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Work starts work on landmark eco-friendly council housing scheme

Brenig Construction are to build 22 new homes for Denbighshire Housing at Tan y Sgubor, Denbigh, pictured at the site are, from left, Andrew Bowden, Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Officer; Mike O’Toole, Brenig Construction Site Manager; Howard Vaughan, Brenig Group Managing Director; Bleddyn Jones, Brenig Construction Managing Director; and Mark Dixon, Housing Development Manager, Denbighshire County Council. Picture by Mandy Jones Photography

North Wales builder Brenig Construction have started work on a landmark eco-friendly council housing scheme.

The Mochdre-based contractor are putting shovels in the ground on a 12-month contract for the first new council homes to be designed and built for Denbighshire in 30 years.

They will build 18 two-bedroom and four four-bedroom semi-detached houses for social rent on land above Tan y Sgubor, Denbigh, for Denbighshire County Council.

The low-carbon homes, which will be built and certified to the energy-efficient Passivhaus standard, are part of the Council’s target to provide 170 more council houses by 2022.

Brenig Construction will erect the frames and walls for the new houses which will be made off-site in North Wales by Creating Enterprise, a subsidiary of Cartrefi Conwy, using the Beattie Passive Build system.

Howard Vaughan, Brenig Construction joint managing director, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in the Denbigh Passivhaus project with Denbighshire County Council in a historic move by them to get back into house-building.

“We are particularly excited by the fact that this is a Passivhaus scheme as this is definitely the housing of the future.

“Society needs to address the climate change issue and an important step in this direction is to minimise energy use and make the homes of the future greener, cheaper and healthier.

“They use sophisticated insulation and advanced building techniques and materials to cut carbon use and can reduce energy bills to a third or less in homes that are modern, comfortable and pleasant to live in.

“What’s also important is that we as a North Wales-based firm have a locally-based workforce with the expertise and know-how to build homes like this.”

The Welsh Government has provided funding through its Innovative Housing Programme to enable the Council and Creating Enterprise to work together on this new way of building homes.

The houses will have solar panels on the roofs and will use pumps to transfer natural heat from under the ground to keep them warm so they won’t need a gas supply.

Councillor Tony Thomas, Denbighshire’s lead member for Housing and Communities, said: “The Council is delighted that work is starting on these new council homes, the first to be designed and built for the county in 30 years, and we are pleased to be working with our partners on this project.

“Ensuring there is housing available to meet the needs of Denbighshire residents is a priority under our Corporate Plan.

“These homes will help meet the housing needs of residents by providing quality homes that are affordable as well as offering the highest levels of insulation to reduce energy consumption and energy efficiency to minimise carbon emissions and reduce household bills.”

Passvihaus is an advanced low-energy construction system which uses high performance insulation and seals to make buildings draught free, minimising heat loss to create a building with very low environmental impact.

Most heating comes from ‘passive’ sources such as sunlight, emitted heat from electrical appliances, and even body heat, vastly reducing the need for traditional heating.

Creating Enterprise Managing Director Adrian Johnson said: “We are proud to be key partners on this fantastic new development.

“As well as building these innovative, low carbon homes, the simplicity of the build system offers work opportunities to those furthest from the job market.

“As part of our social purpose, we offer trainees the chance to learn new skills whilst working alongside qualified trades in new methods of construction enabling them to better themselves and their future prospects.”

Ron Beattie, Managing Director of Beattie Passive, said: “We are excited to be working with Denbighshire Housing with our partners, Creating Enterprise to deliver Beattie Passive homes.

“The high quality, high performance houses will be Passivhaus certified, delivering high levels of energy efficiency and comfort for the residents.”