The Home-Grown Homes Project moves into a new phase. Our research findings on how we can use more of the timber we produce to deliver net zero carbon homes for social housing are all available in hands-on guidance, specification tools and reports. Now is the time to start delivering future homes that meet net zero carbon requirements and help create hundreds of new jobs and apprenticeships in Wales. We are looking for partner organisations across the supply chain seeking to further develop and deliver net zero whole life carbon solutions. We are offering support in the transition to a socially just zero carbon society with forests and woodlands at its heart.

New standards for new and existing homes

Welsh Government’s standards for new homes and existing homes will include a focus on carbon reduction. Knowing how to measure carbon and more importantly, how to reduce it will become essential for housing professionals in development and asset management teams alike. To support local authorities and housing associations in delivering zero carbon solutions, we are offering a number of options for collaboration. Our work is guided by the five principles set out in the Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Homes framework.

The route to net zero housing

A first workshop with development professionals in local authorities and housing associations in April considered the changes Welsh Government will introduce to our new and existing homes standards.

The route to zero carbon will be ‘accelerated’ over the life of the next Senedd term. All new housing will need to meet net zero carbon requirements in order to secure grant funding from Welsh Government. This means that we all have to understand and learn how to measure, analyse and ultimately reduce the embodied carbon in our homes.

Achieving net zero whole life carbon requires minimising carbon and energy demand, using only renewable energy, minimising the performance gap and offsetting ‘the last mile’ by investing into woodland creation and management.

Priorities for action

During the workshop development professionals from housing associations and local authorities shared their priorities within the zero carbon agenda. These include agreeing definitions, assessing viability particularly for low occupancy homes, improving procurement, carbon literacy training, getting buy-in from the supply chain, making the case for zero carbon, maximising the potential of MMC, helping with the retrofit challenge and creating opportunities to share learning and experience.

What type of support?

Facilitating knowledge exchange, providing information and connecting the supply chain are main areas where housing professionals are seeking support from Woodknowledge Wales. Our ambition is to help social landlords grow their own carbon capability and capacity in achieving net zero carbon. We plan on creating a community of practice so our collective knowledge and experience can be openly shared and discussed.

From May 2021, our team will be strengthened by Diana Waldron. Fresh from her role at Cardiff Met University, she will join the team to offer support in tackling building performance evaluation and embodied carbon.

Delivering future homes

Our plan is to develop a portfolio of projects and activities where we can focus our support with local authorities and housing associations. If you have a suitable project in the pipeline for the coming 2 years, please contact David Hedges at david.hedges@woodknowledgewales.co.uk.

Workshop for asset managers

We are holding a workshop for asset managers on 6th May to discuss the potential of zero carbon and repair, maintenance and improvement with view to the revised Welsh Housing Quality Standard due later in the year. Contact David Hedges for more details and to attend.