Glasdir Development: Denbighshire County Council

As part of the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools programme, the largest investment in the region’s schools since the 1960s, Denbighshire County Council received a substantial capital grant to rebuild Glasdir’s shared school site in Ruthin.

The £10.5m redevelopment will accommodate 315 pupils from Ysgol Pen Barras and 210 from Rhos Street School, separating the previously shared facilities into two independent buildings.

Ysgol Pen Barras and Rhos Street School are but two of the 150 schools and colleges targeted by the first wave of the £1.4b programme. Its aim is to create sustainable and inspiring learning environments that meet the needs of the community. In addition to providing schools with state-of-the-art facilities to support the delivery of a new curriculum, the prioritised schools would need to meet the UK government’s target of achieving BIM maturity level 2 (BIM2), which now applies to all public assets. More specifically, new build projects are required to achieve BREEAM “Excellent” status, whilst “Very Good” is expected for refurbishments.

The first investment phase continuing until March 2019 will focus on:

  • Reduction of poor condition school buildings
  • Reduction of running costs so as to maximise resources available to target improvements to learner outcomes
  • Promoting sustainability through reducing recurrent costs, energy consumption and carbon emissions

Sensor-controlled LED lighting is a single and immediate contributor to these targets, helping new and refurbished schools to achieve zero carbon status and keep their overheads low, so money can be channelled towards other curricular resources or facilities.

Over the years, Dextra Lighting has developed an extensive range of LED products purpose-built for the educational sector. These products offer low energy and maintenance costs with quick paybacks at affordable prices. Dextra Group’s vast manufacturing and assembling facilities, experience in-house designers, and dedicated transport have long served educational establishments across the UK, ensuring each project is delivered within schedule and budget.

With lighting usually accounting for up to 30% of a school’s energy bills, rising energy prices, cuts to funding and stringent environmental targets to worry about, Dextra Lighting’s solutions have made a notable impact on the sustainability of schools, colleges and universities across the UK. In addition to reduced running costs, the initial capital costs of installing a new system, which may seem daunting to many administrators, is made more affordable, as Dextra’s LED luminaries and control gear appear on the government’s ETL (Energy Technology List), offering ECA (Enhanced Capital Allowance) compliance for a 100% tax levy over the first year of purchase, as well as offering access to a list of energy-efficiency schemes such as Salix and the Carbon Trust’s Energy-Efficiency Financing scheme.

Overall, LED lighting has been widely recognised as a sound investment in the future of educational buildings, which also helps improve the schools’ reputation and image, as well as raising awareness of climate change amongst the community.

Dextra Lighting partnered with Wynne Construction and architects, Lovelock Mitchell Associates to ensure Denbighshire Council’s ambitious vision for the Glasdir schools was fulfilled in the minute details.


A well-lit space is essential for an effective teaching and learning environment. Dextra Lighting were required to provide a complete lighting solution for both schools following BREEAM assessment criteria for lighting design. These guidelines are not only related to energy-efficiency but include elements of light quality as indicated the “Hea 1 Visual Comfort” section – taking into account user well-being, comfort and safety. To achieve as many BREEAM credits as possible, the lighting installation for the Glasdir development was to follow Lighting Guide LG9 CIBSE guidelines, incorporating L2 calculations to ensure the lighting would:

  • Minimise glare
  • Provide task appropriate illumination
  • Integrate with architecture and daylighting design
  • Uniformity / Eliminate unwanted shadowing
  • Sensor controls to maximise efficiency
  • Abide to statutory safety regulations (BS 5266)

In addition to ongoing energy and maintenance savings, the new system was to generate capital savings from the moment of purchase through simplified installation and high-quality, yet affordable, ECA compliant products.

Beyond practicality, the luminaries selected would need to conform to the development’s modern aesthetic; helping to make the school an appealing and inviting environment for pupils and teachers to enjoy.


Classrooms / Library / Staff Offices – Graduate LED & Graduate Recessed

Over the years, the Graduate family of LED luminaries has become a mainstay for schools, colleges and universities nationwide due to its versatility, premium performance and energy-efficiency.

In its linear format, the Graduate LED was customised using a wide range of output packages of up to 11,734llm and three luminaire lengths. A surface-mounted version was provided as well as luminaries with 4-point adjustable suspension cables to suit the ceiling type of each classroom. 1500mm versions of the luminaire were installed in 3052, 3924 and 4800llm outputs, depending on the room size and ceiling height, to achieve the recommended 300lux for classroom activities. The chosen luminaires were compliant to the BSEN 12464 3000 candela glare limit and UGR (Unified Glare Rating) 19, allowing them to support the use computers and other monitors whilst providing added visual comfort.

Main Halls (Gym) – Prosport LED

In each school, the main halls were illuminated by the Prosport LED: a high-performance solution offering excellent light quality at minimal maintenance and energy costs.

As the multi-purpose halls are intended to be used for everything from school assemblies to indoor sports, the luminaire was provided in a 15079llm from a range of outputs, with a symmetrical optic designed to provide the CIBSE recommended 500 to 750lux and a versatile light distribution which would comply to the correct uniformity ratios and glare control requirements.

The Prosport LED offers flexibility at the point of installation, offering suitability for trunking, surface-mounting and suspension to adapt to a wide range of building requirements. Certain luminaires were rigidly suspended from the halls’ tall ceilings, positioned at the desired height for greater coverage.

The Prosport was installed with DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) dimming controls, giving staff the flexibility to switch light levels for different activities and events and can be connected to selected sensors for further energy savings.