New schools in Wales must be net zero from 2022

As reported by BBC News, new school and college buildings in Wales will have to meet net zero targets from January

Major refurbishments, extensions and new builds will have to be in line with standards aimed at achieving maximum energy efficiency. Llancarfan Primary School will be the first new school. Education minister Jeremy Miles said the new rules would help reverse climate change damage.

The £5m Vale of Glamorgan school will generate its own power and have electric car chargers. As well as aiming to be energy efficient once built, the building process should also limit carbon emissions. Assistant site manager Dafydd Williams said everything was geared towards achieving net zero.

“Everything is measured correctly so we don’t have too much material,” he said.

“Everything in this building is procured using local contractors, obviously saving on the carbon of them travelling from a distance.”

The firm is also trialling the use of electric forklifts on site.

The new Welsh government rules demand a 20% cut in carbon emitted by construction and the sourcing of materials. And they are set to get stricter. Education minister Jeremy Miles said it was “an important contribution to our ambitious plan” of a net zero Wales by 2050.

“We’re seeing an improvement in the school estate year-on-year right across Wales,” he said.

“But there are many older schools in Wales and it is a greater challenge to make sure they play their part.”

They are being examined to see what improvements need to be made.

“That will enable us to come up with a plan over time to retrofit those schools as well,” Miles said.

He said Llancarfan school would feature QR codes which, when scanned, explain the building’s technology and how it helps tackle climate change. Deputy head teacher Frances Williams described the new site as “the 21st century school that we’ve been dreaming of”.

“We’ve been doing project work in school based on new technologies and we’re hoping that learning will continue as we move across as well,” she said.

The new school will be in Rhoose, rather than four miles away in its namesake village of Llancarfan where the current school is. The move has upset some, with more than 1,000 people opposing the plans over two consultations.

Williams remained enthusiastic, adding: “The facilities are absolutely amazing and the learning opportunities that those are going to bring are equally exciting for us.”

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