THE Carbon Zero Efficient Building Award, in association with Monmouthshire Building Society, will be given to the most interesting and sustainable building completed since January 1, 2019.

Judges are considering all non-residential buildings or developments, including offices, educational establishments, leisure venues, hotels, industrial settings and the public sector. 

The first finalist is Clwb Rygbi Bethesda in Gwynedd. Their building is one of the most carbon neutral sports venues in the whole of Wales.

It features solar panels, LED lights, top notch insulation and it is a part of the wider local energy community which benefits from sustainable energy derived from a hydro turbine on the Afon Ogwen. 

It also comes under the umbrella of a larger initiative by Partneriaeth Ogwen - Ynni Ogwen. This is a project to capture the power from the flow of the Afon Ogwen in order to generate electricity using hydro technology. The benefits and profits from the hydro are used within the local community. 

Our second finalist is Bwyd Bendigedig Port/Incredible Edible Porthmadog. Their Gardener’s Hwb is the first of its kind in the UK and could potentially be the first in the world because it’s been built using PET bottle bricks/ecobricks filled with plastic waste as opposed to sand, fly ash or soil.

The National Wales: One of the sustainable buildings at Bwyd Bendigedig Port/Incredible Edible's baseOne of the sustainable buildings at Bwyd Bendigedig Port/Incredible Edible's base

Cob, used tyres, locally grown hardwood and willow (for roof) were also used as materials. Many of the ecobricks were filled by people in the local community too.

Apart from the project builder/designer, the structure was built by local volunteers including children. The age of the volunteers ranged from three-years to 80+ and was something that brought the whole community together. 

On top of this, Bwyd Bendigedig run a garden scheme for the local community with the aim of strengthening the growing of local food, which is also something that cuts down on carbon emissions.  

Finally, our third nominee is Burns Pet Nutrition. The development of Canolfan John Burns Centre, in Kidwelly, has been an ambitious project from its conception.

The aim was to build a headquarters for a charity that was state of the art, yet did not compromise in terms of the sustainability and environmental policy elements. 

Their building is a pioneering development demonstrating the use of sustainable solutions that are widely available to all new developments.

The National Wales: Canolfan John Burns centreCanolfan John Burns centre

Onsite renewable energy generation is paired with the most energy efficient solutions meaning that this development generates more energy than it consumes.

Excess electricity is exported via the electricity grid and decreases the carbon emissions of other nearby properties. The site has 30 kWp solar photovoltaic installation supplying around 30 MWh of electricity per annum.

The site is heated with a biomass boiler fuelled with sustainable wood from the charity’s own woodland in Amroth, Pembrokeshire. The fabric of the building is highly insulated helping to reduce both heating and cooling requirements.  

The Monmouthshire Building Society, which is sponsoring this category, is fully committed to the environment.

The building society is part of the VALUER research project, which is a ground-breaking scheme that will see the first mortgages and additional borrowing offered in the UK that recognise home energy efficiency in their affordability calculations. 

The VALUER research aims to develop understanding, and demonstrate the emerging difference in value, between low and high energy homes. 

As part of the project, new green mortgages, and additional borrowing products will be made available to two “geofenced” pilot areas in south Wales. This will include a number of new build low energy homes at Parc Eirin in Tonyrefail and also the Eastern High development in Cardiff, as well as existing homes in the area looking to make retrofit energy improvements. 

The National is hosting the Environmental Awards in conjunction with headline sponsor Dŵr Cymru and they will be broadcast on November 4.

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