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From the organisers of
 

Welsh slate features on TV\'s \'House for the Future\'

15 July 2001

The BBC in Wales has been involved in project to build an energy efficient \'house for the future\' on the principles of sustainable development.

A competition for the design of the house was won by architects Jestico & Whiles. Their house was described as a natural evolution of traditional Welsh housing responding to local conditions, the climate of Wales and the availability of materials.

One of the materials readily available in Wales is slate. It was not, however, chosen just for the roof, a large part of which is covered by solar panels, but also for the floor.

The slate on the roof was reclaimed from a hospital that the builders, Redrow, just happened to be redeveloping at the time they were building the \'house for the future\'.

But the slate for the floor came fresh from the Cwt-y-Bugail quarry operated by Alfred McAlpine Slate Ltd in north Wales.

Alfred McAlpine Slate are now running the promotional operation Welsh Slate with its showroom in the Business Design Centre in Kensington, London, which they have taken over, to promote their material for uses other than roofing, notably interiors.

However, when the house for the future was being conceived, Welsh Slate was still the promotional group for all the Welsh slate producers and some of Wincilate\'s slate has also been used for the floors in the house.

The McAlpine slate is dark blue grey with a slip resistant riven finish. There are 95m2 of it in the main living area. But for the toilets and utility area the designers wanted a polished slate and turned to Wincilate, about 10m2 of which has been used.

The idea of the house was not just that it would have low energy consumption in use, but that it would also encompass the idea of sustainable development. Slate uses low levels of energy in its production and, being local, required relatively little energy to transport it to site. And, of course, it will give hundreds of years of maintenance free life.

The building of the house was covered by the BBC in the area, who are among the sponsors of the project. Once it was completed they put a family into it to report back on living in the house for the future, giving it plenty of air time over several weeks.

Now the house, which is part of the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans, Cardiff, is open to the public, who can walk round it and enjoy the full beauty of the slate they are treading on.

 

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