Wales has the potential to become a high value forest nation. Creating high-performance affordable new homes from Welsh timber supply chains could help solve the housing crisis, create more and better jobs closer to home, enhance community resilience and mitigate climate change.
The project was launched to look at a range of options for change through the timber construction supply chain from forest to home. Its aim was to improve the business case for timber construction in a way that maximises economic, environmental and social value to Wales. To achieve this it embraced a unique all-Wales collaboration between providers of affordable housing and the Welsh forest industries sector.
Duration: April 2018 – December 2020
Housing, timber manufacturing and forestry are distinct areas of activity. This project is an exploration of how these three overlapping areas of our economy and society can be drawn into more purposeful alignment. The following methods were employed.
Applied research to understand the dynamics of the current supply chain and the timber construction industry to help identify potential interventions and how these interventions might be applied to maximum benefit. Methods included desk-based investigation (e.g. academic literature, market data, industry websites), structured engagement with the supply chain (e.g. face to face interviews) and consultation with external experts.
Knowledge exchange to inform the development of supply chain interventions and to encourage clients and the timber industry to engage pro-actively in the foundational economic development and low carbon agenda. Methods included workshops, conferences, supply chain meetings and site visits with project updates provided through, e-newsletters, social media and the project website. By linking clients with the supply chain, we have been able to support learning, dispel myths and better understand the issues that are restricting or preventing the further uptake of wood-based solutions by the social housing sector in Wales.
Strategic engagement with social housing projects under development to identify barriers to the development of the timber supply chain and to test out the effectiveness of interventions to overcome these barriers at the design, construction and post completion phase of projects. The knowledge gained has provided crucial information to support the delivery of high-performance low-carbon social homes using timber.
Project Management, exemplar projects, zero carbon building solutions, training programme, events and communication (work packages 1, 2, 6, 7).
Robin Aldridge, Dainis Dauksta, Martin Davies, Eilidh Forster, David Hedges, Christiane Lellig, Ceri Loxton, James Moxey, Gary Newman, Francesco Zaccaro
Building performance measurement (work package 3).
Carolyn Hayles, George Karani, John Littlewood, Diana Waldron, Tony Whyman
Timber manufacturing (work package 4).
Gavin Fidler, Robin Lancashire, Adam Moring, Lewis Taylor
Forestry and timber (work package 5).
Gareth Davies, Graham Hilton, Dylan Jones
Julie Godefroy, Julie Godefroy Sustainability; Susie Diamond, Inkling; Jane Anderson, ConstructionLCA; Katherine Adams, Simon Corbey, ASBP; Julian Brooks, Good Homes Alliance; Prof. Fionn Stevenson, Sheffield University; Rajat Gupta, Oxford Brookes University; Richard Jack, Luke Smith, Build Test Solutions; Zachary Gill, Soap Retrofit; Bruce Arnold, Ray Faulkner, iRed; Miles Thomas, Hazelvale; Robert Thomas, Hiraeth Architecture (formerly R+M Studios); Beth Williams, Build Collective; Kasper Maciej, Toby Cambray, Greengauge; Peter Wilson, Timber Design Initiatives.
Governance and Funding
The steering committee with representatives from Community Housing Cymru, WGLA, Powys County Council, Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government provided input and scrutiny on a quarterly basis. The project was funded through the EU Rural Development Programme. We would like to thank Tom Simmons, Dafydd Evans & Vince Hanly, Powys County Council; Nigel Elias, Jon Travis, Simon Inkson, Welsh Government; Jim McKirdle, Welsh Local Government Association; Sian Howells, Community Housing Cymru; Dominic Driver, Miriam Jones-Walters Natural Resources Wales.
The Home-Grown Homes Project produced a rich variety of outputs. Key findings and recommendations are summarised in the ▸▸ final report. In addition, practical tools and guidance have been developed for social housing developers, architects and engineers, timber frame manufacturers and wood processors, forestry managers and land owners. A full list of project outputs can be accessed below.
Learning to build better homes
Since the formal end of the Home-Grown Homes Project in March we’ve been applying the learning from it with social landlords. We’re moving from research into implementation – inviting social landlords to identify projects we could support them on. We have also…
Reality bites: confronting our progress and set-backs—An update on the Welsh Timber Windows project
It all sounded so straight forward: Bring some interested joinery businesses together, agree a joint window specification based on the type of windows they currently manufacture to PAS24 standard, define protocols and processes, then get certification. Done. From…
Investing in Afforestation—Economic aspects of woodland creation for timber production | Briefing Papers
The decision to invest in an afforestation project with the primary aim of producing timber may involve many personal and environmental factors alongside financial considerations. Adoption of a forestry enterprise within a farming unit represents a change in land…
Wood Fibre Insulation – Specification Guidance
A building’s thermal performance is now as important an aspect of the building’s design and construction as its structure. Energy prices and climate change are often cited as the principal reasons for the increased energy and CO2 reduction standards required of our built environment. Less known is the fact that insulation can also play a major role in our health, safety, comfort and wellbeing.
Zero Carbon Homes—Zero Carbon Timber Solutions for Wales
What is the zero carbon timber housing solution for Wales? This document proposes a range of timber build solutions. Results are based on the analysis of an appropriate and future proofed definition for ‘zero carbon’, followed by design and calculation to develop…
5 Essential Strategies for an Emerging Forest Nation
Wales is not a forest nation. Wales is a sheep, beef and dairy nation. Wales is a steel nation. Like many nations, Wales is the economic country it is, not by political design but largely because of historical accident. And there has never been a better time or…
The role of our own conifer forests for building a sustainable society in Wales
Despite wide recognition of their value, plantation forests are critically misunderstood and undervalued in Wales. Plantation forests comprise around 7% of the planet’s forest area whilst sustainably supplying over 50% of industrial roundwood. This report looks at…
Wooden Windows-Specification guidance for timber windows
Windows provide an outlook on the world. They help set the tone and character for a building and the area in which it stands. Windows define natural lighting levels and thermal comfort essential for the wellbeing of residents. They offer sound protection and keep…
More and Better Home-Grown Timber—The role for a consolidator
What might a business plan for the supply of home-grown timber to the Welsh housing sector look like, if it is to be closely integrated with the ownership and management of the timber resource in Wales? Additional capacity in the sector has been identified in three…
More and Better Home-Grown Timber—The financial case for existing landowners to plant woodland
From the TV presenters of Countryfile to the ever-escalating claims of political parties in the last UK elections, it seems everyone wants to plant more trees. Reasons vary from carbon capture, amenity, and biodiversity to production of usable timber, as do levels…
Home-Grown Homes Project—A study for improving the Timber Construction Supply Industry in Wales
The purpose of the Home-Grown Homes project has been to identify and test out interventions that could have a transformative impact on the Welsh timber construction supply chain and on the delivery of low carbon social housing in Wales. Housing, timber…
Building Performance Evaluation Guide
New homes often fail to meet low-energy targets, and to satisfy residents with fundamental issues such as ease of use, summer comfort and energy costs. There is little Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) happening routinely on projects to close the performance…
Serious About Green?—Building a Welsh wood economy through co-ordination
Why would it be beneficial for Welsh society to build a wood economy? The ‘Serious about Green?’ report takes a closer look and analyses the economic and social parameters. The report is authored by the team at Foundational Economy Research, led by Karel Williams….
Carbon Storage Contract
The future building stock is the most effective and most immediate opportunity for carbon reduction and long-term carbon storage. By creating a new economic model for monetising the carbon reduction and storage capacity of the future building stock, the use and…
Capturing Carbon: Investing in Woodlands—An Options Analysis for Welsh Housing Associations
New woodland creation is one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing carbon emissions and offsetting our nation’s carbon footprint. The combination of an undersupply of our own timber in Wales and the ambitions of Wales and the Welsh Government to create new…
Timber Cladding—Specification Guidance for Social Housing
Timber cladding has become increasingly popular, mainly for its sustainability credentials and low environmental impact: It has a low carbon footprint as it requires less energy to produce than any other construction material and helps lock carbon into the building…
Making the Right Choices—A Guide to Improving the Build Quality of New Build Timber Frame Social Housing
Making the right decisions for the benefit of a building’s long term performance and user experience can be compromised by cost, lack of experience, and poor understanding of timber frame construction. This guide aims to highlight some of the key points to consider…
Embodied Carbon – the key questions
How to reduce embodied carbon in social housing developments? This article highlights key questions and answers for strategic leadership teams.
Embodied Carbon Guidance for Welsh Social Housing Developers, their design teams, contractors and suppliers
This guidance has been written for those wanting to both increase their knowledge of Embodied Carbon in the housing sector and to understand how to reduce it.
Google Map highlights exemplar timber housing projects in Wales
Find exemplar timber housing projects we have worked with over the past few years. Explore information on construction, innovative products, use of home-grown timber and Welsh manufacturing, carbon impact and building performance.
Net-Zero targets for Wales
Building on the work of the UKGBC and LETI, the Home-Grown Homes Project have developed a graphical net-zero guide with a set of targets & principles that we believe are achievable within a Welsh context. The guide is aimed at helping developers, designers and…