To address the climate crisis and rising demand for housing, the Welsh government has doubled its spending on social housing for rent, committing an initial £250m in the coming year for 20,000 new low carbon homes.
All the new homes will be built to high environmental standards, with the ambition for some of the stock to go beyond net zero and produce more energy than it uses.
The minister for climate change, Julie James, visited the Wales & West Housing’s Rhiw Cefn Gwlad scheme in Bridgend today, one of Wales’ first ‘positive energy’ social housing schemes, which uses renewable energy technologies to generate more electricity than the houses need, pumping energy back into the national grid.
The minister said: ‘Hearing how much Cai, Allyn and other residents have been saving on their household bills today, and the difference their new, high-quality home has made to their wellbeing, reinforces my confidence that our ambitious housing plan is going to make a real difference to the people of Wales.
‘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.’
Cai Phillips, who lives in one of the houses at the Bridgend development with his partner and daughter, said: ‘The systems built into the house are really easy to use. The house is so well insulated that the temperature hardly drops below 20 degrees. Even on some of the coldest days in winter we didn’t need to put the heating on.
‘I can control the heating from an app on my phone and I have learnt how to save energy by using the battery to self-power the house. We are paying just £20 a month for our electric bills and are in credit on our bills, which is amazing. The house is perfect.’
In related news, the Welsh Building Safety Fund will be used to conduct fire safety surveys of high-rise buildings to ensure safety for residents, according to a Welsh government announcement.
Photo supplied by the Welsh government