Low Carb at the Big Rig gets the temperature rising

On Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th March 2010 Think Up ran the first ever Low Carb event on The Big Rig.

Forty-four Londoners currently not in employment competed in two teams to build a solar-powered shower from a skip full of low-carbon technologies and building materials.

The event required them to get to grips with plumbing in solar thermal water heaters; wiring up a solar PV array; harvesting rainwater and reusing greywater; designing and building an insulated shower cubicle; and plumbing the whole lot together. Having never met each other before, the event was as much about team-building and collaboration as it was about low-carbon construction.The event took place in the Big Rig, a three-storey scaffolding frame created by Think Up as a flexible and robust venue for action learning.

Designed and facilitated by Think Up, and Commissioned by Podium Skills London, Low Carb was designed by Think Up to be transformative and empowering learning experience. Through the intensity of competition and exposure to low-carbon principles and technologies, the participants identify for themselves how they can make the most of the opportunities in the low-carbon construction sector. As part of the event, participants meet representatives from local colleges to find out how they can get the training that they need.

The event was a tremendous success, exceeding the high expectations of all involved. After two days both teams had successfully built an insulated shower cubicle supplied by cold and hot water, supplied by rainwater and heated by the sun to a tepid 33 degrees. A number of participants from the event will be going forward onto training courses within Colleges as well as a number of work placement opportunities that have been offered by a major construction contractor in London.

The Big Rig, conceived by Think Up as a nine metre cubed three storey scaffolding frame, is a robust and flexible venue for outdoor action learning. Its size and physical presence contribute to the excitement of the learning experience. At Low Carb the Big Rig introduced the complexity of arranging the shower components in three dimensional space. Having been plumbed up to spray water on the participants and irregular intervals, the Big Rig was also used to supply the rainwater for the event.

The Big Rig concept has generated significant interest from HE, FE and schools sectors. Think Up will develop proposals to develop the Big Rig into a fully demountable classroom that can tour the country and be used for a whole range of action learning activities.