Look inside Scotland's net zero home, being used to train the green engineers of the future
These are just a few of the cutting-edge innovations which can be seen in action at a brand-new environmentally friendly show house in Midlothian, designed to improve energy-efficiency, slash power bills and reduce climate-warming emissions.
The Net Zero Home, a fully functioning one-bedroom bungalow, has been built at the Energy Training Academy in Dalkeith to demonstrate the latest green tech and help shape the workforce of the future with practical experience and certified qualifications.
The unique facility was officially opened by Scottish Greens MSP Lorna Slater, minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity, who cut the ribbon at a special event on Tuesday.
She described it as “inspiring” and praised the team’s “collaborative effort” in helping to provide solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing society.
“Supporting Scotland’s current and future workforce to develop the skills needed for the transition to net zero is a clear priority for the Scottish Government,” she said.
“The Energy Traíning Academy’s Net Zero Home is an innovative project and will help address the changing skills needs of industry and support young people into good green jobs.”
Scotland has a legally binding target to reach net zero – neural emissions – by 2045, five years ahead of the UK’s 2050 deadline.
Set up by businessmen Mark Glasgow and Andrew Lamond and run as a social enterprise, the Energy Training Academy is the only community-focused centre of its kind in Scotland.
It has three primary objectives: upskilling engineers and tradespeople, addressing the retrofitting challenges in the current built environment and providing energy-efficiency education for youngsters with the aim of inspiring them to pursue careers in renewables.
The founders hope it will help address a shortage of qualified tradespeople with the expertise to fit the latest green tech and energy-efficiency measures.
Mr Glasgow spoke of his pride at seeing a long-held dream become a reality.
“My vision was always to have something pretty spectacular that would make a difference in the community as well as the renewables sector, and I believe we have achieved that,” he said.
“The Net Zero Home is a testament to sustainable possibilities, showcasing how innovative technologies like solar energy, smart heating and efficient design can come together to create an eco-friendly living space.
“It’s a practical example of how we can achieve a net-zero EPC (energy performance certificate) rating, inspiring a step towards a greener future.”
Technical director Ian Edgeworth said: “The ethos of the academy is threefold – it’s about empowering existing engineers, to upskill and broaden their horizons, to be able to offer more sustainable options to homeowners and clients, and it’s about bringing the next generation of engineers into the workforce, people from all different backgrounds, demographics, genders.
“It’s really part of our vision to break down some of the stigma that is involved in people coming new into the industry – hence the reason we are working as a community interest company, because we want to do outreach with local schools and communities.
“We want to capture people’s imaginations and inspire them, show them that a career in engineering should no longer be seen as a male-dominated environment.
“We need to get away from the old-fashioned theory that engineering is about brute strength.
“It’s not. It’s about dexterity, lateral thinking.
“These are skills that are within the reach of anyone from society so if we can bring them on, support them, mentor them and try to inspire them to choose a career in engineering then we are doing our bit.
“But we also aim to elevate interest in the sustainable side of it.”
Co-founder Mr Lamond added: “We can do a lot of good work together for the planet and make a real difference in Dalkeith, Edinburgh and Scotland.
“There is no doubt we can make a difference to the lives of young people by inspiring them to have a career in renewables and then they can pass their learnings on to future generations.”
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