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Salford campus to be 'living laboratory' for green infrastucture

Thursday 11 October 2018

THE UNIVERSITY of Salford will host a ‘living laboratory’ for urban green infrastructure such as green roofs, walls and gardens.

Scientists and built environment experts will use €2 million of EU funding to create a ‘shop window’ for green technologies which are on show in many cities, including Vienna, Stuttgart and Basel.

The project will develop ways to persuade businesses and organisations to invest in climate change adaption features to offset flooding and urban heat in addition to air pollution and health and wellbeing.

The Living Lab is the key element of a wider €6 million project, called Ignition, to increase investment in green infrastructure across Greater Manchester.

Low carbon city

Mayor Andy Burnham said of the project: “This funding will play a key role in accelerating our plans to make Greater Manchester a world leading city-region for low carbon living.

“The Living Lab on the Salford campus will be an amazing visual and technical demonstration of the measures needed by areas like Greater Manchester to adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change and more extreme weather.

“We will we be working with our partners to increase the city-region’s urban green in our city-region’s urban green infrastructure by 10%, leading the way in finding solutions that could play a vital role globally.”

Dr Nick Davies, a researcher in urban ecology in the School of Built Environment, said: “City dwellers and workers will recall the extreme heat this summer, particularly those who work in offices and buildings without air conditioning.

“Extreme weather has become part and parcel of urban life,whether it is rivers bursting their banks or rain creating standing water after only a relatively modest downpour.”

Cut energy use

A partnership coordinated by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and including city councils, universities, United Utilities, the Environment Agency and the Royal Horticultural Society, is leading the drive to adopt relatively cost-effective countermeasures, such as flower beds on roofs, vertical gardens and ‘green roads’ and paths.

The living labs are so-called because they will incorporate sensors and other electronic gadgets to measure temperature, humidity, energy use,  carbon and noise absorption.

“The labs will be live demonstrations of how these features work and can help show the value of them and simply how they work,” added Nick.

“Currently a lot or organisations are talking about green features but are uncertain as to which work and whether they are cost-effective.”

Public engagement

The Salford team includes energy physicist Professor Will Swan and ecologist Professor Philip James.

Professor Hisham Elkadi, lead investigator and Dean of the School of Built Environment, said: “With the International Panel on Climate Change issuing its final warning on carbon emissions this week, the timing of this could not be more apt.

“This is a flagship research project for the city and one in which we hope to create a great deal of engagement with the community and our student body.”

Find out more

Gareth Hollyman, Senior Press & PR Officer (Science)

0161 295 6895