Major Housing Project Completed In Penrhiwceiber

Cynon Taf Community Housing Group, in partnership with the Welsh Assembly Government and BRE has completed a project involving seven existing properties in Tyrfelin Street Penrhiwceiber, demonstrating the measures that can be taken to transform terraced housing into homes that are fit for the future.

The project retains the existing frontage, but occupiers will benefit from the latest technology in house design and construction and the properties will be some of the most environmentally friendly houses ever produced in Wales.

In accordance with good and sustainable design practice this scheme aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the buildings by thermally upgrading the existing fabric and providing more efficient heating system which will be aided by the installation of solar panels as the primary source heating for the hot water systems.

In addition to the energy performance measures, the scheme also tackles some of the issues related to the everyday living with the existing properties, which have poor space standards and benefited from very little natural daylight. The properties have been remodelled with a major aspect being converting two properties into one.  This has created better living spaces and in some cases better standards than those delivered through new build social housing schemes.

The scheme offers a new way of looking at terraced housing, a property layout that is more commonly associated with 19th than 21st century living. In so doing, the project demonstrates how retaining the historic character of the environment does not have to mean compromising on design vision, on providing modern, attractive and functional housing, or on good performance against sustainability criteria.

Primary objectives are to significantly enhance the energy performance of existing housing stock and create a new benchmark for sustainable refurbishment that can be repeated, rather than installing as many low/zero carbon technologies as possible.

The Welsh School of Architecture will be monitoring the energy consumption of the refurbished properties, once they are occupied.  This information will be used to educate the tenants in the best use of the properties and help them maximise their savings in regards to their fuel bills.

The scheme, at a cost of nearly £800,000.00, has been funded from the Association’s own resources with match funding as a joint venture between the Heads of the Valleys Initiative.

Jane Davidson, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing who was present at the unveiling of the scheme commented "I was delighted to see how these traditional valleys houses have been converted into cosy, green energy efficient homes that will mean people will have to spend less on heating and lighting.  Schemes such as this provide us with significant economic opportunities to create local jobs as part of Wales’ economic recovery. This area was at the heart of the industrial revolution that made the modern world and still bears the scars of this period. It now has the opportunity to be at the centre of the green revolution of the 21st Century, leading Wales and showing the world what it can do to make a difference.  There are lessons to be learned by other housing associations and developers as it shows how we can use existing housing stock to provide the kind of homes that people want for the future."

Chief Executive, Antonia Forte says "Cynon Taf Community Housing Group has invested significantly in the community in Penrhiwceiber in the past.  This project not only helps support our existing activities, but will act as a catalyst to other stakeholders, including the local authority, to work collaboratively, in order to make a real difference to the experience of people living in areas of traditional terraced housing".

One of the tenants, Michelle Llewellyn who will be moving into one of the properties is excited about the prospect of living in such a state of the art property "I have lived in Tyrfelin Street for 13 years and I love living here. I am really looking forward to moving in and I am delighted with how the house has turned out".

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