Remember a few days ago when the Government announced it’s scrapping of it’s carbon neutral homes policy because it was deemed “too expensive”? Well it seems they may not have given that as much thought as they should have done. This week the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University showed to the world Solcer House, the UK’s first home to produce more energy than it actually uses.

What’s involved

To give you an idea of what goes into a home like this, and how it works, here is a side on view showing what is involved:


For the eagle eyed, you’ll notice that it’s double, not triple glazing that has gone into the making of this property. Here are some of the other main features which make this house what it is:

  • photovoltaic solar panel glazed roof
  • LED lighting
  • low-carbon cement
  • high levels of insulation
  • hot water heat storage
  • high tech wall panels to store external heat from air

The house took just 16 weeks to build, at a cost of £125,000 which equates to £1000 per square metre. Now lets be fair, given the amount of technology and innovation in this property, £125k is a damn good price and comparable to standard house building costs.

To put it in perspective, the Government’s target for social housing costs lie in the region of £800-£1000 per square metre, so a home like Solcer House would actually have made the Government’s now shelved zero carbon policy a reality. I sincerely hope this makes the radar of Government and helps them to change their mind on such a policy.

Find out more from the Welsh School of Architecture

This house demonstrates that with technology that already exists, and with the right planning, affordable new homes that are also carbon neutral and energy positive are available right here right now. For every £100 spent on electricity in Solcer House, it will generate £175, selling £75 back to the grid. So not only are these homes energy efficient, they will earn the owner of the house a tidy side income too.

On a personal level, I am not too fond of the actual design of the house. But that’s not the point of this property, and I am sure that the same level of energy efficiency can be recreated in various other designs.

Watch a video of the construction

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