This was the first time that many local businesses, local government and those interested in sustainability had seen the completed centre and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. There were short talks by the Principal of Bicton College, David Henley and the Head of EaRTH, Graham Waddell, as well as an inspiring talk by Juliet Davenport, ceo of south west based Good Energy and a passionate advocate of sustainable energy technology.
Guests were invited on a tour of the building and were able to see all the elements that make up EaRTH including the training bays, the solar tubes that let in natural daylight and the biomass boiler. Many of the technologies that keep EaRTH lit, heated, cooled or running are exposed, allowing people to see how they work and to really feel part of this building.
Many of the visitors expressed a huge sense of pride that such an innovative centre was based in their region and were looking forward to the opportunities that EaRTH will bring in training, development and the future of the sustainable economy in Devon and the South West. The builders, architects and contractors who worked on the project were also able to offer their own unique perspective on the challenges faced in converting an old agricultural building into a cutting-edge training centre.
David Henley, Principal of Bicton College, commented after the event: “What really struck me tonight was pride – firstly the sense of ownership from the local community who are proud to share this facility with Bicton and secondly is pride of the impressive feat of engineering in an agricultural context that this building demonstrates. We look forward to welcoming everyone to EaRTH over the coming months, and years, and hearing about the successes resulting from this centre.”