Welsh Minister for Culture opens house of the future

Welsh Assembly Minister for Culture, Jenny Randerson, has officially opened a sustainable house of the future which uses examples of best practice for renewable energy and efficiency.

Built in the Museum of Welsh Life in St Fagans, the house is based on traditional building techniques, but uses innovative technology to contribute to the on-going debates about issues such as energy efficiency, and sustainability. The main building material is timber, with the roof shaped as a natural water collector, and insulated with a thick layer of sedum, which also acts as a natural filter. The south face of the house is glazed to maximise solar energy, controlled by a ‘skin’ of shutters which are automatically adjusted, and wool is used as insulation for the other walls.

Local materials have been used wherever possible, avoiding energy being used for haulage, with the earth which was removed from the foundations being used to make bricks for the spinal wall.

With regards to electricity, the house is virtually self-sufficient, producing no carbon dioxide. Central heating and hot water are provided by means of an electric ground-source heat pump, which works like a refrigerator in reverse, pumping cold water down to a depth of 35 metres, taking natural heat from the ground and releasing it as warmth.

“I am pleased to be able to launch another exciting new venture by the National Museum,” said Randerson. “Today we are looking towards the future at how housing in Wales may develop over the next 50 years. The House of the Future proves that museums have a key role in stimulating the public in thinking about their future housing needs.”

“It is vital we take sustainable development seriously and make sure that the next generation of housing is built in a way which uses energy and materials in an economic and flexible way,” she added.

The museum is keen to emphasise that this should not be seen as an ideal home, but rather as a possible practical solution to future housing needs in Wales.

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