An important visit to Tŷ Gwyrddfai, the UK’s first decarbonisation hub

Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change, Julie James has seen at first hand the progress being made with developing a decarbonisation hub in Gwynedd, the first of its kind in the UK. 

Adra Housing Association is leading on the refurbishment of the former Northwood tissue factory in Penygroes which closed four years ago with the loss of nearly 100 manufacturing jobs. The development, called Tŷ Gwyrddfai is a collaborative project between Adra, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai and Bangor University and will transform the site into a decarbonisation hub that will ensure that North West Wales will be at the forefront of the decarbonisation agenda, working with communities and businesses to retrofit over 18,000 homes over the next 10 years.  

During a visit to Tŷ Gwyrddfai today (Friday, 4 August), the Minister heard from Grŵp Llandrillo Menai who will be managing a bespoke training programme on the site. They will deliver tailored decarbonisation and construction skills to young people and existing members of the construction workforce, especially in areas such as exterior wall insulation, installation and servicing of solar panels, air source heat pumps and battery storage. 

Through the involvement of Bangor University, Tŷ Gwyrddfai will also promote innovation in new products, materials and technology to support decarbonisation and climate change adaptation and a “Living Lab” will be established to test and trial new technology and materials aligned to the decarbonisation agenda. 

Tŷ Gwyrddfai already accommodates the head office for Trwsio, Adra’s in-house contractor which employs over 150 staff. Travis Perkins have also set up a depot on site to provide Adra and its contractors with materials and supplies. 

Iwan Trefor Jones, Chief Executive of Adra, said: “We’re delighted that the Minister has seen at first hand the progress being made with the decarbonisation hub. 

“The development will lead to a more qualified and skilled workforce, which will support the local construction sector and ensure that any value generated through decarbonisation and related capital investment will be retained locally. It will also contribute towards reducing carbon emissions in our homes, which in turn will reduce the impact of increasing fuel and energy costs by making our homes more energy efficient and improve the quality of life for our tenants.” 

“There is genuine excitement among the partners and in the region about this project and the social value and positive difference it can achieve to local communities and the local economy. We’re right on track to have the training facilities opening later this year”. 

Paul Bevan, Executive Director at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, – The Tŷ Gwyrddfai project is a fantastic example of how, by working closely with Adra, we can deliver the skills and expertise required by the whole supply chain. Our vision for the facility is to bring the specialist training in zero carbon technologies already delivered at Busnes@LlandrilloMenai’s Centre for Infrastructure, Skills and Technology (CIST) in to the heart of industry and the community. This will support the growth of skills and knowledge in the workforce to drive the roll-out of decarbonisation and retrofitting technologies and services, paving the way for a more sustainable future.  

“This project represents an exciting opportunity for local businesses and companies to lead the way in the transition to a more sustainable future, creating jobs and economic growth while reducing carbon emissions and energy cost for residents. These resources will ensure that local businesses in the construction sector are equipped to take advantage of new opportunities resulting from decarbonisation and housing retrofit”.  

Andrew Edwards, Pro-Vice Chancellor Welsh Language, Civic Engagement and Strategic Partnerships at Bangor University said “The Gwyrddfai collaboration provides the University with a valuable way of translating its sustainability research into real world applications and puts Bangor University’s world-class R&D at the heart of the local and regional decarbonising agenda.  The Living Lab will help test and develop products to retrofit and decarbonise housing stock not only within Adra’s remit, but across the sector.”