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Heritage centre for elderly set to be nearly zero-carbon

Pioneering sustainable features a priority at Llandaff Pound community hub

A computer generated image of what The Pound will look like, courtesy of Downs-Merrifield Architects

A FORMER toilet at Llandaff Pound is being converted into an eco-friendly activity centre for the elderly, with a carbon footprint of almost zero.

Llandaff 50+, a charity seeking to reduce loneliness among Cardiff’s elderly population, is renovating the building with the help of Severn Wye Energy Agency, the Welsh Government and architect Carolyn Merrifield.

Carolyn, of Downs-Merrifield Architects, specialises in remodelling older buildings to make them more energy efficient.

“We are excited to be involved with such an innovative project,” she said.

“The Pound will be one of the first near zero carbon retrofits in Cardiff and will show how small buildings and homes can be improved to meet the needs of the climate change emergency.”

The centre will have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of A, the best possible out of eight categories, thanks to the addition of solar slates and panels, triple-glazing, a rainwater harvesting tank, and a heat exchanger.

According to consumer watchdog Which?, the average EPC rating for a home in the UK is D.

the building will belong in category ‘A’ with the best possible energy efficiency
Image: Which?

As well as hosting activities for elderly community members, the centre will be open to schools so children can learn about sustainability, which is now an essential part of the national curriculum.

Yvonne Apsitis, Chair of Llandaff 50+, said: “This is a great opportunity to work across generations and for older people to show they are trying to improve sustainability for future age groups.”

Diana Langmaid, treasurer of the group, added: “It would be irresponsible in this day and age not to include these features.”

Another computer generated image of The Pound design, courtesy of Downs-Merrifield Architects

The Pound is in a conservation area and sits next to the 13th Century Bishop’s Palace, meaning any alterations must complement the area’s historical characteristics.

As such, solar slates that appear like regular tiles will be used on areas of the roof visible from the road.

The Pound will be one of the first buildings in Wales to install the slates, which are manufactured by Treforest company GB Sol.

50+ member John Bethell with one of the solar slates

The Welsh Government Community Facilities Programme has donated £250,000 to the project, while the nearby Plasdwr development has also made contributions.

However, a further £50,000 is needed to complete the conversion and run the centre sustainably.

Llandaff 50+ has set up a crowdfunding page online, through which they aim to raise £10,000. They hope the remaining money can be sourced by pioneers and “Pound founders” – local patrons, of which there are currently 34.

Seminars will be held at The Pound for architects, engineers and ecologists to learn about the latest in eco-friendly design.

Cardiff contractors A&N Lewis began the conversion in November, following a community archaeological dig led by Dr Tim Young of GeoArch.

The Pound is expected to open in the spring and will also house a heritage information centre for visitors to the historic ward, staffed by volunteers.

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