At the Coed Darcy development in Swansea, Coastal Housing Group is bringing the Active Building design principle together with steel-framed modular construction for the first time.
The result is two off-gas properties that will provide residents with warm, energy efficient homes that have lower carbon emissions and lower running costs.
The modules are supplied by Dutch sustainable modular construction firm Jan Snel, which recently established its first UK office in Swansea and is developing plans for a factory in the area. The UK team has been hugely impressed by the ambition and welcome from Wales.
SPECIFIC has supported the design of the low carbon energy systems for the buildings and is proud to have played a role in bringing these two innovative organisations together.
This collaborative approach between the Welsh Government, Swansea University and the housing supply chain in Wales could help to increase pace and scale of deployment of zero carbon modular homes.
Low carbon energy design
The buildings follow the Active Building ideology pioneered by SPECIFIC, combining energy efficient design with renewable energy generation and storage and intelligent control.
The properties have solar generation, batteries and electric vehicle charging, specified by Coastal Housing and Jan Snel.
Heating is provided by an infra-red heating panel solution, which is well suited to modular construction. This provides comfort and a faster heating response, with energy consumption up to 15% lower than conventional heating systems, and minimal servicing and maintenance requirements.
An intelligent control and monitoring system allows the properties to maximise use of renewable generated electricity and minimise reliance on the grid.
Steel-framed modular construction
Modular construction (in which modules are made in the factory and transported to site for assembly) has a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional housebuilding. It can also deliver homes in volume quickly and efficiently.
Jan Snel’s steel-framed product is good news for this region of Wales, where the steel industry is a huge economic driver. The decision to locate their UK office in Swansea reflects the region’s strengths, with access to the core materials, supply chains and research and development expertise.
Renewable energy and steel-framed modular construction provides hope
The combination of steel-framed modular construction and low carbon energy installation delivers a design that is zero-carbon-ready, meeting the proposed Future Homes Standard for 2025 and changes to Part L and F of the Welsh Building Regulations.
It promises much for speedy delivery of the UK’s ambitious targets for affordable, sustainable housing, and Jan Snel brings both the experience and credibility to deliver.
The homes demonstrate how re-thinking the design of homes will provide more sustainable options for residents, for the planet and for local economies.