A college stepped in to support the next generation of thermal insulation experts by opening up its plant and boiler rooms to an energy audit first.

Darlington College provided the venue for industry delegates from the UK and Europe on a course run by the European Industrial Foundation (EiiF) in partnership with the Thermal Insulation Contractors Association (TICA).

Industry delegates used a thermal energy auditing tool called TIPCHECK on the College’s plant and boiler rooms, which had to be adapted beforehand as they proved already too energy efficient.

Trade body TICA, whose National Training Centre is based in Darlington, became a member of the Switzerland-based EiiF last year in order to share best practice and gain access to the TIPCHECK programme.

This was the first time that EiiF, a not-for profit organisation that promotes the use of industrial insulation as a means of achieving sustainability, has run such a course in the UK.

TICA technical director Chris Ridge explained: “Thermal insulation of pipework is one of the classic issues when it comes to decarbonisation. Piped systems up and down the country are often either badly insulated or not insulated at all and the energy losses can be significant.

“The only problem we had at Darlington College was that its plant rooms were actually very well insulated which meant I had to remove a number of energy saving valve jackets to more accurately mimic a typical scenario. This allowed the TIPCHECK trainees a practical training experience of spotting thermal hotspots.

“Of course, these jackets were replaced as soon as the training was complete so that the college could continue its energy saving work and I’d like to say a big thank you to staff for helping us to train another cohort of thermal insulation energy saving experts.”

Darlington College’s head of marketing and engagement Claire Hankey said: “When TICA contacted the college to ask if we could support their students through their Thermal Heat Mapping course, we were more than delighted to give our support. Giving access to our plant and boiler room would ensure the students received the best experience.”

TICA’s head of learning Helen Anderson added: “Darlington College provided a perfect location for the practical training element of the TIPCHECK course we have been hosting.

“TIPCHEK – Technical Insulation Performance Check – is a standardised thermal energy auditing tool which allows a qualified expert to evaluate the energy saving and money saving benefits of thermal insulation on pipework systems. It has helped hundreds of sites in Europe to reduce their CO₂ emissions and by partnering with Darlington College and EiiF, TICA is helping to bring the benefits of the initiative to the UK.”