The house is a joint initiative between the housing association, BRE, Blaenau Gwent Council and the Welsh Assembly Government.

The house was built as a result of a construction competition at the National Eisteddfod festival in 2010.

The building was constructed to showcase the Passivhaus concept and has incorporated locally sourced material, products and expertise.

The three bedroom property is called the ‘Larch House’ after its Pembrokeshire Larch cladding. It has large south-facing windows, closed-panel timber framing, high insulation, and photovoltaic panels.

The building will be used as a prototype for larger social housing schemes to be built in the future.

Tenants will be moving into the property and the building will be monitored as part of a scheme to refine an economically viable product that can be developed at scale.

United Welsh head of development, Gareth Davies, said: “This house is a real statement from the social housing sector in Wales.

“It uses cutting edge technology, the very latest in building material & techniques and some clever thinking to create a home that’s super-efficient, low cost to run and will be a pleasure to live in now and in the future.

“It’s important that we continue to build houses that incorporate sustainable features both in the finished product and in the building process.

“We are determined to get the balance right between incorporating greener methods of building, offering benefits to tenants through things such as lower energy bills, and providing a service that can be delivered for years to come.”

Testing of the house has shown that it achieves the Passivhaus standard of less than or equal to 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals. On decompression at 50 pascals the result was 0.17 air changes per hour, but on average 0.197 air changes per hour was the final result.

This result, according to the housing association, is over three times better than the minimum required by the Passivhaus Institute.

Alison Brown

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