South West Wales

Totally Sustainable home in Pencader opens to the public

Hen Ysgol Image copyright Totally Sustainable
Image caption Totally Sustainable in Pencader is a centre of learning, business and a home

A couple who transformed a derelict Carmarthenshire school into one of the most sustainable buildings in Wales will open it to the public on Friday.

Ian and Jayne Hall-Edwards bought the school in Pencader in 2010 with plans of turning it into a home and business.

Six years and over half a million pounds later, the building is totally self-sufficient.

As well as showcasing green technologies, it also aims to inspire people to live more sustainably.

Launching under the name Totally Sustainable, the building's features include:

  • Biomass boilers and room heaters
  • Ground and air source heat pumps
  • Wood stoves and fires
  • Log gasification boilers
  • A green roof
  • Rain water harvesting
  • Bio-digestive sewerage system
  • Under-floor heating
  • Permeable paving
  • Solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and low energy lighting technologies

They are all linked together to save energy and money.

As well as being the couple's home, the building has been set up to train people, trade workers and architects how to incorporate sustainable technologies into their own homes and businesses.

Mr and Mrs Hall-Edwards received a £67,500 grant from the Welsh Government's Economic Growth Fund, and a further £80,000 repayable loan from the Welsh Government.

The couple also invested over £440,000 of their own money in the project.

Image copyright Totally Sustainable
Image caption Totally Sustainable has been showcased on Channel 4's The Restoration Man with George Clarke (pictured right), who stays in touch with Mr and Mrs Hall-Edwards.

'Educate and invigorate'

Mr Hall-Edwards said: "We have created an environment that demonstrates how effective these products are in the home, as well as their ability to save the environment, and save people money.

"To help people take that step we have a purpose-built training room with courses available and it is our aim to educate and invigorate people and trades in becoming truly sustainable."

Mrs Hall-Edwards said: "It has been a long journey for us. We lived in a caravan on site for a few years whilst getting the project finished. Now that the restoration has been fully completed we can now officially welcome visitors."

Jonathan Edwards, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, will officially open the building on Friday, which will be open Monday to Friday every week.

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