A delegation from Bolton at Home visiting Ty Gwyrddfai.

North West meets North Wales in decarbonisation hub fact finding mission

A delegation from a Bolton housing association in Greater Manchester made the journey to Gwynedd last week to see at first hand the work creating the UK’s first decarbonisation hub in Penygroes.

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, Grwp 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,  the delegation from Bolton learnt about the training pods that will be developed by Grwp Llandrillo Menai.  They will deliver bespoke and tailored decarbonisation and construction curriculum to new entrants directly from school, as well as training programmes for 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. Apprenticeship programmes will also be delivered by Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.

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 will materials and supplies.

Iwan Trefor Jones, Chief Executive of Adra, said: “We were delighted to welcome representatives of Bolton at Home to hear at first hand the progress being made with the decarbonisation hub.

“They were extremely interested to hear our plans in North West Wales and how we are addressing the decarbonisation agenda in such an innovative way.  Many organisations have heard about the development and we have hosted numerous visits to the site to discuss our approach.

“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”.