Entrance to Highfields


Utilising a constrained brownfield site in a highly sustainable location, Cardiff council appropriated the former Highfields Day Centre site into the council’s house building programme to deliver much needed affordable housing in a ward with high demand but low supply.

Highfields is our flagship low energy–certified Passivhaus development being delivered through our award winning Cardiff Living partnership with Wates Residential.

And it’s a programme that keeps delivering! Due to the partnering approach we have developed with Wates, we were able to undertake an enabling package of works far in advance of the main contract being agreed. This has significantly de-risked the project and reduced the overall programme.

42 affordable homes will be handed over in the autumn of 2022 including 30 fully Passivhaus certified, traditionally constructed apartments over three storeys, and 12 low energy – Passivhaus Lite certified twin stud timber frame houses. All properties are certified by the Passivhaus institute.

Using the two standards of Passivhaus certification enables us to monitor all properties to assess how they perform once constructed and generate some real data to compare the performance of Passivhaus lite versus full Passivhaus. The scheme is included within a wider low-carbon building monitoring project with Cardiff Met university.

The existing site constraints (and there were many!) meant that the design team had to work extremely hard to ensure the site layout could deliver a Passivhaus compliant development. To ensure that the ‘performance gap’ between design and delivery is robustly managed the site team undertook Passivhaus training and have implemented very tight quality control measures on site. The on-site management of the work has been truly impressive.

Achieving a Passivhaus certified scheme is one of the key objectives of the Cardiff Living programme. We wanted to test this type of development and get a first-hand view from tenants of their experience of living in a Passivhaus home.

The scheme was awarded an Innovative Housing programme grant from Welsh Government

The scheme provides low energy, air-tight, highly insulated, affordable homes with low running life cycle costs helping reduce residents energy usage and reduce carbon emissions. This also helps to tackle fuel poverty and forms part of our wider strategy of delivering a low-carbon build programme.
The scheme will deliver 42 new Homes in total including:

  • 5 x 1 bed Apartments
  • 25 x 2 bed Apartments
  • 12 x 2-bed Mews Houses

The Mews houses are designed to be an ideal starter home particularly as the heating bills will be extremely low.

In addition to the new homes a great deal of green infrastructure is being delivered to ensure we create an attractive place to live and we have a positive impact within the local community.

The apartment block has been designed to achieve full Passivhaus certification, with high levels of insulation and low air permeability providing homes that require less energy to heat and lower energy bills for residents.

The mews style houses were designed to achieve a less demanding Passivhaus-lite standard. However, the attention to detail by the site team during construction to-date have resulted in early-stage air test results that better the full Passivhaus certification requirements.

Whilst gas is still being used as the primary source of heating and hot water the latest (Hydrogen Ready) Viessmann Vitodens 200-W combi boilers are being used; Energy efficiency is further enhanced through the use of MVHR heat recovery and triple glazing.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or concerns about this project, please contact us.