the Genesis centre

£750,000 project launched

A £750,000 project to develop knowledge and expertise in sustainable construction in the South West is being launched at Somerset College’s Genesis Centre in Taunton, after securing funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
Aimed at the construction sector, to increase sustainability in the built environment throughout the South West and beyond, the Knowledge Exchange at Genesis (KEG) is being launched at a special three day conference from Thursday October 7 – Saturday October 9 for businesses, schools and the public.
The KEG project has been awarded £375,000 by the European Regional Development Fund and £187,500 by the South West Regional Development Agency. Additional funding of £187,500 is being invested from partners including Somerset College, which is leading the project, Weymouth College, City of Bristol College, City College Plymouth, and University of Plymouth.
Phil Sharratt, Project Manager for the KEG project said: “KEG will be a regional learning resource for businesses in the South West, focussed on sustainable construction and technology, providing tangible, practical learning and acting as a conduit between education and the business community.
“It will be a two way process – ensuring the transfer of knowledge from education to businesses, and also working to understand business needs and best practice so that young people gain appropriate skills for a green economy.”
Nigel Howells, Head of ERDF Competitiveness said: “It is important for projects like KEG to be created to give businesses the opportunity to learn about sustainability and gain first hand advice and guidance. A priority of European funding is to support the development of green practices in the South West and we look forward to seeing how the project aids businesses.”
Conference Launch
To launch the project and demonstrate how green technologies can be used by businesses and the general public, the Genesis Centre at Somerset College’s Wellington Road, Taunton site, is hosting a free three day conference for businesses, schools and the wider public on October 7, 8 and 9 .
The business event runs between 10am – 5pm on Thursday October 7. The KEG project will be officially launched and the day will include:
• Environmental technology demonstrations ranging from  Solar Photovoltaic (PV) to generate electricity,  to ground and air source heat pumps
• Information to help businesses, such as benefiting from Feed in Tariffs to earn money on electricity generated, and initiatives on how to reduce waste and minimise costs
• A regional business to business exhibition involving 27 environmental companies and consultants
• Keynote speeches from five business figures including Peaches Golding OBE of the Prince’s Mayday Network, founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, to Lex Cumber, Business Development Manager of the Midas Group – one of the UK’s largest sustainable construction companies

A two day free Community Celebration promoting Sustainable Living follows on Friday October 8 for primary and secondary schools and Saturday October 9 for the public, between 10am - 4pm.
As well as seeing the technology demonstrations, visitors will have the chance to see and try hands-on, fun activities from building with earth to make cob blocks, baking pizzas in an earth oven, to creating a plastic bottle greenhouse and more.
Householders will also get the chance to find out about green energy, how to cut their energy bills and earn money from generating electricity.
A number of county and regional organisations are also supporting the three day event, including Taunton Deane Borough Council, Somerset County Council, Federation of Small Businesses, the Prince’s Mayday Network, Regen South West and Somerset Waste Partnership.
“I hope as many businesses as possible will attend the Conference to learn how they can prosper in a green environment,” said Cllr Norman Cavill, who holds Taunton Deane Borough Council’s Economic Development portfolio.
“Our team will use the three-day event to raise awareness among local and visiting businesses of the support available here in Taunton Deane to investors in green and low carbon technologies.”
For further information please call Sam McIntyre 01823 366743 or visit the Events section at the Somerset College website http://www.somerset.ac.uk/