Pre-apprenticeship plumbing students witnessed the breaking of ground on the site of West Lothian College’s new ECOHOUSE development.

The ECOHOUSE skills centre for sustainable living will comprise two semi-detached houses built at the entrance to the college’s Livingston campus. The build will be complete by summer 2023 and training delivered in the skills centre will help the move towards a net zero carbon economy in West Lothian.

Breaking ground were Leader of West Lothian Council Lawrence Fitzpatrick and Chair of West Lothian College Alex Linkston.

Councillor Fitzpatrick said:

“We are delighted to support West Lothian College’s ECOHOUSE project with £493,436 from the Place Based Investment Programme. The green economy is only going to grow in the future, and it’s vital we give our young people the skills they need to secure good jobs in this developing area.”

Executive councillor for Economy, Community Empowerment and Wealth Building, Kirsteen Sullivan added:

“It’s fantastic to see this innovative project to develop sustainable construction skills developed by West Lothian College. This unique approach will help make sure West Lothian has a key role to play in developing the workforce with the skills to drive forward the net zero economy going forward.”

Chair of West Lothian College Alex Linkston said:

“The ECOHOUSE is unique in Scotland. It is the first development to have two buildings, one completed to platinum building standard with certified air tightness and thermal properties, and the other, a shell house for developing the high-level practical skills in a real-life working environment required to achieve passive house standards.

“This state-of-the-art training facility will upskill current workers in sustainable construction skills and renewable energies. It will help to create a pipeline of future skilled workers.”

Training and upskilling opportunities delivered in the ECOHOUSE will include air tightness testing, MVHR (Mechanical Ventilation with heat recovery) testing, EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) calculations, solar thermal installations, installing, testing and commissioning of air source heat pumps, air tightness testing and monitoring, and external and internal wall insulation.