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Sun November 28 2021

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Fife College secures approval for net-zero building

25 Oct Fife College has been cleared to move forward with plans for Balfour Beatty to build the first net-zero tertiary education building in Scotland.

The Scottish government has agreed that Fife College can progress to the next stage of its project and has agreed to extra funding to boost the net-zero ambitions.

Balfour Beatty was appointed by Fife College in August as contractor for the new Dunfermline Campus.

The business case for new Dunfermline campus had been submitted in August and Scottish ministers agreed to invest up to £100m in providing a low-carbon, flexible learning space for students. Within the £100m funding, additional money has been made available by the Scottish government to ensure that the project goes beyond net-zero targets and doesn't just offset carbon dioxide emissions, but continues to deliver reductions in operational carbon after completion.

Low-embodied-carbon construction materials will be specified for the project and will include materials with high recycled content. Waste will be minimised through the design process and there will be a strong focus on diverting as much of the construction waste from landfill as possible.

Principal of Fife College, Dr Hugh Hall, said: “We're incredibly ambitious about what we want to achieve with this new campus. Not only do we want it to provide world-class facilities for our students, but we want the building itself to reflect the latest developments in low-carbon construction.

“That's why we've worked with the Scottish government to go beyond net zero and ensure that our new campus has a long-term positive effect on emissions.

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“The extra funding we've received will enable us to achieve our environmental ambitions, and to deliver the first tertiary education building in the UK that meets these standards. The approval of our business case is a significant milestone in the project to deliver the new Dunfermline Learning Campus, and we're eager to get started.”

Chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, Karen Watt, said: “We are delighted to support the plans for the new Fife College on the Dunfermline Learning Campus.

"They are ambitious and ground-breaking, designed to enhance the experience of students and to meet stretching environmental performance standards as we move to becoming a net-zero nation. We will be working closely with all partners to bring this ambition to life.”

The build is part of the wider 58-acre Dunfermline Learning Campus site in the eastern expansion area of Dunfermline – a collaborative venture to relocate Fife College's Dunfermline Campus, St Columba’s RC High School and Woodmill High School to a purpose-built site, due to open in the summer of 2024.

Working with Balfour Beatty, Fife College will target net-zero carbon from its construction operations by minimising energy use and maximising renewable energy sources through:

  • low-carbon EcoNet site setup and on-site energy generation;
  • maximising electric and hybrid plant;
  • minimising carbon impact in delivery methodologies;
  • conducting biodiversity net gain analysis through to predict biodiversity loss or gain caused by the project as designed, and potential areas where it can be improved.

The College will also be working with a number of other firms to deliver the project including: Gardiner Theobald (project management), Reiach and Hall (architect), Horner & Maclennan (landscape architect), Atelier 10 (mechanical and electrical) and Woolgar Hunter (civils and structures).

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