Cardiff students create ‘House of the Future’ in green tech education programme


Students from Eastern High School in Cardiff have completed a new STEM education programme, giving them hands on experience of how green technology at home can support the transition to net zero.

65 pupils took part in the ‘House of the Future’ workshops, including 15 students with additional learning needs (ALN). The programme’s multi-sensory approach is proven to boost ALN students’ independence and self-esteem supporting vital academic and career opportunities.

The pilot has been delivered by the leading family-owned construction, residential development and property services company Wates Group, as it works with Cardiff Council on the Cardiff Living development partnership to deliver 1,500 new low-carbon homes across 40 sites in the city over the next decade.

In partnership with Rewise Learning, Wates has created the first ever ‘House of the Future’ kit, which Eastern High students have built and programmed across three workshops, complete with solar energy, underfloor heating and phone charging points that mimic those used for electrical vehicles.

As well as highlighting the critical role that green technologies can play in boosting energy efficiency, the workshops have taught the students about electrical safety and coding, as they worked to assemble the modular building components and wire the basic electronic circuits for the green tech and control centre.

Wates hopes that the programme, will promote an interest in the skills needed to enter sustainable construction and encourage more young people to consider a career in the industry. Each student was also tasked with decorating their house as part of a wider design competition, with the winners announced at an exhibition on 1st December. The festive celebration evening was attended by students and parents, joined by carol singers and mince pies.

Charlie Hargreaves, Regional Social Value Manager at Wates Residential, commented: “It was amazing to see how engaged the students at Eastern High were in building their House of the Future kits, and how switched on the next generation is to the importance of new technologies in tackling the climate crisis. Cardiff is leading the way with green housing developments, so this programme was an excellent way for students to see what’s happening around their city.

“At Wates, we are committed to leaving a lasting legacy wherever we operate, and we know that investing in training, education and skills is a key part of that. We hope that we have been able to inspire these students with STEM education and showcase the careers available in construction, at the same time equipping them with the skills and knowledge to take on the net zero challenge, leaving the planet in safe hands.”

Hayley McCallion, Deputy Head at the Eastern High School, Cardiff, said:

“We were lucky enough to have Wates and Rewise come in to work with a number of our students on the House of the Future Project. Students were instantly engaged and understood the importance of sustainable constructing. Many of the students have since expressed an interest in developing a career in construction and STEM as a direct result of this initiative. We cannot thank Charlie, Oliver and the team enough for their efforts, this is an experience that will remain with the students throughout their lives.”

 Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing at Cardiff Council, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said:

“We’re committed to delivering new low carbon council homes for the future and together with Wates are building sustainable, energy efficient properties that incorporate the latest green technologies.

“The young people in the city, like the Eastern high students who are taking part in this project, are home-owners, tenants, house-builders, engineers and innovators of the future. So this has been a really exciting programme which has helped them learn more about the development of low carbon homes and is a great example of the wider community benefits being delivered via the Cardiff Living scheme.”