ABB gives its name to new educational facility

ABB Energy Centre

ABB gives its name to new educational facility

ABB has given its support to a new facility built by City College Plymouth aimed at encouraging the uptake of energy efficient, sustainable technologies in industrial, commercial and residential projects in the UK.

Named the ABB Energy Centre, the hi-tech facility is the centrepiece of a pioneering new initiative being led by the college to connect education and industry with the latest low carbon technology and methods.

Working with its local partner, Western Electrical, ABB has supplied a range of equipment for use in the Centre, including its i-bus (KNX) intelligent building controls, variable speed drives, solar inverters and various instruments from its measurement products range. This equipment features throughout the Centre, which incorporates 14 purpose built bays for demonstrating and training on a variety of energy saving technologies and techniques.

ABB’s i-bus (KNX) intelligent building controls are used extensively in one of the bays. Built around a smart home scenario, the bay demonstrates how ABB’s i-bus (KNX) technology can be used throughout the home to help improve energy efficiency.

The ABB Energy Centre also features technologies and training systems around grey water harvesting, solar thermal paneling, photovoltaics (PV), air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, combined heat and power (CHP) systems, variable speed drives and environmental monitoring systems.

ABB became involved in the project after being recommended to City College Plymouth by Stuart Morrison, MD of electrical distributor Western Electrical.

‘Western Electrical has worked closely with City College Plymouth for many years, sponsoring its electrical apprenticeship programme to help get young people into work in the electrical industry,’ said Stuart. ‘When the college came to us with the idea of building a dedicated training centre to showcase the energy efficient and environmental benefits of today’s available technologies, I immediately suggested ABB to help bring the idea to fruition.’

The ABB Energy Centre will also have its own dedicated conference and training facility, showcase areas and an interactive workshop. It will give both students and visiting schools an opportunity to explore a range of ideas and processes through interactive activities. Academic and commercial training will be delivered through the college with the help of ABB and construction giant Cowlin, covering the use of low carbon innovations and products.

ABB’s involvement in the Energy Centre project is part of its continuing focus on encouraging UK users to help save both energy and cost through the adoption of energy efficient technologies.

‘With energy efficiency and sustainability at the very core of ABB’s business, we are always keen to find new ways to promote awareness of our technology and the ways in which we can help both people and companies to better manage their energy consumption,’ said James Haigh, general manager for ABB’s UK Low Voltage Products business. ‘Our involvement in City College Plymouth’s Energy Centre project is a great way for us to take an active role in educating and training the workforce of the future about how they can use energy more sustainably.’

The ABB Energy Centre will officially launch on 8th December 2011 and will be opened by TV presenter and sustainability champion Charlie Luxton.

Charlie said, ‘The ABB Energy Centre will play a key role in demonstrating the value of low carbon technology to a variety of audiences and I am certain it will bring huge benefits to the region’s economy for years to come.’

As well as students, the Centre will also be open to local groups such as the ECA and NICEIC, school children, and also local companies including architects and consultants, to enable them to see how technology is offering new possibilities for saving energy and protecting the planet for future generations.

‘It’s great to have a location based in the south west of England that brings together the leading technologies available within the electrical industry where we can train and educate our industry to apply the environmental and technological benefits that this technology brings,’ said Western Electrical’s Stuart Morrison. ‘By appealing to everyone from architects through to young schoolchildren, the ABB Energy Centre can play a significant role in promoting the ideas of energy efficiency and sustainability to help change the world we live in.’

Viv Gillespie, principal at City College Plymouth added, ‘We are thoroughly looking forward to showing what we will be able to deliver for students and companies alike at the ABB Energy Centre, which we are confident will put the college at the forefront of the sustainability agenda.’

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