Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews cut the ribbon on a pioneering eco-friendly school in Wales yesterday (January 26th).
Gelligaer Greenhill Primary School in Caerphilly was given the official seal approval by Mr Andrews when he led the opening ceremony. The school is the first in England and Wales to gain the coveted A+ Energy Performance Certificate.
Built using £4 million worth of funding from the Welsh government, it is part of the 21st Century Schools Programme and has a raft of features built into it that helps it save energy.
Primary teachers at the school will be some of the first in the country to teach in an establishment that generates its own wind and solar-powered electricity.
Many photovoltaic panels have been included in the building while four wind turbines also help generate energy for the school.
It does not stop there however, as rainwater that lands on the school's roof is collected and utilised to flush toilets, while more than 50 per cent of the water the school uses is recycled.
Commenting on the innovative new primary, the education minister said that the Welsh government was committed to making sure that every child that goes through the country's education system is taught in a 21st century environment that helps maximise the learning experience.
"In December last year, I announced a £1.4 billion investment in our schools through our 21st Century Schools Programme," he said.
"Greenhill Primary shows that previous investment is delivering real results for our schools and communities.
"This state of the art school not only meets the needs of pupils and teachers, but is a shining example of sustainability and energy efficiency - an Energy Performance Certificate rating of A+ is an excellent achievement."
It was not just the school, its pupils and those in teaching jobs there who have benefitted from the new building either.
Local businesses received a big boost, with a Cardiff-based contractor overseeing the construction project employing many subcontractors for the nearby area, creating 22 full-time jobs in the process.
Posted by Theo Foulds