A vital part of tackling both climate change and fuel poverty is ensuring that installers, energy assessors and buyers of energy efficiency and renewable technologies are kept up to date with the latest innovations. New approaches can potentially speed up progress towards a low carbon economy.
One way we have addressed this in Scotland is by organising Scotland Innovates, an event organised though the sustainable energy supply chain programme, which is funded by the Scottish Government. The event showcased some of the newest and most creative technologies, services and products currently available.
Through our research, we established that suppliers find it difficult to keep up to date with new innovations and developments in the industry. The energy efficiency and renewable markets in Scotland are fast moving, and given how busy these suppliers can be, it came as no surprise to us that this was an issue.
This, along with the fact that innovation has been identified by the Scottish Government as one of the main routes to achieving its energy efficiency targets through Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP), was the catalyst for Scotland Innovates.
Held at the Glasgow Science Centre, on the banks of the River Clyde – a centre of Scotland’s first industrial revolution – the event built on the work of ClimateXchange, one of three Scottish Government Centres of Expertise. They recently published research identifying market-ready or near-market-ready technologies which could help the Scottish Government achieve SEEP’s aims.
Over 20 organisations exhibited at the event, the majority of which were based in Scotland and were manufacturers of new or improved technologies covering a wide range of areas. These included low carbon heat, energy efficiency and solar and smart energy.
Products on display included Tesla’s much-publicised Powerwall battery system, which is completely automated and can be integrated with solar to store excess energy to be released when needed, even if the sun is not out. These batteries, along with some of Tesla’s other products, can be used to make your home completely self-powered and off grid.
At the event too was Herschel Infrared, the UK market leader in far infrared heaters. Their heating systems warm rooms directly rather than the air within them. This makes heating more efficient and means that heat is retained even after the heater itself has been switched off. The heaters can be integrated with renewables and can even be designed to look like mirrors, paintings or blackboards.
The Perth-based magnetic, secondary and draught proofing specialists Glaze and Save showcased their innovative polycarbonate secondary glazing, InvisiTherm™. This won the VIBES Environmental Product or Service Award in 2017 for its exceptional energy efficiency properties. It is completely removable and virtually invisible, making it suitable for listed buildings and conservation areas.
It wouldn’t be a technology event in 2018 without some robotics on show – and the event didn’t disappoint on this front. Q-Bot offers an affordable solution for the retrofit of insulation to suspended timber floors by using a robotic device, AI and digital tools to remotely apply insulation. This method significantly reduces disruption to the property owner or occupier.
Another Scottish enterprise making waves is Sunamp, which has developed a highly efficient, non-toxic, low-cost heat battery system using materials that store excess energy when it’s available. This is then released as heat to provide hot water and heating, in much the same way as a hand warmer. They have already been installed in over 1000 homes across the UK.
Over 130 people attended, making it one of the largest events the sustainable energy supply chain programme has ever held. Feedback has been almost universally positive, too.
The quality of the products and services on offer show that the Scottish energy efficiency and renewable manufacturing industry is vibrant and effective. This, coupled with the high numbers through the doors and positive reception, suggests there is an appetite for further efforts to highlight the best of green innovation, from Scotland and beyond. Watch this space.