The Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee launched its inquiry at the SOLCER House in Bridgend, which was designed by experts from the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University and is located on the Cenin Renewables site. SOLCER is the UK’s first low-cost energy house, capable of exporting more energy to the grid than it uses, and is therefore a good example of the types of homes Wales and other countries may need to build more of in the future.
The inquiry will examine:
- How to make existing homes in Wales as energy efficient as possible;
- Whether Wales has the right skills within the housing sector to move towards low-carbon housebuilding;
- If there are barriers to transforming house-building in Wales towards a low-carbon future;
- The role of Ofgem and the National Grid in ensuring that the grid can accommodate homes that produce energy and export it back to the network; and
- Whether building regulations need to change to meet the Welsh Government’s energy efficiency and emissions reduction targets.
Committee Chair Mike Hedges AM said: “Developing housing has real potential to help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and carbon impacts in Wales. We will be examining whether it is possible to deliver affordable, low carbon homes on a large scale – homes that produce clean energy and export it back to the grid. We will also look at the consequences of not meeting Wales’s own carbon reduction targets
“We are keen to explore any barriers to Wales building low carbon housing on a mass scale as there are tens of thousands of new homes planned for Cardiff alone. Once they are built, they are with us for the next century, so it’s vital that we design out inefficiencies before we bring in the diggers.”