Lauder builds a greener future

2nd September 2005 at 01:00
Lauder College in Dunfermline is teaming up with the architects responsible for the Scottish Parliament, RMJM, to design and build what they believe is the first facility in Scotland dedicated to sustainability in the construction industry. The architects must be hoping for smoother relationships in this particular venture.

Plans were unveiled this week for "ECOSpace", described as "a highly sustainable training centre aimed at educating students in environmental best practice for the construction industry".

The facility will itself lead by example: it will be built from renewable sources and incorporate renewable energy systems, which will reduce the energy consumption of the building and the impact it will have on the environment. Features will include "breathing wall technology" and a green roof system.

The centre is planned to be "on time and within budget" and should open to students from September next year.

It aims to lead the way in training for sustainable development in construction by encouraging environmentally sustainable work practices, such as waste reduction, reuse of materials, procurement of renewable resources and minimisation of energy consumption.

There will also be a suite of restoration workshops which will train future craftspeople from across Scotland and help the redevelopment of many of the lost skills of the more traditional crafts in construction - an issue which has been of increasing concern to Historic Scotland.

Speaking at the launch, Janet McCauslin, assistant principal at Lauder and lead manager for the project, described it as a "visionary initiative". The new building would increase the college's capacity and allow it to help supply the more than 400 new apprentices required in Fife over the next four years, she said.

ECOSpace will also be educational and includes a range of visible monitoring devices and units that will enable students and visitors to see the energy utilisation and heat loss compared to other parts of the campus.

Demonstration points will allow visitors to see aspects of the infrastructure and mechanical and electrical functions of the building.

Gordon Hood, RMJM director, said: "In addition to the direct benefits of reduced running costs, a sustainable design approach also creates healthier buildings, resulting in contented students and improved output all round."

The new building will also be home to Lauder College's Aspire Centre (Additional Support Programme in Real-life Environments), a new concept in creating real life and work learning environments for students with severe learning difficulties, disabilities and complex needs.

Janet Lowe, Lauder's outgoing principal, said: "Students and their families invest time, money, energy and effort in their learning. In return we invest in quality by working towards excellence."

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