Sidmouth firm’s key role in �1.4million EaRTH Centre

The principal of Bicton College last week laid the first brick

A SIDMOUTH building firm is playing a key part in creating a ‘milestone’ building that promises to boost environmental issues.

The principal of Bicton College last week laid the first brick for a �1.48 million EaRTH building - the new environmental and renewable technology training, information and conference centre – which is expected to be finished by spring 2012.

Station Road based firm Skinner Construction, one of the town’s biggest employers, is playing a vital role in the project.

College principal David Henley said: “The Bicton EaRTH centre will be a unique learning environment for a host of users from professional trades people to school children, local community groups and students.

“It will be a fantastic example of environmental practice and renewable technologies and of the college’s commitment to training a new group of professionals able to find rewarding careers and meet the climate change challenge.”

The college said the EaRTH building will generate electrical energy from photo voltaic panels on the south facing roof.

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A solar thermal array and air source heat pump will also provide the dual function of heating and cooling the building via under-floor heating and cooling coils.

A biomass boiler fed by fuel crops grown on the farm will supplement the under floor heating and rainwater will be harvested for use in the centre.

The finished building will have four workshops for practical training in solar thermal and PV, heat pump, biomass and rainwater harvesting installation as well as an interpretation and conference space available for events, workshops and meetings.

The build is financed with funds from Productive Skills for Devon awarded by Devon County Council, Skills Funding Agency and Making it Local, together with sponsorship from the EDF Energy Green Fund and Bicton College.