A former Pencader school is to be transformed into a centre for sustainable technology, including training opportunities for apprentices and school children and a showcase of opportunities for businesses and householders to become involved in sustainability initiatives.
The Welsh Government writes:
An old school building at Pencader, Carmarthenshire, is undergoing a mammoth £500,000 transformation with support from Welsh Government to become a unique training and demonstration centre where an extensive range of sustainable green technologies can be seen in operation.
The Hen Ysgol centre is set to be one of the greenest buildings in the country with the technologies in use and on show throughout the building. Earlier this year the project attracted the attention of Channel 4’s Restoration Man with one episode celebrating the £67,500 grant from the Wales Economic Growth Fund that supports five new jobs.
The technologies that have been installed include: underfloor heating, PV roof panels, solar thermal panels, air to air pumps, air to water pumps, low energy lighting, low energy pumps, permeable paving, a green roof, internal and external wall insulation, double and triple glazing, rain water harvesting, a Bio-digestive tank, multi-fuel wood burning fires and stoves, biomass, to include pellet and log gasification units. All these technologies are linked together with the intelligent buffer tank to provide hot water and central heating on demand at a fraction of the cost of the mainstream fuels.
Hen Ysgol, will be the new operations centre for Plumbers, Electricians, Carpenters Ltd (PECs), a business founded by Jayne and Ian Hall-Edwards who have re-trained in the installation of green technologies and diversifying with a focus now firmly on eco friendly systems.
Jayne explained: ‘The grant support from the Welsh Government was vital in taking our project forward and used towards installing a range of green technologies and also enabled us to take on four apprentices.’
Economy Minister Edwina Hart visited the site today (Tuesday August 19) to see how work is progressing. The Minister said ‘It is an extremely interesting project and I am pleased the Wales Economic Growth Fund made an important contribution. It is not only bringing an historic building back into use but ensures it will continue to play a part in the life of the local community, offering training opportunities, helping to create and secure jobs and provide educational experiences for local school children.’
The large showroom and salesroom will enable home owners and businesses to see the technologies in action before buying, while working ‘child friendly’ models will be displayed throughout to help school children understand and learn in a safe environment.
Jayne added: ‘We aim to raise awareness of what is available, savings that can be made and which technologies can be linked with customers’ existing primary heat source. They will be able to see a range of working displays such as solar photovoltaic and rain water harvesting, where they will be able to push a button and see them work. A large underfloor heating pod display will show the various types of underfloor heating available, where people will be able to take off their shoes and feel the difference in temperature by standing on the various floor coverings.’
In addition to supplying and installing the systems they plan to run a range of accredited training courses providing a residential package using local B&B operators and sourcing food locally to bring additional benefits to the local community. The company employs eleven people, including four apprentices, with opportunities for additional employment as the business – which has a full order book well into next year – grows.