A development of new low energy social housing that we built for Powys County Council has been highly commended in awards that recognise the best construction projects in Wales.

Judges for Constructing Excellence in Wales were so impressed with the Passivhaus homes we built in Sarn last year it made a special award to the team behind the project in the Residential Property of the Year category at the ceremony at Celtic Manor on June 17.

The £1.3m development was the first social housing to be built for the local authority in 30 years and the first ever to meet the stringent Passivhaus conditions.

It was developed by the council’s Affordable Housing Team and was part of the council’s Transformation Programme to deliver aspirations in Vision 2025 including to build 250 new homes by 2025.

The homes were designed by Hughes Architects with support from Passivhaus experts PYC from Welshpool and consulting civil and structural engineers Bradley Associates Ltd from Cardiff.

The seven energy efficient homes — a mix of two-bedroom bungalows and two-bedroom and three-bedroom houses – used low energy construction methods and included sustainability features such as solar panels and mechanical heat ventilation recovery systems that reduce running costs for tenants.

Welsh-grown wood was used for the timber frame while cellulose fibre insulation, manufactured from recycled newspaper, was used to reduce the use of plastics.

Pave Aways’ Managing Director Steven Owen said: “These were the first Passivhaus homes we had built so to have received this recognition in a category alongside other major projects was a great achievement.

“A challenging site, a gap locally in the specialist skills required to build to this low energy specification and the coronavirus pandemic were all obstacles overcome to deliver these much-needed homes so we’re very proud of the Pave Aways’ team and everyone involved for this award.”

Cllr Matthew Dorrance, Powys County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for a Farier Powys, said: “I’m delighted that our first social housing to be built in 30 years has been recognised at this prestigious awards ceremony.

“This brilliant and ground-breaking development has been built to the exceptionally low-energy Passivhaus standard which will help to cut carbon emissions while tenants will have lower energy bills.”