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Cardiff award for being ‘trailblazers in their field’

11 April 2022

The Low Carbon Built Environment Team (LCBE) has won the Environment Champion award at this year’s St David awards.

The group, based at the Welsh School of Architecture, was recognised for its work helping to significantly reduce carbon emissions in housing whilst improving conditions and reducing energy bills.

Working closely with Welsh Government, local government and other stakeholders, the LCBE team has shown that it is possible to combine market available solutions to reduce energy use and emissions whilst improving the built environment and stimulating the economy.

Examples of the team’s work include the design and construction of the affordable, energy-positive SOLCER house, which inspired a £10 million government grant scheme to build new affordable, low carbon housing across Wales.

Overall, this programme has since provided £91 million in funding towards 50 projects involving the construction of approximately 1,400 homes across Wales, many of which have drawn directly on innovations and principles developed at the SOLCER house.

The LCBE Team also provided vital data for a Welsh Government report on how to decarbonise existing housing more efficiently.

This work influenced the Optimised Retrofit Programme (ORP) where low carbon measures are being installed in up to 1,700 homes, including heat pumps, intelligent energy systems and solar panels.

On receiving the award, Dr Jo Patterson, from the Welsh School of Architecture, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be given this award and to be recognised amongst all of the amazing and inspiring winners this year.

“We are extremely proud of what we have achieved over the last 10 years, proving that affordable low-carbon housing is possible and critical if we are to meet our net zero targets over the coming years.

“Furthermore, our work has had a tangible and positive impact on the everyday lives of many people living across Wales, for example generating savings of up to £1,000 a year on energy bills for households.”

Congratulating the winners, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “It’s fantastic to be able to award this year’s St David Awards finalists in person once again. They are an inspiring group of people who deserve to be congratulated on their contribution to Welsh life.

“Many have courageously and selflessly served others, some are trailblazers in their fields, others have worked tirelessly to protect the environment, and we are lucky to have them all living and working in Wales.”

The St David Awards are the national awards of Wales, with 10 awards given out each year in categories ranging from bravery and community spirit, to innovation, science and technology.

The finalists are suggested by members of the public and the winners are decided upon by the First Minister of the Welsh Government and his advisers.

The LCBE project is part of SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre, which is led by Swansea University and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, and EPSRC.

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