Environmental Resource Classroom opens to the public

The Environmental Resource Classroom (ERC) in Ebbw Vale designed by Design Research Unit Wales has been formally opened by Jane Davidson AM and BBC Wales' Iolo Williams. The 140sqm Classroom is the first building completed on ‘The Works’ regeneration site in Ebbw Vale and the first to use Ty Unnos – ‘a house in a night’- an innovative Welsh Sitka spruce construction system.

The Ty Unnos system used in the building was developed by DRU-w and Coed Cymru as a collaborative research project to use a sustainable, low-tech and low-value method of stabilising homegrown Spruce for construction. This first prototype comprises a Ty Unnos frame with b Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) between for floor, walls, doors and roof, giving a U-value of 0.15 W/m2K. Prefabricated off-site, the superstructure was assembled in 10 days.

The building uses predominantly local materials and achieves a 60% reduction in energy use over Building Regulations. A layered construction creates a didactic demonstration of sustainability through a heavily insulated fabric, passive ventilation, rainwater drainage channel and a high efficiency air to air heat pump for additional heating and ventilation, supported by a solar hot water array.