Building intelligence in China

BFW Bau Sachsen • Energy efficient utilisation of building automation.

two Chinese women working at computers
BFW Bau Sachsen

The combination of educational know-how with product and systems solutions is the speciality of the Berufsförderungswerk (BFW) Bau Sachsen. The BFW has been responsible for training staff in the construction industry since 1991 and has already achieved market leadership in Saxony. At the Bauakademie Sachsen, a fully-owned subsidiary of the BFW, management staff for the construction industry is trained in the fields of law, technology and business administration.

Already since the early 1990s, the BFW Bau Sachsen has worked together with international partners and, since that time, has been able to continuously increase the international share in its total turnover. This development has resulted in recruitment placing an increasing weight on competences that qualify prospective staff for international deployment, such as language competence.

By now, the BFW explores new avenues in establishing co-operations and alliances. In pursuing its internationalisation strategy, it increasingly puts emphasis on partnerships with its German customers in the construction industry. Such an approach makes good sense given the industry-specific structure of vocational education and training: the vocational education and training content not only directly derives from industrial practice, but the industrial standards based on this practice are also very often connected with specific products and brands.

BFW Bau Sachsen established its first contacts in China during an iMOVE trade mission. Now, BFW Bau Sachsen is active there in the field of climate protection. In China, some 40 per cent of primary energy consumption are used solely in supplying buildings with heat and electricity. Increasing the energy efficiency of buildings entails enormous potential for saving on energy and reducing Carbon dioxide emissions. The tangible improvement of energy efficiency can be achieved by efficient facilities engineering, in addition to improving the thermal insulation of buildings. This is why building automation plays a central part. The adequate and demand-actuated as well as energy efficient and safe operation of buildings is possible only on the basis of optimised "building intelligence". Modern automation comprises the management, control, monitoring, optimisation and operation of utility engineering facilities such as heating, air conditioning and lighting.

To promote this issue in China, the BFW Bau Sachsen is involved in a public-private partnership project in co-operation with the Zhejiang College of Construction (ZCC) in Hangzhou. The project objective is energy efficient building operation through optimised processes. The aim is the sustained transfer of know-how and technology, with an initial focus on industrial and commercial buildings. The project partner in charge is the German company bau msr with more than twenty years of experience in this field. Other industrial partners are the German companies Engelmann (manufacturer of heat and cooling meters), Xella (producer of construction materials) and members of the ETICS Quality Alliance (composite thermal insulation systems).

In a first step, the energy efficiency show house at the ZCC constructed by Xella was equipped with a building management system. Since then, the show house has been used as a complex training facility, combining both the energy efficient cladding and the energy-saving facilities engineering control under one roof.

At the show house, all regular renewable energy sources (photovoltaics, solar and wind power as well as geothermal heat) are demonstrated in actual application. The demand for heat or cooling can be simulated for training purposes.

The target groups for this know-how and technology transfer are, in addition to the teaching staff and students at the ZCC and other educational institutions, also planers, architects and building owners, facility management companies, building authorities as well as the energy efficiency office at the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD). The ZCC offers workshops for these external target groups to equip the Chinese construction industry with a comprehensive set of ideas and incentives for implementing energy-saving building investments.

Parallel to the implementation and installation of the automated building management system, German experts from bau msr and the BFW Bau Sachsen have developed training material for the energy efficient utilisation of building automation in co-ordination with the ZCC. This information and training material was integrated into the existing curricula at the ZCC. It not only presents modern regulations and standards as well as options for their technical implementation, but contains also calculations of profitability.

Prior to launching the new training programme, specialist teachers at the ZCC were trained in two-week intensive training courses on site combining theory and practice. Since May 2012, some 400 students per semester can take part in the newly introduced training provision.

Because the ZCC is one of about 100 educational institutions country-wide that have been selected as a model college, the ZCC can train also specialist teachers from other colleges. This is why, in the further course of the project, the train-the-trainer courses are going to be extended to include also teachers from other construction colleges in other provinces. The teaching staff at the ZCC is actively involved in these trainings to increase their impact as multipliers in the long term.


This sucess story was first published in the iMOVE publication Developing Skills for Employability with German Partners • 8 Success Stories from the Renewables and Cleantech Sector. The brochure was published in 2014.

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Bfw Bau Sachsen