By Hanne Rasmussen, Manager of Visits, and Mette Koch, Communications Officer, AffaldVarme Aarhus HEATLAB - HEATING CUSTOMERS AT EYE LEVEL
Why is it a good idea for a district heating company to meet the younger generations of heat customers? How do you organize a meeting at eye level with young people, so that the meeting will be present, engaging and, not least, relevant and enriching for both parties? AffaldVarme Aarhus (WasteHeat Aarhus), which is one of the largest district heating companies in Denmark, found some of the answers in the establishment of HeatLab. WHAT IS HEATLAB? HeatLab has multiple identities. It is intended as an educational offer as well as a teaching material. It is also a classroom, and it is the framework for the company WasteHeat Aarhus' responsiveness to the local educational institutions as well as the younger generations as users and stakeholders in the district heating area. HeatLab opened at the beginning of the school year 2012/2013, andWasteHeat Aarhus has very high ambitions for the concept. Therefore a lot of efforts were made prior to this educational opportunity, which the company today offers to local residents aged 13-16 years. COOPERATION WITH THE UNIVERSITY Early in the planning WasteHeat Aarhus began cooperating with the teacher training course at the local VIA University College, and the joint goal was to develop a unique educational opportunity directed at lower secondary classes in Aarhus regarding district heating systems. In short, the students must learn how district heating works - right from production to transmission and distribution to consumption. They will also learn how we can use and develop district heating, so that it becomes more and more climate- friendly. The students are old enough to understand that their own, as well as the company’s, way of using district heating can make a difference. They are also old enough to understand that district heating is sustainable and climate-friendly.
EXAMINE - ANALYZE–CONCLUDE Today we have the result:
HeatLab is located in beautiful and inviting rooms - right in the middle of one of the real-world district heating systems. The residence is at the plant AarhusVærket, which is both a workplace and a heat exchanger system with several large oil-fired district heating boilers for peak and reserve load. AarhusVærket is also a historic center for district heating in Aarhus since this where it all began nearly 100 years ago. The premises are home to a groundbreaking educational district heating program - the first of its kind. Here, exciting laboratory exercises take place with lots of IT in the education. Part of the educational material is an app that shows district heating as augmented reality. This means that the exchanger unit is equipped with IT, so that students with iPads can see what is going on inside the heat exchanger. This will help motivate students to study and analyze, while they learn about district heating. During the visit to HeatLab, the students work in groups at different workstations, where they collect pipes and tubes to get hot water out of the shower or in the floor. They also learn how to pump water and measure pressures and temperatures. As HeatLab was established, students from one of the schools visited the lab several times. They tested how the teaching actually worked for them, and they contributed with input on how the lab might work better for students in large classes. School, district heating and local society
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