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Popular TV scientist opens Practical Installer

08 March 2011

Presenter of BBC2’s popular Wonders of the Universe series, Professor Brian Cox opened Practical Installer at Ecobuild 2011 on behalf of Plumb Center.

Taking place throughout the three days of the event, practical demonstrations were delivered by experts, tackling the challenges that installers will encounter in live situations, with plenty of opportunities to see the technologies in operation, and for one-to-one advice.

Zoned to perfection Divided into four distinct working zones – Solar, Heating (biomass, heat pumps and underfloor), Water Harvesting and Grey Water Recycling – visitors were taken on a renewables journey, demystifying the technologies and showing how they can be integrated into new and existing heating systems. In the Solar zone there were live and interactive demonstrations of solar thermal and solar PV installations on a low-level roof structure.

The solar thermal sessions highlighted the various steps in the installation process from preparation to final commissioning. Particular attention was given to the bracketing / mounting systems and how they are fitted to the roof as well as ensuring that the physical integrity of the roof is maintained, avoiding costly leaks.

To help get an installers view, hand-held cameras were used that broadcast the detailed install work onto conveniently located TV screens. There were also demonstrations on how to tackle the 'fill and flush' of a solar thermal system with solar fitting experts showing how to prepare and prime the system using solar flushing units, whilst providing useful tips on what to avoid and what to look out for. And, the Practical Installer team, who have years of PV installation experience, also walked visitors through a real PV installation without having to go near a ladder! The installation was broadcast on-screen. helping installers understand the mounting systems components by showing how they fit together and hold the panels on to a pitched roof.

This was followed by an overview of the electrical system’s key components and how they are wired and integrated safely into a building’s existing electrical system. Feeling the heat The Heating Zone put heat pumps under scrutiny with a live working display of a Dimplex air source heat pump connected to a SmartRad radiator. Installers were able to try their hand at removing a standard radiator and replacing it with a SmartRad, so they could see just how straightforward it is to use in the retrofit environment.

Also, visitors were able to see and feel the heat from an Uponor underfloor heating installation, fed by a CTC air source heat pump, showing how technologies can work together to maximum effect. There was also a live working zone showcasing a Baxi biomass boiler, micro-CHP, Grundfos pumps and Honeywell wireless controls with a hands-on practical area and experts on hand to give technical advice and informal demonstrations.

Flushed away In the Water Harvesting zone there was a live showcase by Kingspan Water featuring simulated rain on to a roof which was connected to a tank, rain water collection and pump system. This was plumbed in to a cistern and flushing toilet. And, in the Grey Water and Water Efficiency Zone, Ideal Standard’s low capacity bath, fitted with eco-brassware, was fully operational with the waste connected to an Ecoplay, which re-cycles bath and shower water and uses it to flush toilets.

Also on display in the water zones were water efficient showers from Mira and Grohe, sanitaryware, brassware and other washroom features, including the Saracen Waterless Urinal and the Twyford Galerie Flushwise, a low flush cistern/wc. These were featured in working displays with exposed pipe work and connections, demonstrating ease of installation and performance against standard products.

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