A Birmingham college is investing more than £8 million to create a sustainable hub for students taking new environmentally friendly courses.
Work has already begun on the Sustainable Energy Centre at Birmingham Metropolitan College's James Watt campus in Great Barr which is due to be completed in October.
The new centre has been designed to be environmentally self-sufficient, helping to reduce its carbon footprint by creating heat and power through solar technology, electricity and water and will be one of the first campuses to house its own hydrogen fuel cell for teaching purposes.
The £8.5million investment, of which £2.9million is grant funded by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), will create a new reception area, hall and learning resources centre with improved access and will provide enhanced study centres and working spaces.
New courses will include biomass boilers, ground source heat pumps, solar PV and thermal and grey water harvesting, as well as hydro generation and rapid prototyping.
John Starmer, executive director of estates at Birmingham Metropolitan College, said: "This substantial investment in a new Sustainable Energy Centre at one of our main campuses in Birmingham is really exciting for students, staff and partner employers who use the facilities.
"The investment will focus on green technology which will allow the campus to be environmentally self-sufficient by generating our own energy and making a significant contribution to reducing the carbon footprint.
"Our commitment to supporting the national sustainability agenda will be complemented by the introduction of a range of vibrant and active environmentally-focused workshops and teaching areas, some of which will be sponsored by leading employers Baxi, Thorlux and Samsung."
Award-winning construction company Speller Metcalfe, based in Worcester, has been appointed as contractor and will provide masterclass sessions for a range of students studying construction trades and built environment courses at other campuses.
The company will also recruit five construction apprentices and provide work experience placements for students as well as sourcing up to 70 per cent of its sub-contractor workforce from the local community.
Steve Speller, joint managing director at Speller Metcalfe, said: "We were delighted to have been successful in our bid to contribute to this exciting project for Birmingham Metropolitan College.
"As a company with a clear focus on sustainability we understand the importance of building for the future and it is fantastic that the college is considering their environmental impact for the longer term which will also provide a sustainable legacy for the students who study here."
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