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Technology that doesn’t cost the Earth

Technology that doesn’t cost the Earth

The Centre for Alternative Technology is a renewable energy and eco-tech hub based in Powys, Wales, in the foothills of Snowdonia. Its Graduate School of the Environment offers three postgraduate courses in Sustainability and Adaptation and a Professional Diploma in Architecture, but its appeal is strengthened by the range of short courses offered to the general public outside the traditional academic framework.


These include short courses under 5 categories: Biology/Ecology, Woodland, Sustainable Building, Sustainable Living and Energy & Renewables. Learners can pick from courses in Plant Diversity, Permaculture Design, Rainwater Harvesting, Reedbeds & Waste Water Management in the Biology & Ecology category. In Sustainable Building, there’s a course in Hempcrete (building houses out of marijuana stalks – if it catches fire you’ll die happy). Other courses include Low Energy Buildings, Eco Refurbishment, Building with Straw Bales, Sustainable Building Materials, Cob Building and Compost Toilets – the latter being a brilliant form of waste management that isn’t as gross as it sounds.


The Centre for Alternative Technology offers accreditation and renewal courses for HETAS, the government-approved body for approving biomass and solid fuel heating appliances, fuels and services. The courses lead to registration of competent installers and servicing businesses.


Energy & Renewables training is another strong suit at CAT. Training is provided in Solar Photovoltaic Systems, Adaptation & Sustainability Concepts and Planning, Wind power, Hydroelectric, Biomass & Biofuels, Solar thermal, Heat Pumps & District Heating, and more. Key learning outcomes include the ability to critically appraise the wider environmental impacts of installing an alternative energy system as well as evaluating the ethical dilemmas when problem solving and decision making in the context of energy provision.


Many of these courses are off-the-peg, with enrollment via an ecommerce system. The whole package makes CAT a leading education hub for renewable technologies and sustainable living, and it doesn’t cost the Earth.