Design Competition: Search is on for Eco Excellence in homes.
The architectural design competition, which is open to any architectural practice, calls for high quality designs for a two bedroom starter home and a three bedroom family home.
Launched by the Welsh Assembly Government and Blaenau Gwent Council in association with the Building Research Establishment (BRE), the winning designs will be built at The Works:Ebbw Vale by United Welsh Housing Association.
Sustainability is at the heart of The Works, a major regeneration project which is transforming the 200 acre steelworks site into a £350 million mixed use development.
Once built the sustainable homes will serve as a showcase for energy saving building techniques and technologies and a model of how highly energy efficient homes can be built at no additional cost.
Funding for the construction of the two houses will be provided by the Assembly Government’s Heads of the Valleys strategic regeneration programme.
The buildings will form the nucleus of a new demonstration centre for sustainable development and construction at The Works where a wide range of innovative products and diverse materials will be used in a variety of showhomes and buildings.
The competition is seen a unique opportunity for the design and construction industry to create the Welsh Passive House - combining the principles of the highly efficient PassivHaus low carbon building standards, pioneered in Germany with the higher levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes in Wales (CSH).
PassivHaus homes rely on extremely high standards of insulation and require minimal energy for space heating and hot water.
The winning designs must satisfy the CSH level 5 standard - aspiring towards level 6, use local sustainable materials, find innovative solutions for electricity reductions, and construction costs - excluding land costs - should be comparable with more traditional methods of building.
Leighton Andrews Deputy Minister for Regeneration, said targets set by the Welsh Assembly Government had already placed Wales at the forefront of sustainable construction in the UK.
The design competition is an exciting challenge for architectural practices to come up with some innovative highly sustainable designs that will be examples of best practice that can be replicated elsewhere in Wales. A particularly important aspect of the competition will be to demonstrate to the construction industry that highly energy efficient homes need cost no more than standard homes to build.
The winning designs will be models for developers as well an important education resource demonstrating new techniques and technologies.
Coun Des Hillman, Leader of Blaenau Gwent Council, said:
Our partnership eco-homes competition is a great challenge - and that's what The Works is all about. We are up for the challenge of bringing the very best to Blaenau Gwent and the Heads of the Valleys.
Already, we are setting the pace in Wales for environmentally friendly and sustainable regeneration. Now, we can look forward to this exciting project for affordable eco-homes attracting more UK talent to The Works.
Nick Tune, Director BRE Wales, said the competition would provide the winning architectural practice with a superb opportunity to illustrate their creative and innovative ideas
But the most important aspect of this competition will be to demonstrate to developers that incorporating and designing high levels of energy efficiency into homes is not only affordable but need cost no more than the construction of a standard home.
Richard Mann from United Welsh welcomed their involvement in the competition.
United Welsh already has a track record of building homes with renewable energy and low carbon features which are helping to tackle fuel poverty and reducing emissions. We are particularly interested in this project because the winning designs will be capable of being replicated elsewhere.
15 June 2009
Expressions of interest need to be registered by Friday June 26 with a shortlist announced in the summer. Each shortlisted company will be awarded £6000 to develop their designs to planning application stage.
The winning designs will be built and completed by Friday July 30 2010 and opened in time for the National Eisteddfod which will be held at the Works;Ebbw Vale.
For more information contact, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01495 354669
The Works: Ebbw Vale
Extremely high standards of sustainability have been set at The Works which is being developed in partnership by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and the Welsh Assembly Government.
Plans include a biomass combined heat and power plant to provide energy for the entire 200 acre site while targets are set to reduce emissions on site by 60% more than required by building regulations.