South West College

Leading the way in the green economy

A leader in environmental sustainability for the region providing training for the employment of young people in a low-carbon green economy.

South West College’s sustainability journey commenced with the introduction of several innovative curriculum interventions in areas including wind turbine, solar photovoltaic and biomass technologies and it is now one of the most environmentally sustainable academic organisations in the world. Over the past decade more than 5,000 students have participated in sustainability courses, creating the talent pipeline necessary to drive forward the ‘green economy’.

The college has led and partnered on over 14 strategic international collaboration projects resulting in innovations in sustainable transport, low-energy construction, and energy technologies. The college was the first in the UK to deliver a European Community 7th Framework Programme project (FP7) for research and technical development, focused on the implementation of eco-friendly modes of transport – most notably electric vehicles. In 2017 the college also became the first in the UK to offer PhD provision in sustainability, facilitated through the ‘Renewable Engine’ – a collaborative partnership led by the college with three universities.

The college has developed an award-winning, world-leading sustainable campus. This is the first new building of its size in the world to achieve ‘Passive House Premium’ certification from the Passive House Institute in Germany. At COP26, the college signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe to become one of the first Centres of Excellence for high performance buildings, joining a prestigious network of the most sustainable buildings from across the globe.