Not too cool for school: pupils set to keep classrooms warm

A new Welsh primary school opened its doors to pupils this week and has become the first institution of its kind to be heated by ‘kiddywatts’.  

Known as Ysgol Gymraeg y Trawllwng, which is located in Welshpool, Powys, the primary school has become the first hybrid ‘passivhaud’ – a German term used to describe buildings that have the highest standards of energy efficiency – building in the UK.

brown and white concrete building

Currently there are 89 students in the school with space for 150 in total.

The Welsh language school has been fitted with a ventilation unit that moves warm air, generated by students, around the building. As a result of this, the school has no gas central heating in the building.

Initially reported by the BBC, Ian Pilcher, of Powys Council, said the warmth generated by the pupils is informally understood as ‘kiddywatts’.

As well as installing a ventilation unit, to ensure the heat stays in the building the school has triple-glazed windows, highly insulated walls and an airtight construction, meaning that very little energy is lost. Air source heat pumps also provide background heat and solar panels on the building’s roof generates electricity.

The creation of the UK’s first energy-efficient school has been made possible through a hybrid project – the hall and classrooms from the primary school have been joined to the old Maesydre school, which was designed in the 19th century.

Initial plans were to demolish the building and re-build, however, after the establishment was awarded a Grade II listed status five years ago, a redesign of the project was needed to include the building.

The project has been in talks since 2017 and a report to Powys Council in 2021 said the expected cost of the project had increased to £9.1m from £6.7m due to the collapse of a construction firm. However, the increase was agreed by the Welsh government, which is co-funding the project.

Council Cabinet member, Pete Roberts said: ‘The estimated final costs of the project are still to be finalised but the project is not expected to be over budget.

‘Ysgol Gymraeg y Trallwng is the council’s flagship Welsh-medium school in north east Powys and our ambition is to ensure that the school is full in a few years’ time.’

Image: Erika Fletcher


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