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College team up with Mitsubishi Electric to tackle climate change

Plaque unveiling

Harlow College unveiled its brand new Renewable Energy Training Centre on Friday 28 April

Harlow College unveiled its brand new Renewable Energy Training Centre on Friday 28 April, with an official opening by Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow and Russell Dean, Mitsubishi Electric’s Residential Products Group Director.

The Renewable Energy Training Centre in association with Mitsubishi Electric is an exciting new project situated on the Harlow College campus which will enable future generations of heating engineers to train using green technologies as well as helping to reduce carbon emissions. It is the first time that Mitsubishi Electric have teamed up with an FE college to create a centre of this kind.

It is fully equipped with six Mitsubishi Electric Ecodan Air Source Heat Pumps, roof-mounted photo-voltaic solar panels, associated collection points and energy-storage unit and two electric vehicle charging points. The solar panels will provide enough energy to power the centre and any extra energy will be put back into the National Grid.

Work stations will allow learners to develop an understanding of how to install and maintain these vital renewable energy appliances, helping the local community and businesses to meet decarbonisation targets in support of meeting Net Zero by 2050.

The wider aim is to offer training to local employers in the plumbing and electrical trades to enable them to be fully prepared to meet Government targets on energy efficiency.

As part of the Government’s Energy Efficiency Taskforce there is a plan to develop a national strategy for energy efficiency and a Future Homes Standard.

The target nationally is to get all homes to an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of C within the next 10 years. EPCs are graded between A and G – A being the highest level of efficiency and G being the lowest.

In Essex, a huge retro-fit of homes will be needed to make them energy efficient, as Essex County Council have estimated that of the 630,000 homes across Essex, 60% of them fall below an EPC rating of D.

Nationally, to realise the target of all homes having an EPC rating of C, there is an estimated need for an additional 450,000 jobs across the UK and 12,800 jobs in Essex alone by 2040.

Essex County Council’s target is to retro-fit two thirds of housing stock by 2030 and 100% by 2040.

Mitsubishi Electric Ecodan air source heat pumps can be installed as part of a modern eco-friendly and energy efficient heating system and are a more efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional gas fired, solid fuel or oil-fired heating systems.

Russell Dean, Mitsubishi Electric’s Residential Products Group Director said:

“We are thrilled to be working with Harlow College to support their Renewable Energy Training Centre. We believe that collaborations such as this can help to ensure that future generations have access to the training and knowledge needed to build a greener, more sustainable future as we look to achieve Net Zero.”

The Harlow College tutors who will be training the plumbers of the future to install and maintain air source heat pumps are all certified to a minimum of NVQ Level Three, as qualified plumbing and heating engineers. They will also have undertaken specific Ecodan Product Installation training at The Mitsubishi Electric Training Centre in Hatfield, Herts.

Karen Spencer, Principal of Harlow College, said:

“At Harlow College we have made a commitment to being carbon neutral in line with the Climate Action Roadmap for Colleges. Training the future generation of heating engineers is part of our contribution to our local community and the environment. We absolutely recognise the contribution they will make to a more sustainable future. We are proud to be working in partnership with Mitsubishi Electric who are supporting our venture and helping both our staff and students train in this new technology.”