This submission describes two core projects, with shared ideology and purpose – using home-grown Welsh timber to deliver high quality, energy efficient, low carbon social housing at scale in Wales. The project has delivered:
- Reduced carbon impact of construction through the increased use of timber and local manufacturing and forestry supply chains,
- Increased efficiency delivering high quality, low energy MMC based affordable homes at scale and pace whilst addressing performance and local skills and knowledge gaps.
- Enhanced circular economic growth through creation of sustainable green jobs in forestry, timber processing and MMC manufacturing and construction.
Together the projects tell a story of how, through collaboration, intelligent design and use of homegrown timber, Wales is able deliver high quality, energy efficient social housing, and create a sustainable Welsh wood economy. The projects have approached this shared vision in different ways:
- The Home-Grown Homes Project (HGH) has approached it through applied research, monitoring the design and delivery of nine social housing schemes across Wales, delivering 507 houses, and working with the Welsh timber supply chain simultaneously to address its inherent problems. This has resulted in the use of 5000m3 of timber and the publication of 18 primary outputs including;
- Specification guidance for products such as timber windows and woodfibre insulation,
- Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) and Embodied Carbon Analysis guidance for clients,
- The economic case for planting trees, and policy documentation to assist WG in laying the foundations of a Welsh wood economy developing green industry and jobs.
- A key output is the design of a net-zero carbon housing solution, now taken forward as a WG led project linking social landlords with the supply chain to develop timber-based solutions to meet their requirements at scale.
- The construction of 6 homes at Tre Ifan for Isle of Anglesey County Council is the product of an experienced design team with a shared vision to deliver high quality, energy efficient, MMC social housing using Welsh timber. Building on work undertaken over the last decade by the project team developing innovative construction solutions using home-grown timber, the project advanced the development and delivery of offsite fabricated modular housing. Constructed using timber sourced a maximum of 50 miles from site, the project is considered to be the first Welsh timber volumetric solution for affordable housing.
- The innovative use of a box section frame developed and manufactured by Kenton Jones produced a robust structural system without reliance on steel, in combination with natural insulations, vapour open wall construction and airtight systems.
- The resultant solution reduces construction related waste, carbon emissions and energy in use whilst offering exceptional construction speed with the homes water and weather tight, secure, and ready for final finishes within 24 hours of leaving the factory.
Overall, these projects highlight the carbon reduction potential that can be achieved through the use of timber, including home-grown, and offsite timber construction solutions for social housing. The project also demonstrates the creativity that can be achieved through collaboration across supply chains and specialisms.