National centre for green building expertise goes live

Thousands of UK construction trainees are set to benefit from a new national centre for sustainable building skills launched in Stoke-on-Trent.

CoRE, the Centre for Refurbishment Excellence, was officially opened by Andrew Stunell MP, Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Built at a cost of £11.4 million, CoRE, in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, will take trainees from across the UK. Andrew Stunell MP said CoRE would help to provide the skilled craftspeople necessary to transform the UK’s housing stock in line with higher energy efficiency standards.

"Over three-quarters of the buildings that will be standing in 2050 have already been built – so it is vital that we find ways to reduce carbon emissions from all types of existing buildings, and for every type of budget, or the country risks losing its battle against climate change,” explained the junior Minister.

"That’s why this Government has wasted no time taking practical steps to pave the way for tenants and homeowners to retrofit their homes through Green Deal, and for businesses to provide the upgrades.

"But with the clock ticking towards the launch of the Green Deal, it is now essential that businesses have all the necessary skills to carry out green upgrades on existing homes.

"I’m delighted to be opening the new national centre for green building expertise – the new skills hub will become an international centre of excellence for providing the right skills to retrofit homes, helping to create jobs and putting Britain centre stage of the multi-billion pound transition to a low-carbon future."

CoRE will open to students at the start of January 2012. The centre has been built in a partnership between the internationally renowned Building Research Establishment (BRE), Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Stoke on Trent College. E.ON, a leading UK energy company has supported the project as a founding sponsor.

Phase one of CoRE, an impressive training centre for the building industry and the new Stoke on Trent College Technology Centre, is now complete.

It has been built by leading West Midlands based contracting group, Shaylor.

CoRE is a unique national education centre hosting courses and tutorials to upskill trades people in areas such as photovoltaic (solar) panels, ground source heat pumps, new insulation techniques and many more innovative solutions to fit the UK with greener homes.

The CoRE building will be a research tool as it is fitted out to the highest BREEAM energy efficiency standards.

The roof of the complex has 185 photo voltaic panels fitted to it - generating enough electricity to heat and power the building and providing power for the National Grid.

A second phase of the project will see the historic Enson Works, a 19th century Listed pottery factory brought back to life.

The Enson Works is a significant building on the skyline of the Potteries, featuring four - of only 47 – bottle kilns remaining in Stoke-on-Trent.

Peter Bounds, Chair of the CoRE Board, said: “At CoRE we will provide the craftsmen and women needed to refurbish the UK’s ageing housing stock into homes which are both fit for modern living and reach the high environmental standards that are required.

“Our trainees will be equipped with the best, most up to date skills, to provide refurbished homes which are energy efficient and save the owners’ money on their fuel bills.

“CoRE will be the catalyst for regenerating a derelict Victorian Pottery site and bringing new life to a run-down part of the city of Stoke-on-Trent. It will be a living example of regeneration, refurbishment and sustainable development. “

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