Welsh Government commits £250m for 20,000 low carbon social homes

Some of the social housing for rent will go beyond net zero and produce more energy than they use

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The Welsh Government has made a commitment to double its spending on new low carbon homes, with an initial investment of £250 million until 2022.

The funding will support the development of 20,000 new green social housing for rent, built to “bold new quality and environmental standards” with the aim for some of them to go beyond net zero and produce more energy than they use.

Climate Change Minister Julie James visiting one of Wales’ first “positive energy” social housing schemes last week – one out of 14 home developments that has made use of the latest innovations in renewable energy, from exhaust air heat pumps integrated with mechanical ventilation to large solar roof array coupled with a Tesla battery system.

The residents who moved into the homes in January 2020 received their first negative energy bill in March, which means the excess energy generated by their homes has been pumped back into the grid.

Allyn King, his wife Anne-Marie and their three children aged between 10 and 17, moved into their new four-bed house at Rhiw Cefn Glwad in January 2021.

Mr King said: “The house is amazing. In our old house we were spending around £250 on electricity and gas for heating, washing and drying. Now we are paying £19.33 a month direct debit on our electricity. We have built up more than £250 in credit during the summer which will be really helpful going into the winter.

“The battery is fantastic, it stores the electricity from the roof for when we need it. I also have an app on my phone so that I can control the heating and hot water when I am away from home to save even more energy.

“The extra money we are saving in our household has allowed us to spend more on healthy, fresh food and save for our children’s school uniforms and special occasions.”

A further announcement on the plans is expected later this month.

Ms James added: “We have doubled our money, committing a quarter of a billion pounds this financial year so we can get on and build 20,000 new low carbon homes for rent. This goes beyond Welsh housing need estimates.

“We are building at scale to address the supply and demand imbalance, homelessness, the growing second homes crisis and the climate emergency. We are building high quality homes to make a difference to people’s quality of living. And we are ensuring the decisions we make today are the right ones for our future generations.”

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