'SMART' Classrooms Finalist For Top Award

18 November 2011

The SMART-Pod project

From (l to r) Frank Mills, Lord Stafford Awards judge, and Colin Bridges, Architectural Technologist at EKV Design, with a model of the SMART-Pod unit

"SMART-Pod is an excellent example of what business and higher education can accomplish when working together.

Andrew Hartley, University Managing Director for Strategic Developments.

The SMART-Pod project

One of the SMART-Pod designs.

A project developing 'green' classrooms which can be built in a day reached the finals of a prestigious regional business award.

The SMART-Pod project - led by the University of Derby in partnership with De Montfort University, and Derbyshire companies EKV Design and T4 Sustainability Ltd - was one of five finalists competing in the 'Open Collaboration' category of the 2011 Lord Stafford Awards. The finalists' dinner was held last night,17 Thursday November at the University of Birmingham's Great Hall.

SMART-Pod units, currently under development, could be assembled on any site in around 24 hours using pre-prepared parts. They will contain their own power, water and other services using environmentally friendly technology.

The annual Lord Stafford Awards celebrate collaborations between businesses and universities.

Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery Ltd and the University of Lincoln's School of Engineering won this year's 'Open Collaboration' category.

Other finalists in the same category were:

  • University of Nottingham Innovation Park (UNIP) and the University of Nottingham
  • Manufacturing Technology Centre and the universities of Birmingham, Nottingham and Loughborough
  • University of Birmingham Centre for Formulation Engineering and the University of Birmingham

As well as providing schools with extra classroom space that could be moved to different locations at short notice it's thought the SMART-Pod design could easily be adapted for use by businesses, the military and for natural disaster relief efforts. Units could be linked together or grouped on one level, or even stacked to meet the need for more room, and would be re-usable and recyclable.

The units would provide their own electricity to run lights and computers through environmental technologies such as photovoltaic (solar energy) panels and wind turbines, use highly insulated building materials to reduce heat loss, and could provide some of their own water supply through rainwater capture and treatment.

Andrew Hartley, University Managing Director for Strategic Developments, said: "SMART-Pod is an excellent example of what business and higher education can accomplish when working together.

"I'm very proud of the first class idea the team's combination of academic and business expertise produced, with the support of our commercial arm University of Derby Corporate. It is a project with great potential.

The SMART-Pod development project was funded by the East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund

(ERDF), through a Collaborative Research and Development Grant managed by the Sustainable Construction iNet initiative.

EKV Design and the University of Derby are also involved in a separate joint research project called Retro-Tek, which seeks to make empty homes more habitable and attractive through the use of new environmental technologies.

For further information please contact Press and PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 591891 or 07876 476103, or email s.kirby@derby.ac.uk

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