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Six shortlisted in Passive House competition

Six design teams have been shortlisted in the architectural competition to create the ultimate Welsh Passive House – a sustainable affordable home featuring innovative measures for energy efficiency and eco excellence.

The competition was launched by the Welsh Assembly Government and Blaenau Gwent Council in association with the Building Research Establishment (BRE). Two winning designs - one 2 bedroom starter home and a 3 bedroom home - will be selected by the judging panel and built by United Welsh Housing Association at The Works:Ebbw Vale, the site of the former steelworks.

It attracted 29 entries from throughout the UK and the six shortlisted teams will now each be awarded £6000 to develop their designs further (to RIBA stage C) and present their proposals to the judging panel in early October.

The successful teams shortlisted for the three bedroom home are: bere:architects, London, Ty Unnos Design, Cardiff, and HLM Architects, Cardiff. Teams shortlisted for the two bedroom homes are: Sustainable by Design LLP, London; John Thompson & Partners, London and George & Tomos Architects, Machynlleth.

The competition provides a unique opportunity for the design and construction industry to create the Welsh Passive House – combining the principles of the highly efficient PassivHaus low carbon buildings standards pioneered in Germany, with the higher levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes in Wales (CSH).

The winning designs must satisfy the CSH level 5 standard, aspiring towards level 6, use local sustainable materials, find innovative solutions for electricity reductions and construction costs and should be comparable with more traditional buildings methods.

Construction of the two overall winning designs will start in January 2010, subject to planning approval, and will be the first of a number of unique buildings constructed at The Works. They will form the nucleus of Future Homes – a demonstration centre for sustainable development and construction.

Sustainability is at the heart of The Works, a major regeneration project that is transforming the 200 acre steelworks site into a £350million mixed use development.

Future Homes will feature and demonstrate a range of innovative products and diverse materials as well as new energy efficient technologies and techniques and will be a showcase illustrating how highly energy efficient buildings can be constructed at no additional cost.

The competition is funded by the Assembly Government’s Heads of the Valleys regeneration initiative which is driving forward a low carbon programme for the region to improve energy efficiency in homes and tackle child poverty and fuel poverty.

Leighton Andrews, Deputy Minister for Regeneration, said the response had been extremely encouraging: “Once built these two eco homes will provide an excellent basis for the development of the Future Homes project which has already created interest from a number of organisations. The intention is to provide a valuable resource for the construction industry and a showcase of highly innovative buildings that effectively utilise new techniques and technologies and which can be replicated elsewhere in Wales.”

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