In-kind donation helps students learn with the latest technology to enable smart buildings

Published on May 21, 2021

EDMONTON – Schneider Electric has signed a five-year agreement with NAIT to provide students in the Building Environmental Systems Technology diploma program with in-kind technology and equipment. 

“As a global specialist in energy management and automation, Schneider Electric is committed to preparing post-secondary students for careers in green and smart technologies”, says Richard Henzie, Director, Digital Buildings for Schneider Electric’s North America operations.  

“By enabling students with hands-on, practical experience, we are doing our part to ensure there is a skilled workforce capable of designing, implementing and maintaining smart building technologies that improve performance, spark innovation and create attractive places to live, work and play,” says Henzie. 

The donated equipment was installed in the Gateway Mechanical Services Centre for Building Environment Systems Technology on NAIT’s main campus. The equipment, including a SmartX Controller Automation Server, will help students and apprentices to learn on the latest smart technology for building management systems.  

 “Donations from our industry partners, like Schneider Electric, allow us to offer industry leading technology for our real-world, hands-on training,” notes Matt Lindberg, dean of the School of Skilled Trades at NAIT. “Keeping our programs relevant and meaningful for our students is important for NAIT.”  

Increasingly, building systems are integrating more smart technology, including the Internet of Things (IoT), as part of maintaining and managing building automation systems.  

“The SmartX Controller”, says Henzie, “functions as the brains of building automation systems, managing HVAC, lighting, blinds and other applications, while serving as an IoT hub for all connected devices. In short, the technology plays a key role in helping to improve the comfort and safety of its habitants while decreasing wasted or inefficient energy.” 

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), building construction and operations consume about 30% of the world’s energy and account for almost 40% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. This signals how important it is to increase the efficiency and sustainability of the maintenance and management of building systems.  

In fact, 70 per cent of Schneider Electric’s revenues include products or solutions that bring energy, carbon or resource efficiency to its customers. Schneider aims to raise this to 80 per cent by 2025.  

“Building operation has not undergone any major transformation in years, so it's still a very traditional industry in terms of how systems are designed, installed and maintained”, says Henzie. “With the advancement of technology and the ability to leverage artificial intelligence to make the data understandable and actionable, we see the drive for implementation of buildings automation systems. This digitization has been accelerated over the past year as buildings owners and operators quickly implement digital tools and software and adapt to new ways of monitoring and maintaining systems.” 

“We can completely digitize and connect all the systems inside a building and get the information we need to make better, smarter decisions,” says Henzie. “This will enable us to rethink the entire building life cycle for both old and new buildings to be more sustainable, resilient, hyper-efficient and people-centric.”  

With a strong client base in the Alberta market, Schneider Electric sees the value of training NAIT students as part of the transformation that will evolve building systems for the future.  

“As our students look towards their future, it is critical for us to provide the necessary tools for them to be impactful professionals able to foster innovation and transformation within the industry,” says Lindberg. 

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About NAIT 

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and skilled trades. With nearly 34,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to the provincial economy. NAIT also contributes to Alberta's prosperity by helping business and industry become more competitive with Industry Solutions offered through its Productivity and Innovation Centre, including technology adoption, business and product innovation and industry-driven research. Recognized as one of Alberta's top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta. 

 

About Schneider Electric   

Schneider’s purpose is to empower all to make the most of our energy and resources, bridging progress and sustainability for all. We call this Life Is On. 

Our mission is to be your digital partner for Sustainability and Efficiency. 

We drive digital transformation by integrating world-leading process and energy technologies, end-point to cloud connecting products, controls, software and services, across the entire lifecycle, enabling integrated company management, for homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure and industries. 

We are the most local of global companies. We are advocates of open standards and partnership ecosystems that are passionate about our shared Meaningful Purpose, Inclusive and Empowered values.  www.se.com