Living in urban areas can negatively impact on our health and wellbeing, as well as causing damage to the natural environment. The energy used to heat and power our homes alone makes up a third of UK carbon emissions. Meanwhile the issues of climate change and unsustainable energy use are getting harder to ignore.
Thankfully, some housing projects are addressing these issues. In a bid to develop new, more sustainable ways of living and generating electricity in our homes and communities.
Authored by: Emily Sotudeh; Netleadz. For the Ecosystems Knowledge Network
The Nottingham Trent Basin housing development is a project developed by Project SCENe (Sustainable Community Energy Networks) in collaboration with Nottingham University and Innovate UK, aiming to transform the way we live to improve sustainability, health and wellbeing.
What’s the Project All About?
The Nottingham Trent Basin housing development is based around the idea of generating sustainable energy as a community.
The £100 million scheme is centred around the largest communal battery in Europe, which distributes energy throughout the complex. Any unused energy is then sold back to the grid and the money is shared among residents. Solar panels and thermal energy sources are also used to minimise carbon emissions and maximise sustainability.
By making energy production more efficient and affordable for residents, the leaders of the scheme hope to see this technology and energy model being rolled out across the UK in the near future.
Living in the Development
It’s not just the promise of a greener way of life and communal living that is enticing potential residents to the development.
Picturesque views of the river Trent, green spaces and modern living areas make the Nottingham Trent housing development a sought after location. The introduction of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies into the living spaces of the building also makes life more efficient and environmentally friendly.
One aim of these technologies is to visualise resident’s energy use, as a way of connecting people to their environment and encouraging them to make informed, more sustainable decisions regarding their energy use.
Regenerating the Waterway
Ideally located on the north bank of the river Trent, the development is reconnecting the city to the river.
This scheme is part of a wider project to regenerate the waterside from Trent Bridge to Colwick park. Once a bustling port, the area has since declined and is now an underused resource. The Waterside scheme, championed by Nottingham city council hopes to position the waterway as a new centre for leisure and wellbeing for the community.
Aims to improve riverside pathways, create a new park, add new footbridges and provide leisure facilities are all part of the plan to kickstart activity in the area. New forms of sustainable transport will also be implemented to encourage visitors to these new, valuable green spaces from the rest of the city.
By connecting residents to green spaces and waterways, the Nottingham Trent project hopes to reintroduce blue and green infrastructure to the city for the benefit of residents. A healthier way of living, closer to nature aims to provide health and wellbeing advantages for the wider community.
The developers Blueprint are also involved in this sustainable regeneration project.
Award Winners in Sustainability
The project won ‘Sustainable Development of the Year’ at the East Midlands Bricks Awards in 2018, just two years after the first residents moved in. With more development underway, the organisers hope to see around 500 new, low energy homes created in the area.
Fuelling Vital Research
Students from the University of Nottingham are collaborating with Project SCENe to help develop software which allows the general public and potential home buyers easier access to the data coming from the project. This will be displayed in the community hub within the development.
By making this information more widely accessible, the hope is to spread awareness of sustainable energy solutions in the home.
The Future of Energy in Our Homes
Since the early 90s, the government has reduced UK greenhouse emissions by 42%. However, more is needed to keep up with the pace of change and industry.
That’s why the government is putting in place a plan for clean growth innovation and allocating funding to projects developing renewable energy solutions. Soon, the UK could be a world leader in low carbon technologies, to the benefit of the economic, environmental and social landscape.
Supporting Renewable Growth
Funding from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is helping projects such as this one realise their green aspirations.
Connecting people to their environment through communal energy production and innovative technologies provides a hopeful energy model for the future, one that we’ll hopefully be seeing more of very soon!
Subscribe to the Innovate UK YouTube channel to discover more projects and schemes aiming to transform clean energy production and use in the UK.