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Contract awarded for ‘largest UK energy retrofit of its kind’ at 650 housing association properties in Penderi

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As rising energy prices make headlines in the UK, an energy retrofit scheme hailed as the largest ever of its kind in the UK has taken a step closer to realisation following the appointment of Everwarm as lead contractor on the project.

The company will oversee the installation of state-of-the art renewable energy generation, energy storage and smart energy management technology in almost 650 homes in the Swansea community of Penderi.

It is anticipated that the community will generate as much as 60 per cent of their total electricity requirements, protecting against the impact of future energy price increases, improving resident comfort and well-being, as well as reducing carbon emissions by as much 350 tonnes per year.

The homes are owned and managed by Pobl Group, Wales’ largest provider of affordable housing, who have partnered with renewable energy tech and service supplier, Sero.

The innovative scheme is supported by £3.5m EU funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government, and is seen as a stepping-stone to a wider investment into the Penderi area that will have a positive impact across the entire community.

Scott Paton, Operations Director, Everwarm said: “Here at Everwarm, we’re delighted to have such a driving role in the Penderi energy initiative. It’s a programme that’ll empower the Penderi community and give residents a greater control over their energy efficiency and household costs. We’re looking forward to working alongside Pobl, Sero and local residents to drive forward energy efficiency and develop the opportunities within your community. Together we can make a brighter future for Penderi.”

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Everwarm are one the UK’s leading energy services and regeneration companies offering all forms of renewables solutions, insulation, heating, and regeneration services. Part of the Sureserve Group offering additions compliance services throughout the UK from 23 offices, the company has delivered over 300,000 energy services measures since 2010.

Solitaire Pritchard, Director of Regeneration, Pobl Group said: “More than ever, rising fuel prices is a very real issue, along with climate change, and we must be innovative in how we tackle this crisis. We are delighted to confirm the appointment of Everwarm as lead contractor on the Penderi energy project and are looking forward to them commencing work on a scheme that will tackle the challenge head on, transforming our homes in the community, making them more environmentally and financially sustainable for the future.”

James Williams, co-founder and CEO of Sero said: “As a result of the energy crisis and in the lead up to COP26, the spotlight is now firmly focused on the role our homes need to play in helping tackle the climate emergency. The Penderi scheme will demonstrate how we can significantly improve existing homes, at a community scale, to improve comfort and well-being, protect against future energy price hikes, whilst also reducing carbon to work towards hitting net zero.   The project will also demonstrate new methods of socialisation of renewable energy benefits across the community, ensuring that all residents benefit from the distributed community generation.”

Everwarm will utilise local skills for the project wherever possible and, in particular, are looking to recruit Solar PV and battery storage installers. Anyone interested in learning more about the project should contact enquiries@everwarmgroup.com or to apply to work as part of the team email recruitment@everwarmgroup.com.

Homes in Penderi (Image: Google Maps)

ABOUT THE PENDERI ENERGY PROJECT

Homes in Penderi are be fitted with individual or communal batteries that will harness power generated via linked solar panels, fitted to most homes in the community, so that renewable energy is generated and can be stored for subsequent use by the community.  The project will address inequality in energy generation from different roof and therefore solar panel design and orientations, by ensuring that all residents benefit from the energy generated by the community regardless of individual location.

Homes will also have new smart technology and intelligent energy controls, managed through Sero’s digital app, to deliver energy bill savings for residents while also balancing demand from the grid so that stored energy is used at the most expensive times.

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The Penderi community will also benefit from large scale infrastructure upgrades, due to Western Power Distribution using this project as its national pilot to trial the positive effects on local grid infrastructure of renewable energy supplies and storage that are intelligently managed through trusted systems installed in people’s homes.

(Lead image: Pobl)

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Environment

City parks flying the green flag for excellence

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The lake at Brynmill Park

Six of Swansea’s main parks have once again been awarded green flag status, recognising the vital role they play in boosting residents’ wellbeing and improving the natural environment.

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government. Sites are judged against eight strict criteria, including biodiversity, cleanliness, environmental management and community involvement.

In Swansea, the Council’s Clyne Gardens, Singleton Botanical Gardens, Brynmill Park, Parc Llewelyn, Cwmdonkin Park and Victoria Park have all gained the prestigious flag status.

Two more green flags have been awarded to Penllergare Trust for their efforts at Penllergare Valley Woods and Swansea University has received recognition for Singleton Campus.

Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment Enhancement and Infrastructure Management, said: “Once again, our parks and cleansing teams have had their commitment to keeping our much loved parks in wonderful condition rewarded. It’s also important to recognise our council staff have achieved this during the pandemic making this achievement even more special.

“Retaining green flag status is important to the council in terms of making a wider statement on our commitment to ensure the public and visitors to the city have excellent green spaces they can visit and enjoy what we have to offer.

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“I’m also pleased to see a large number of community gardens also get recognition for what they offer residents. This is largely down to community groups and volunteers who take it upon themselves to look after these green spaces and make sure that wherever you live in Swansea, there is certain to be somewhere nearby that families can visit.”

A total of 13 ‘community awards’ have also been given to smaller community based gardens and green spaces, including two new winners – Clydach Community Garden and Blaenymaes Community Garden.

Julie James, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Climate Change, said: “Green spaces are vital for mental and physical well-being and throughout the pandemic we have seen how important these spaces have been for local communities. 

 “Wales still holds more than a third of the UK’s Green Flag community sites and it is fantastic to see more places in Wales receiving Green Flag Award and Green Flag Community Award. 

 “These landscapes play a vital role in delivering rich ecosystems and vibrant and resilient communities, and I congratulate all of the sites for providing excellent, year-round facilities and events for people in Wales.”

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 Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said: “The pandemic showed us just how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities. With more visitors than ever enjoying our green spaces, I’d like to congratulate the hard work of staff and volunteers who have maintained excellent standards at these sites.”

Lead Image: The lake at Brynmill Park (Image: Swansea Council)

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Environment

Swansea University gains double recognition for its outstanding green spaces

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Swansea University has once again been named among the country’s best green spaces.

The hard work of the University’s grounds team means the prestigious Green Flag will continue to fly at both its Singleton Park and Bay campuses.

The Green Flag is the international mark of a quality park or green space and recognises excellent visitor facilities, high environmental standards, and a commitment to delivering great quality green space.

This year the University has also achieved Green Heritage Site Accreditation for the first time. This special award, endorsed by Cadw, recognises sites that are both historically significant and meet Green Flag criteria. 

Grounds manager Paul Edwards said: “After what has been a challenging time for everyone, I am delighted we’ve not only retained the Green Flag but also gained the Heritage Award status.

“Singleton’s historic features are an important and celebrated part of the campus that students, visitors and the public alike have enjoyed for many years.

“The grounds team’s in-depth knowledge of these original features ensures that they will continue to preserve and enhance such assets for future generations.”

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The University’s historic Singleton site is set in lush parkland and boasts well-established grounds providing a wide variety of habitats, with grassland, mature woodland, planted areas and ponds which help to support an extensive variety of wildlife.

The Bay Campus, adjacent to Crymlyn Burrows Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), offers beachside habitats and plenty of room to explore its variety of species.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle said: “We are extremely proud that our fantastic University campus has once again been recognised with Green Flag status. We understand the importance of our grounds for people and wildlife alike, and know that they play a key role in supporting the wellbeing of our staff, students and local community. We are committed to managing them with respect and care, with sustainability at the heart of all developments.

“After the challenges of the past year, Swansea University is pleased to once again be able to welcome people back onto our campuses to enjoy these special green spaces.”

The University is among 248 parks and green spaces – from country parks and formal gardens, to allotments, woodlands, and churchyards –   to be recognised by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government.

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Independent green space experts volunteered their time in early autumn to judge applicant sites against eight strict criteria, including biodiversity, cleanliness, environmental management, and community involvement.

Congratulating all the winners, Minister for Climate Change Julie James described green spaces as vital for mental and physical wellbeing.  

She said: “These landscapes play a vital role in delivering rich ecosystems and vibrant and resilient communities.”

Lucy Prisk, of Keep Wales Tidy said: “The pandemic showed us just how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities. With more visitors than ever enjoying our green spaces, I’d like to congratulate the hard work of staff and volunteers who have maintained excellent standards at these sites.”

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Carmarthenshire

Pembrey Country Park retains prestigious Green Flag award

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Pembrey Country Park has once again received the prestigious Green Flag Award.

The international award has been given to the popular tourist attraction for its amazing green space for the last three years.

The award is recognised for having the highest possible standards, being beautifully maintained and boasting excellent visitor facilities.

Around £4 million is being invested into the park as part of a masterplan to continue its development as a major tourism destination within Carmarthenshire and Wales.

This is the second award for Pembrey Country Park after it celebrated winning the Blue Flag status for Cefn Sidan earlier this year.

Since the Blue Flag awards were first introduced in 1988, Pembrey Country Park has won more Blue Flags than anywhere else in Wales. Cefn Sidan was also the first Welsh beach to win the accolade.

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Much of the investment has been completed with upgrading and extending camping and caravanning including the installation of a new amenity block and the opening of Yr Orsaf restaurant.

Work has already been completed on a national closed road circuit, a BMX pump track, an adventure golf course, a changing places facility at the ski and activity centre and new accessible toilets.

Improvements will soon be underway to upgrade the outside area surrounding Yr Orsaf restaurant and hub to give visitors a better experience.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said a lot of effort has been put into making the park what it is today. He said: “We are thrilled to be receiving this award once again which is only given to those green spaces that have demonstrated high standards. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how important our green spaces are and they clearly provide health benefits for everyone.”

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government.

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Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said: The pandemic showed us just how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities. With more visitors than ever enjoying our green spaces, I’d like to congratulate the hard work of staff and volunteers who have maintained excellent standards at these sites.”

Wales still holds more than a third of the UK’s Green Flag community sites.

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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