The Alex Linkston Skills Centre for Sustainable Living

The Alex Linkston Skills Centre for Sustainable Living, also know as the ECOHOUSE, is the development of two semi-detached houses on campus at West Lothian College.

Funded by £493,436 from West Lothian Council’s Place Based Funding allocation from the Scottish Government, the ECOHOUSE was officially opened in September 2023 by Graeme Dey MSP, Minister for Higher and Further Education, and is part of the college’s contribution to achieving Scotland’s net zero ambitions.

The first of its kind in Scotland, the new centre has two houses, and training delivered here will help meet the ever-changing needs of industry sectors that aim to meet the challenges of reaching a net zero carbon economy. It will also support adaptable, independent living.

The ECOHOUSE is a state-of-the-art training facility that supports the development of skills, knowledge and practical experience in sustainable construction as well as efficient and effective renewable energies – all underpinned by current and new technologies.

The ECOHOUSE will:

  • Help create high value green jobs
  • Upskill the current workforce in sustainable construction skills and create a future pipeline of skilled workers
  • Help put West Lothian at the heart of sustainable development
  • Support the drive for a net zero carbon economy
  • Develop skills in smart technologies for sustainable independent living at home.

Within it's two buildings – one is completed to Platinum Building standards with certified air tightness and thermal properties, the other a shell house for developing the high-level practical skills in a real-life working environment required to achieve Platinum Building standards.

The main 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 and electric car charging. Training and upskilling opportunities delivered in the Platinum Standard 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) analysis
  • Electric vehicle charging.

The shell house is the same size as the main 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 has 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 includes:

  • 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
  • External and internal wall insulation

For more information about West Lothian College's ECOHOUSE, contact Diane Mitchell, Director for Computing, Engineering and Built Environment - DMitchell@west-lothian.ac.uk or Steven Morrison, Learning and Skills Manager - smorrison@west-lothian.ac.uk 

Read more about the new skills centre, as it sets to ramp up the college's net zero efforts