To help address Climate Change, the Environmental Solutions Unit at Liverpool John Moores University is playing its part in the development of new industries on Merseyside through imaginative research projects using science and technology as the foundation of new business. The Unit is advising industry on the use of water and wastewater treatment, domestic waste recycling and solar power and increasing the incorporation of clean sustainable technologies into infrastructure projects.
One such project comprises a £12.5 million solar powered housing estate, partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and under construction in Childwall, Liverpool for Liverpool Housing Action Trust and Anchor Trust. Of the total solar energy currently reaching the earth, 30% is reflected by the atmosphere; 47% is absorbed by the atmosphere, land and seas; 23% evaporates water and drives the water cycle; 1% drives winds and currents; and 0.02% is used in photosynthesis and ultimately locked into fossil fuels. The level of solar energy presently harnessed is therefore small and the Childwall “green” estate will include 36 houses and an 80 bed residential block, and communal laundry, built with water saving technology and electricity generating photovoltaic solar panels. Current levels of water savings identified range from 25% for houses to 40% for the block accommodation thus allowing the installation of a smaller water meter and a corresponding reduction in standing charge for water services. The project is instrumented for long term monitoring and evaluation with a view to developing a new approach to sustainable construction and sustainable living, thereby providing a blueprint for energy and water conservation through increased social acceptance and the demonstration of good practice.