Old Carmarthenshire school transformed into green showcase

Jayne and Ian Hall-Edwards either side of Economy Minister Edwina Hart at Hen Ysgol Jayne and Ian Hall-Edwards either side of Economy Minister Edwina Hart at Hen Ysgol

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An old school in Carmarthenshire is being transformed into a centre to showcase the latest green technologies.

The Hen Ysgol centre in Pencader aims to show the benefits of eco friendly systems to homes and businesses.

Its features include a green roof, rain water harvesting, under-floor heating and an "intelligent" water tank for cheaper water and central heating.

The owners, who run a green technology installation business, are spending £500,000 on the revamp.

The firm, Plumbers, Electricians, Carpenters Ltd, had a £67,500 Welsh government grant towards the costs.

Pumps extracting heat from the air, permeable paving as well as the latest solar panels and insulation are also been used in the building, dating from 1876.

The project has previously featured on Channel Four's The Restoration Man programme.

Hen Ysgol centre The building was sold by the council twenty years ago and had fallen into disrepair

Jayne Hall-Edwards, who set up the business with her husband Ian, said the centre will allow home owners, businesses and school children to see green technologies in action.

"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," she said.

"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."

The company said the grant, from the Wales Economic Growth Fund, had allowed it to take on four apprentices, so that it now employs 11 people.

The firm also plans to offer accredited training courses.

The green roof A green roof sits on top of the office

Economy Minister Edwina Hart visited the project on Tuesday to see how work was progressing.

"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," she said.

The company believes the revamp could be completed in three months but might take between a year and two years, depending on how much further funding it is able to secure.

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