Design for Future Climate: Coldmill School, Ebbw Vale


The new build school is designed for 1200 students and will be regarded as an educational resource with regard to sustainability, promoting a positive environmental curriculum. It is a part of the wider redevelopment of the former steelworks site at Ebbw Vale in Blaenau Gwent.


The Coldmill school (11-16) is a part of a larger Learning Works development, an educational, cultural and leisure centre. The development will also include a special educational needs school, an integrated children's centre, a post-16 centre for all vocational and academic learning in Bleanau Gwent call the Learning Zone, an arts centre and a sports and leisure centre. Specifically for the Coldmill school, the objective is to develop a set of tested adaptation measures and packages that will mitigate projected future climate change risks and ensure a standard of comfort and sustainability desired from the new school. The aims to meet this goal involve:

  • Establish the extent of climate change impact and risk for the school;
  • Minimise the risk and negative impacts of climate change via adaptations that have been proven to be effective through simulation and empirical research.


The following areas of impact for the school are tested and adaptation is developed in response:

  • Impact on comfort (interior and exterior);
  • Building structure and materials;
  • Water management.

A risk-based assessment was conducted to evaluate potential climate change hazards and impacts drawing from the probabilistic UK Climate Projections 2009. Based on the assessment, climate change adaptation packages for comfort were developed by conducting the following steps:

  1. Adaptation measures for comfort mentioned in Design for Future Climate report (Gething 2010) were considered;
  2. The adaptation measures which are applicable for Ebbw Vale school development were selected;
  3. To test the performance of these individual adaptation measures, detailed building level energy models were built in the building thermal simulation package IES;
  4. Adaptation packages which are the combinations of the most effective individual adaptation measures were proposed for Ebbw Vale school project. The performances of these adaptation packages were then tested on the building model under current, 2030s, 2050s and 2080s’ climate;
  5. If active cooling is needed, adaptation packages for air conditioned building are then tested, and the timeline of application of adaptation packages are then summarised.

Adaptation measures for construction and water were given at the end based on empirical experience.


The research provides adaptation packages that are found to be technically effective in responding to the negative impacts of climate change and that might further reduce the risk of on-going climate change.



Research Reports

  • Gupta, R. and Gregg, M., 2011. Future climate changes projections for Ebbw Vale 11-16 school project. Submitted to Building Design Partnership, Bristol
    Dated: July 2011
  • Gupta, R. and Du, H., 2012. Overheating metrics and base IES model report - Ebbw Vale 11-16 school project. Submitted to Building Design Partnership, Bristol
    Dated: April 2012
  • Gupta, R. , Du, H. and Gregg, M., 2012. Climate change adaptation report - Ebbw Vale 11-16 school project. Submitted to Building Design Partnership, Bristol
    Dated: July 2012


Workshops & Conferences

  • Design for Future Climate Showcase Conference 2012. London, UK
    Dated: June 2012


Professor Rajat Gupta

Low Carbon Building Group

School of Architecture
Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP