A new sustainable house aimed at giving students hands-on experience with sustainable technologies has opened at Cheshire College’s Ellesmere Port campus. The £680,000 project addresses the ever-increasing demand for environmentally friendly properties as well as the skills gap in sustainable construction methods.
The College’s fully functioning sustainable house was built by local specialist WUDL, and has been fitted with the latest sustainable technologies, such as ground source heat pumps, photovoltaic solar panels and green walls from partner businesses, all within a 50-mile radius of the college.
A sustainable house is a voluntary set of building standards that aim to create houses and other structures that are comfortable and healthy yet consume very little energy.
The idea behind the project is that students will get to work on the new house in a real life setting without the risk associated with it being someone’s home. This hands-on approach will help students of all ages develop new skills and tackle the UK’s current skills shortage.
Mark Parsons, Assistant Principal of Curriculum has overseen the project, he said: “Learning is very different when you can use your senses: to see and touch the house is a change from looking at an image on screen or in the classroom. As a T Level provider, we understand the importance of this kind of on-the-job experience which is why we are excited to see our students use this new house to learn new skills that will have a positive impact on not only them as individuals but the planet.”
The house will allow students to work on the maintenance, as well as installation of sustainable features, for example looking at the servicing of ground source heat pumps and how they work. They will also get to examine the analytics of the home on the courses at levels 2, 3 and 4, to see what savings can be achieved, both financial and environmental, through the seasons.
However, the project is not just for school leavers but for the wider community and adult students too, in order to upskill the issue of the aging work force both nationally and locally.
Courses will be offered to businesses whose employees may not be familiar with more modern technologies, allowing them to upskill and take their learnings to projects across the country. The project also addresses the issue of aging housing stock in the UK, future proofing those homes by giving students the knowledge and skills to upgrade those homes.
The students will be able to monitor everything on the house, from inside and outside temperatures – on a cloudy day, a rainy day, right down to testing when the photovoltaic energy cells get dirty – how efficiently are they running at that point in time.
Many of the students that will work on house will be studying T Levels. T Levels equip students with the real-life technical skills that are valued and required by employers in various industries.
To learn more, visit the Cheshire College – South and West website.