Towards a sustainable future - in China, the UK and beyond23 September 2008 A new research centre at The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China, will lead the way in fundamental research to help tackle the challenges of climate change.
The Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET), which had its formal opening on September 20, 2008, is a landmark collaborative project between the UK and China focusing on the new and renewable energy systems that will play a key part in sustainable development.
CSET has been designed to serve as an exemplar building, demonstrating state-of-the-art techniques for environmentally responsible, sustainable construction and energy-efficient internal environmental control. Its environmental impact is minimised as the building promotes energy efficiency, generates its own energy from renewable sources and uses locally available materials.
As well as being a centre of excellence for research and teaching, CSET will also play a key role in the proposed Virtual Academy for Sustainable Cities outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding signed in January 2008 by the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
Speaking at the symposium that marked the centre's official opening, Professor Sir Colin Campbell, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: "Everyone here is aware of the importance of sustainable development, in all our countries. Universities play a fundamental role in developing the technologies that are needed to ensure that economies worldwide develop in a sustainable fashion. Our fundamental research produces innovations and inventions that can change the way we impact on our environment."
Sir Colin expressed his thanks to Mr Kin-Kwok Chung, whose generous donation made the centre possible. The Ko Lee Institute of Sustainable Development of which CSET is a part is named in honour of Mr Chung's wife.
Praising the newly-opened centre, Mr Chung said: "It is an elegantly designed building in which important work will be carried out, and that is something that young people both in the UK and in China should learn from as they develop new ways of saving energy. We have a bright future."
Research activities will encompass thermal testing for materials and components, facade testing, daylight and solar modelling, wind tunnel testing and studies related to solar thermal and photo-voltaic panels. The building will provide a facility for developing and testing the new technologies in collaboration with local and international industrial partners.
As part of the School of the Built Environment at The University of Nottingham in the UK, CSET will seek to translate cutting-edge research into practical, energy-efficient affordable solutions for domestic and non-domestic construction in China and the rest of the world.
Professor Jo Darkwa, Director of the centre, said there had already been significant interest within China in the work that will take place at CSET. A visit by Zhejiang province politicians in early September 2008 signalled government engagement with the issues of sustainable development, he said.
Professor Darkwa added: "CSET is a collection of almost all the latest sustainable technologies, so we can look at how effectively they perform and how they can best be adapted for wider use. For politicians to visit is an indication that what we are trying to do is getting attention at the highest levels within the Chinese government."
China is the world's second largest energy consumer, and effective energy-saving measures will be crucial to global efforts to combat climate change.
The CSET building was designed by Italian firm, Mario Cucinella Architects (MCA). The design of the building is such that it will not require conventional and heating systems, and that the residual energy requirement will be met by renewable energy sources, thus minimising its carbon footprint.
Mr Cucinella, Managing Director of MCA, said: "For me, the beauty of the building is not only because it looks beautiful, but also because it is working in a beautiful way. That is the key to the future of building."
More information is available at: www.nottingham.edu.cn/cset
Source: University of Nottingham