The University of Nottingham in Ningbo is one of the most advanced centres in China for research and teaching of sustainable energy technologies. Students there are learning to be engineers specialised in the construction of ecologically-friendly buildings.
The sustainable energy course is a joint project between Great Britain and China.
Says Jo Darkwa, the director for the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies, “The whole idea is to demonstrate how two nations with two different economic backgrounds can come together and solve common problems, because the issue of pollution is not limited to one country only. China is a very fast developing country and to be able to develop sustainably then obviously they will need technologies such as the ones that we have already developed in the UK.”
Since February students have been learning and experimenting in this new Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies, an award-winning example of sustainable architecture which is attracting attention from the government, the construction industry and designers.
It showcases the latest, state-of-the-art techniques to make buildings environmentally-friendly and indoor environments energy-efficient.
Says Jo Darkwa, “The building is made up of two shells: the inner shell is concrete, the outer shell is glass, but in between the concrete and then the glass there is a gap, so that space is used for ventilating the building.”
The centre produces a hundred per cent of the energy it uses. Its solar panels also provide energy for air conditioning, and a geothermal system is used both for heating and cooling. It is a perfect example of building services engineering, one of the subjects taught at Ningbo.
Says Siegfried Yeboah, a lecturer in building services engineering: “The building stock that we have is more or less the largest consumer of energy in the world now. So, with our area of expertise – developing systems that are energy efficient, that consume less energy – this is one of the cutting-edge areas that the world needs at the moment.”
With increasing environmental pressures on China’s booming economy, the hope is that Ningbo’s students will help China take a green step forward.