The ever resourceful and pioneering Kilfinan Community Forest [KCFC] at Tighnabruaich in Argyll’s south Cowal, has got the go-ahead to build a low carbon classroom, after being awarded a grant from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund [CCF].
Using timber from the forest and showcasing the latest energy-saving and low-carbon building techniques, the classroom will operate as a training centre, providing outdoor-based courses on low-carbon sustainable living.
It will aim to become a centre for excellence in sustainable learning. The CCF grant of just over £44,000 will also enable the creation of three new jobs:
- a part-time Project Support Officer;
- two full-time Sustainable Construction Apprentices.
What makes this project different is that the build itself will provide training in all aspects of sustainable construction for the two local, full-time apprentices,’ says Steve Williamson, KCFC’s Chair.
‘Also, at key points throughout the build, workshops will be provided to community members, encouraging home owners to ask for high quality, energy saving measures with low embedded carbon; and putting them in touch with tradespeople who can supply and install them.
‘Visitors, tradespeople and workshop participants will be able to see for themselves just what low-carbon energy-saving solutions can be applied to their homes, giving them the confidence to know what to ask for from tradespeople, or indeed to use newly acquired skills to do it themselves.’
The new building will also incorporate the KCFC offices, which are currently housed in temporary, inefficient and un-insulated Portacabins, ensuring that power generated by an on-site hydro-electric installation will be used more efficiently. Additionally the classroom will serve as a prototype for five new affordable self-build homes due to be built in the community forest.
Rob Borruso, Operations Manager at KCFC, says: ‘Ultimately, the grant will lead to more engagement from the local community with the community forest and a greater awareness of how the community can become more resilient in the face of climate change.
‘KCFC itself will become more sustainable and therefore able to lead by example.’