Have you thought of… April 2010
… whether Earth is doomed in the battle against climate change?
Have no fear – a whole host of superheroes has now been mobilised to help the planet fight back. Kingspan’s Commander Kooltherm, a master of advanced insulation techniques, is currently in his starship taking on the fleet of the rogue Emperor Mingeral Fibre. Meanwhile, Captain Carbon and Retrofit Woman have travelled back in time from 2050 to help homeowners insulate their properties better.
Visitors to Ecobuild may also have seen the 7ft tall Save & Generate superhero, who paced among the crowds delivering a message of hope in the form of a new website – www.saveandgenerate.com – designed to help householders understand how to be more sustainable with their energy. Amazing! Astounding! The ideas some companies come up with to promote their products!
… paving the streets with green gold?
Well, it’s not such a distant dream according to Pavegen Systems, which has designed a paving slab that can generate energy from people’s footfall. It works by converting the kinetic energy from people’s footsteps into electrical energy stored in a battery within the slab. While 5% of the energy is used to make the slab itself glow a luminescent green, the rest is used to power nearby street lighting or display signage.
The technology is already being taken seriously by the industry. At last month’s Ecobuild, it won first place in a CIOB-backed green innovations competition run by the Modern Built Environment Knowledge Transfer Network, where it was described as a bold step towards achieving energy and cost savings in busy urban environments. Let’s just say it’s a step in the right direction.
… emulating Sir Alan Sugar?
Remember our news story in February about “The Real Apprentice”, construction’s equivalent to the hit TV series in which Welsh youngsters compete to win a construction apprenticeship? The competition has moved to its second phase, as these six finalists compete for a real apprenticeship at maintenance contractor Connaught by carrying out refurbishment work on two void properties managed by RCT Homes.
The six were selected from a shortlist of 17 and will gain hands-on experience and qualifications before one is awarded the prize. However, the organisers – Connaught, RCT, the Construction Youth Trust, Penrhys Partnership and Careers Wales – hope to use their contacts to ensure that the all the finalists get placements with employers at the end of the two-month programme.
But with five organisations running the contest, how will they choose who gets to say: “You’re hired”?
… ditching your Xbox in favour of an excavator simulator?
A new simulator from French industrial training equipment specialist Acreos actually looks like it might be a lot more fun. Users are strapped into a specially designed chair with a built-in joystick, touch screen and large monitor display. The simulator is designed to train machine operators in the building and civil engineering sectors to use various vehicles, including hydraulic excavators, dumper trucks and mobile or tower cranes.
Acreos says that simulated learning enables beginners to learn the automatic processes of machine operation without stress and in complete safety, without risk to the equipment or themselves. All they need to add now is an online multi-player mode…