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Sustainability in Construction units to be added to curriculum as College continues journey to net zero

As we continue our journey to becoming a net zero college, the Construction Department has made further strides to update staff and learners in key topics.

In recent months, nearly all of the construction lecturers have received training and passed a course on sustainability in construction, delivered by The Green Register (TGR).

TGR trains construction professionals from all disciplines of the industry to build better, more sustainable buildings. They cover all aspects of sustainable building practices from healthy buildings, passivhaus and retrofitting older buildings through to highly technical training sessions on the holistic management of heat, moisture and air tightness.

Another way our curriculum staff have been supported with the ‘net-zero’ aim is through a series of masterclasses. Teaching and technical support staff have attended a range of net zero presentations and training sessions, including lime plastering, airtightness, insulation, waste management, solar thermal systems, low carbon technologies, heat pumps and structural timber.

The lecturers who attended the masterclass will now be looking to develop a resource bank to launch a new unit ‘Sustainability in Construction’, which will be part of the curriculum of our Level 1 and Level 2 trade programmes from September 2022.

Head of Construction, Derek Hassack, said: The partnership with Green Register has been an outstanding venture for us. Lecturers have been able both to exercise their own skills and knowledge in sustainable topics – which for some is already extensive – as well as being updated on the latest developments in net zero construction. Most importantly, we’re now in a position to integrate real and significant environmentally-friendly approaches across the Construction curriculum. So, it’s our learners – the workforce of the future – who will be the big winners. The Sustainability in Construction project has given us the chance to deliver meaningful, real-world training which is not just lip-service to the green agenda – it is actually making a difference.”

This development in the curriculum is aligned to our aims to become net zero and create an eco-friendly college.

With more than 11,000 students and 800 staff, the impact of our establishment on the environment cannot be ignored, which is why we have invested £1million in making sustainability a key priority.

We are working with Carbon Trust to create a Carbon Management Plan which will see us invest in a biomass boiler, rainwater harvest, solar thermal panels, low-energy lighting and more.

We are already ahead of the game in recycling and waste management, recycling 70% of office waste and now segregating more and more waste for recycling, including metal, wood and other materials.

In line with this, we have already begun increasing the use of recycled paper by 50% and have made great strides to encourage staff and students to use alternative forms of transport to travel to and from centres, which will be made easier by our recently-announced partnership with The Big Issue to utilise their e-bikes.

As a multi-site college, we are now looking for further ways to improve the sustainability of our buildings. The Advanced Construction Skills Centre, which opened in September 2021 to the first cohort of students, was built with sustainability in mind, with LED lighting, insulation and a roof which promotes rainfall drain-off as well as solar panels.

At South Bristol Skills Academy, the Centre won the 2011 Bristol Civic Society Environment Award and was celebrated for its efficient use of energy, having harvested 1,127,000 litres of rainwater, saved 530 tonnes of carbon dioxide and generated 25kw of heat using solar panels.

You can find out more about our sustainability goals.

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