Ainsley Gommon Architects

Client

First Choice Housing Association

Location

Wrexham

Value

£195,000

Date Completed

January 2021

Development Overview

The Acorns FlexiHome is a pilot scheme delivering a low carbon self-contained wheelchair flat joined to an existing bungalow. The project is the first in a range of sustainable and adaptable dwelling prototypes by First Choice Housing Association designed to respond quickly to an identified housing need for vulnerable and disabled residents. Constructed largely offsite using Modern Methods of Construction, the project was completed after only 12 weeks onsite and was part funded by Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme Year 3.

The FlexiHome adopts a Fabric-First approach and is extremely energy efficient, supported by numerous sustainable and renewable technologies. Post-occupancy monitoring and evaluation is being undertaken to provide vital feedback on the building performance and to highlight ‘Performance Gap’ issues and improve future iterations of roll out delivery.

The FlexiHome has achieved a SAP rating of 120A, with highly insulated Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPS) used for the walls and roof, constructed from Welsh timber and filled with wood fibre insulation in a local North Wales factory and fitted together on site. Highly insulated AAA rated timber composite triple glazed windows were installed. Building Integrated Photovoltaic sheets (BIPVCo PV Panels) have been applied directly onto the metal standing seam roof to provide onsite electricity generation, which is combined with a Tesla Powerwall battery storage to ensure generated electricity can be stored until required on demand. An Air Source Heat Pump with Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery was also provided.

Wanting to deliver a high-tech solution internally as well, First Choice Housing worked with the Innovate Trust to provide integrated technologies which provide additional support to the resident. Voice-activated smart-blinds are provided to all windows, and the TV/Internet, lighting, security, heating and monitoring are all voice controlled. A fully accessible kitchen and bathroom are provided complete with high tech fittings, making the home as accessible as possible and allowing the resident to live as independently as possible.