Caerphilly County Borough Council
Greenhill Primary School, Gelligaer




Name of client Caerphilly CBC
Contract value £3.95m (includes external works and renewable technologies)
Project Manager Geraint Jones, CCBC
Architect Geraint Jones, CCBC
Quantity Surveyor Phil Evans, CCBC
Mechanical Engineer Trevor Hockley, McCann and Partners
Electrical Engineer Mike Phillips, CCBC
Structural Engineer John Jones, Waterman
Clerk of Works Colin Doyle, CCBC
Planning Supervisor Andrew Young, CCBC
Landscape Architect Fiona Cloke, CCBC
Main Contractor Mark Cowley, Vinci PLC


Project Description

The new Greenhill Primary School replaced an existing 1960s school with a new, state of the art facility. Construction of the new school began in March 2010 and the school was handed over in May 2011. The design was led by Caerphilly CBC in house staff.

The £4.5m project is part of the Council’s Capital Programme and was made possible by a Welsh Assembly Government’s 21st Century Schools Transition Grant of £4m.

The school has 7 classrooms, a nursery, hall, kitchen, library, IT room, music room, 2 special resource bases and administration facilities. The terraced external spaces include an amphitheatre for outdoor learning, a wetland area, forest walks and soft play areas.

The school includes wind turbines and the largest array of PV panels yet installed on a school in the UK. The school will generate more electricity than it consumes and is carbon negative for electricity. It has been given an EPC Rating of A+ which is a first for school in the UK. Futhermore the BREEAM score will exceed 83% again the highest for a school in the UK.  BREEAM outstanding is possible.

The building is of traditional construction and the sustainable objectives have been achieved by cost effective design. The build cost for the school inclusive of external works and the renewable technologies equates to some £2,100 psqm which is exceptional value for money. .
The school sets new benchmarks for energy self sufficiency and cost effective sustainable design.



CCBC is committed to the climate change agenda and its Carbon Reduction Strategy including reducing the carbon impact of Authority buildings by replacement or improvement.  Accordingly all new or refurbished schools or school extensions are designed to be highly thermally efficient with the minimization of running costs and the consequential reduction in carbon footprint a key consideration and the BREEAM Excellent standard is regarded as a minimum and is bettered wherever cost effective.
The Replacement Greenhill Primary School is exemplar of this approach and a clear demonstration of CCBCs commitment to carbon reduction.


b7fde79dd6Highlights of the design and construction
  • Optimised building orientation, use of shading and natural ventilation.
  • Extremely well insulated building envelope with U values up to 60% less than building regulation requirement.
  • Four 2m diameter wind turbines exploit the elevated and exposed site location.
  • A 66 kWp array of PV panels covering 490 sqm – thought to be the largest on a school in the UK.
  • Air leakage from building fabric only some 6 m3/hr/m2 @ 50Pa.
  • Surplus electricity will be exported and Feed in Tariffs will be claimed for all renewable energy produced.
  • Gas powered combined heat and power unit (CHP).
  • Rainwater harvesting with over 50% of total water used recycled.
  • High efficiency lighting with PIR and daylight sensing controls.
  • Materials used in construction contain more than 15% recycled content
  • More than 75% of non hazardous construction and demolition waste recycled



Benchmarks and records set
  • First school in the UK to achieve Energy Performance Certificate Rating of A+
  • Highest BREEAM score (at least 83.5% and >85% OUTSTANDING is possible) for a school anticipated. Current record 78.1%
  • Largest PV array on a school in the UK
  • More electricity will be generated on and within the building annually than is used by the school
  • Building is carbon negative for electricity
  • Thought to be the most energy self sufficient school in UK
  • Overall carbon footprint reduced by 30 tonnes when compared to school it replaces.
  • Running costs will be reduced by some £3,000 per annum.

Feed in Tariff income circa £16,000 per annum.



Milica Kitson, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in Wales, presenting Joint Winner 2011 CLAW Sustainability Award to Cllr. Colin Mann and Geraint Jones of Caerphilly County Borough Council. Also in the picture are Cllr. Keith Evans, Chairman of CLAW and Garet Nutt, Chairman of the Board of Nominated Officers.