Eco skills training houses set up by college

TWO houses are to be erected at the entrance of a Scots college, to provide training in ‘environmentally-friendly’ building skills.

The ECOHOUSE skills centre for sustainable living will comprise two semi-detached houses built at the Livingston entrance of West Lothian College.

Says the college, here, the first of the two houses will be completed to ‘passivhaus’ standard with certified air tightness and thermal properties, and the other will be a shell house for developing the high-level practical skills in a real-life working environment required to achieve passivhaus standards.

Funding to the tune of £493,436 has been provided by the Place Based Investment Programme.

Adds the college, on a webpage devoted to the ECOHOUSE, here: “The passive house will have a living room, kitchen, bedroom and shower room. It will have triple glazing, solar panels, an air source heat pump, heat recovery ventilation, electric car charging and a wind turbine on the roof.

“Training and upskilling opportunities delivered in the passive house will include:

  • Air tightness testing;
  • Thermal imaging;
  • MHVR (heat recovery ventilation) testing;
  • EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) analysis;
  • PV (devices that convert sunlight into electrical energy) installation and analysis;
  • Solar thermal installations; and
  • Electric vehicle maintenance.

“[Meanwhile,] the shell house will be the same size as the passive house but with no interior fittings and no stud partitioning or plaster board on walls or ceilings.

“Designed to deliver training in sustainable construction and test the integrity of the work on completion, the shell house will have the flexibility to build and adapt internal structures to meet the changing needs of the industry and to test different concepts in construction.

“Training and upskilling opportunities delivered in the shell house will include:

  • Installation, testing and commissioning of air source heat pumps;
  • PV panel installations;
  • Solar thermal installations;
  • Alternative forms of internal heating installations;
  • EPC calculations;
  • Air tightness testing and monitoring; and
  • External and internal wall insulation.”

Ground was broken in the company of pre-apprenticeship plumbing students, West Lothian Council leader, Lawrence Fitzpatrick, and college chair, Alex Linkston.

Pictured: Artist’s impression, Picture credit: West Lothian College

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