed by our partnership with SPECIFIC, based in nearby Baglan, who have considerable expertise in the latest building technologies.
“Ultimately Pobl wants this type of project to become the norm for both rented and owner-occupied housing. Crucially, we are aiming for a future where the manufacturing of the materials and components for these homes will be sourced locally from within the County of Neath Port Talbot and South Wales.”
Kevin Bygate, Chief Executive Officer, at SPECIFIC said:
“We are proud to have supported Pobl in the development of this landmark housing development. Not only will these houses be comfortable and affordable to run, but collectively they have the potential to reduce stress on the local electricity grid. Building thousands of houses like this removes the need to build new power stations.”