A Midlands university is to invest £1.5m into developing skills, research, training and consultancy work to support the UK construction sector to reach net zero.
Nottingham Trent University (NTU) will launch the Centre for Sustainable Construction and Retrofit to develop solutions, skills, and support locally and nationally to enable the transition to net zero within the built environment sector.
This will take the form of new courses and skills training, socio-technical research, and consultancy opportunities for business.
Led by professor Richard Bull, deputy dean of the School of Architecture, Design & the Built Environment, the centre will bring together a range of expertise to help the sector reach the net zero climate change targets by 2050.
Bull said: “Net-zero by 2050 presents a huge challenge to the construction sector, which accounts for up to 50% of carbon emissions.
“An absence of skills, knowledge and expertise threaten to derail plans for the UK’s important net zero targets. But this ground-breaking centre will enhance the way in which existing buildings and new construction can meet those all-important climate change objectives.
“NTU has a well-earned reputation for sustainability in the built environment, and our research in housing retrofit in particular has a strong track record. We plan to develop new ways to support industry, to help them learn the new skills needed to retrofit existing properties en masse, and create new buildings in a sustainable way.”
NTU’s record in sustainability and the built environment includes its Scale-up Retrofit 2050 whitepaper report, which called for a nationwide programme to boost the energy efficiency of existing homes through deep retrofit.
Its REMOURBAN project demonstrated the benefits of deep retrofits, and was showcased as part of the UK Built Environment Virtual Pavilion during COP26.
This was followed by a ‘scaling-up deep retrofit for social landlords’ pilot project, which was funded by the Energy Saving Trust, and ongoing collaboration with ARC Partnership and Nottingham City Council.
NTU says the Centre for Sustainable Construction and Retrofit will explore how the built environment sector transitions to a low carbon future, while addressing the retrofit skills gap via the creation of new courses and providing consultancy support for business.
The centre is set to launch on 14 November, with an event at the university’s Newton Building on its City Campus.
At the event, a panel will explore the challenges and opportunities for the built environment sector to meet the challenge of Net Zero 2050. The panel will include speakers from NTU and partner organisations including Nottinghamshire County Council, Green Growth, Investment and Assets, Arup, Focus Consultants, Spenbeck and Morgan Sindall.
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