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Environment champion award 2022 winner

The Low Carbon Built Environment research team (LCBE) at the Welsh School of Architechture, Cardiff University have helped significantly to reduce carbon emissions in housing whilst improving conditions and reducing energy bills.

1 in 3 people in Wales live in unaffordable, poor quality housing. The LCBE team have worked closely with Welsh Government, local government and other stakeholders to show that it is possible to combine market available solutions to reduce energy use and emissions whilst improving the built environment and stimulating the economy.

After funding for the Zero Carbon Homes policy was withdrawn in 2015, the LCBE designed and built the SOLCER energy positive house to demonstrate that it is possible to build an affordable, zero-carbon, energy efficient home. This evidence led to the establishment of the Innovative Housing Programme (IHP), initially a £10 million government grant scheme to build new affordable, low carbon housing across Wales. Now in its 4th year, the programme has provided £91 million in funding towards 50 projects and built approximately 1,400 homes across Wales. Many of these projects draw 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 resulted in 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.

LCBE work contributes to the target of 100% reduction in UK’s carbon emissions by 2050, whilst also generating savings of up to £1,000 a year on energy bills for households.