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Woodknowledge Wales

February 2021 Newsletter

Dear <<First Name>>,

Welcome to our February 2021 newsletter. 

The research phase of the Home-Grown Homes Project is now all but complete. The key reports and guidance documents are published and available on our website. This feels like a good moment to thank Powys County Council for their foresight in commissioning the project, which has been extremely influential and is now a focus for a collaborative approach to the expansion of the Local Authority build programme. 

We’re delighted to have secured some seed-funding from Welsh Government Housing to initiate the implementation phase of the Home-Grown Homes project. Meeting Welsh Government's decarbonisation aspirations is going to require the most radical transformation in housing quality and performance ever seen – in both new build and retrofit. We believe the guidance tools that we developed in the Home-Grown Homes project will provide the foundation to support housing clients in the roll-out of the emerging net zero whole life carbon social housing standards.

The Welsh assembly elections are drawing near. Our policy document ‘5 Essential Strategies for an Emerging Forest Nation’ has been sent to all the main political parties with the aim of influencing their manifestos. Whoever wins the election, we’re confident that the forest industries' role in supporting decarbonisation and creating employment will be the focus of substantial policy attention.

In collaboration with Bangor University, Woodknowledge Wales have won a UK-wide tender to research the top 5 alternative conifer species for the UK. We’re extremely proud to have been selected for this research project, but the extent to which climate change is causing widespread tree disease and disruption to timber supply chains is truly frightening. There is certainly a pressing need to widen the basket of commercial conifer species available to industry.

Woodknowledge Wales are collaborating with the ASBP in the Timber Accelerator Hub to address the critical problem of insurance barriers to the use of timber in construction which have become particularly acute in the policy response to the Grenfell Tower fire. Just because wood can burn, does not mean that it is not fire safe. Woodknowledge Wales believes that fire regulations need to be based on science, evidence and risk and not on a simple notion of combustibility. In fact, I believe that where regulations become a barrier to rapid decarbonisation, the regulations should be reviewed in a rational and balanced way.

After the success of our autumn webinar series last year, we are now gearing up for an extensive programme of events in late February and March as part of our Forest Nation Centre programme of activities. Please visit our events page.

Finally, I’d like to welcome the award winning social enterprise Down to Earth as a new member.

Gary Newman
Chief Executive, Woodknowledge Wales Ltd

Net Zero Carbon Homes For Wales

Home-Grown Homes Project Results

How could a timber supply chain based on local forestry products support the delivery of low carbon social housing in Wales? 
Access key findings, practical tools and guidance for social housing developers, architects and engineers, timber frame manufacturers and wood processors, forestry managers and land owners here.

5 Essential Strategies for Wales

Wales is not a forest nation. Wales is a sheep, beef and dairy nation. Wales is a steel nation. We are proposing five integrated strategies for how Wales can achieve a socially just transition to become a high-value forest nation creating substantial employment. 
Read more here

Minimising The Performance Gap

New homes often fail to meet low-energy targets, and to satisfy residents with fundamental issues such as ease of use, summer comfort and energy costs. There is little Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) happening routinely on projects to close the performance gap. A step change is needed to transition to net zero carbon while making our homes comfortable, healthy and enjoyable. Read more here

Events & Training

ASBP Healthy Buildings Conference - 24 February

We need a paradigm shift in how we characterise a good performing building, focusing on the need to put human health at the heart of metrics. The ASBP Healthy Buildings Conference returns online with a number of inspirational speakers and technical sessions. 
Book your place here.

Launch: Embodied Carbon Guidance - 2 March

Woodknowledge Wales and ASBP are inviting you to the official launch of their new Embodied Carbon guide for social housing developers, their design teams, contractors and suppliers. Book your place here.

Launch: Building Performance Evaluation Guide - 4 March

Woodknowledge Wales and Good Homes Alliance are inviting you to the official launch of their new Building Performance Evaluation guide. Book your place here.

Delivering Net Zero Carbon Housing in Wales - 9 March

Join CE Wales and Woodknowledge Wales on 9th March for a webinar on policy and practice to deliver net zero carbon housing in Wales. Book your place here.

Forest Nation Centre Courses

The transition to a low carbon society requires know-how. Our Forest Nation Centre programme provides online training for social housing developers, design teams, contractors and suppliers. The programme offers courses in Retrofitting, Building Performance Evaluation, Embodied Carbon, Energy Demand and Offsetting. Find all events here

Learn with TRADA Live 

Covering a cross-section of timber topics this webinar series focuses on critical industry issues such as fire safety design and post-Brexit regulations as well as the fundamentals of timber. Further information.

New Members

Welcome Down to Earth 

Down to Earth uses the process of building with natural materials to deliver health care and education programmes to people from vulnerable and disadvantaged background. They are currently building 6x social, affordable homes for Coastal Housing Group. 

Get Involved
Woodknowledge Wales is an independent for-public-good membership organisation committed to the development of wood-based industries to benefit the economy, the environment and the people of Wales. Our work would not be possible without the support and collaboration of our Members.

To get involved and to find out about member benefits please contact us today at
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