Eco homes take centre stage for S4C's Dan Do

Monday 8th November 2021 10:55 am
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A couple of west Wales eco-homes will be the focus of an S4C show later this week.

Dan Do, presented by Mandy Watkins and Aled Sam, on Wednesday, 10 November at 9pm on S4C, will visit three homes responding to the challenge of reducing carbon footprint - from a special place in Llanarth to a straw, clay and lime house in St Dogmaels and an example of what is known as a passivhaus in Taliesin near Machynlleth.

The first visit will be to a new ’green’ housing estate. Several partners are involved in the Parc Eirin housing estate initiative in Tonyrefail, and the Welsh Government is also investing generous grants in the development, acknowledging that this is the future of affordable and sustainable housing.

The houses on the estate are considered innovative because of how much energy they use, the way they are designed and the technology that is put into them.

"This place has been an eye-opener I have to admit," said Mandy.

“It clearly shows the direction in which new housing estates should go. And these types of houses show that living in a greener home is accessible to everyone - you don’t have to have a huge budget and build your own house.”

Mike and Sue are the owners of the house in Llanarth, where the couple’s handywork is aimed at trying to live greener. They have both been together since their school days in the Valleys. When it came time to retire, Mike decided to use his talent and skill as a Design and Technology teacher to fulfil his dream of building his own special, green, happy place.

Aled Sam said: “There is an appreciation of timber - the greenest material - in the house, not only is it used in the frame of the house, but also for the stairs, the floors, doors, and in the frames around the doors. How the house is heated is also important to the owners.

"Living green through technology is what you see here, but also creating beautiful objects, such as the stunning table created from the root of an oak tree."

Pen Whilwr, near St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire won the 2018 Grand Designs Eco-House Award.

Stone provides the foundation for the house, which has straw bale walls covered in lime and mortar - a kind of eco-concrete - over the surface. There are no wooden frames inside the bales and the beams that support the roof rest on walls of straw. This is the first two storey straw house in Britain to do so - and the second in Europe.

We also get to step over the threshold of a house that is an example of what is known as passivhaus - a home that meets the strictest eco standards. In 2012 artist Rob Davies and his wife Amy built their new home in the town of Taliesin near Machynlleth.

Dan Do is on S4C at 9pm on Wednesday 10 November. English and Welsh subtitles available.

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