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Sustainable Cities Projects

The research forming the basis of this paper was carried out in 2010-2011 to develop an approach for a longitudinal study of the impact and outcomes of an area-based regeneration initiative in the North East of England, commissioned by the Institute for Local Governance. The cross-disciplinary team involved researchers from Durham and Northumbria Universities from planning, housing, urban regeneration and employment backgrounds. One of the key tasks was to compile a detailed baseline capturing the current state of the area, using existing data from a variety of sources.

Paper: It'll get worse before it gets better: local experiences of living in a regeneration area

External Wall Insulation Evaluation (2014-2015)

This project was funded by Gateshead Housing Company and Home Housing. The aim was to identify the benefits of external wall insulation to over 800 non-traditional social housing properties, through behavioural and technical monitoring of 15 properties and their tenants.

Behaviour change research: Sinclair Meadows (2012-2015)

Sinclair Meadows is a social housing development in South Shields built by Four Housing Group. The housing was designed to be carbon negative, with householders being given advice on energy efficiency in order to maximise savings. Technical monitoring took place to assess the performance of the housing once residents were in place. SCRI carried out research to assess behavioural changes among residents over the first two years, including regular behavioural surveys, diaries and other consultation activities.

Domestic Energy Efficiency (January-September 2012)

This project was funded by the Newcastle Science City programme. Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle delivered a series of energy efficiency workshops to local residents in selected communities in Newcastle. SCRI gathered baseline data on participants’ knowledge and approach to energy use before the workshops, and then evaluated how participants’ knowledge and approach to energy use had changed as a result of the workshops.

North Sea Region Electric Mobility Network - NSR E-Mobility (2011-2014)

Northumbria University is a partner in the EU-funded project, NSR E-Mobility, which aims to help to create favourable conditions to promote the common development of e-mobility in the North Sea Region. The aim of the project is to promote transnational support structures in the shape of a network and virtual routes to improve accessibility and the wider use of e-mobility in the North Sea Region countries. The partnership delivering the project includes universities, logistics organisations, not-for-profit environmental organisations, policy development and technology transfer institutions, regional government and municipal authorities from North Sea nations including the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Belgium.

Mapping climate change research across North East Universities (2010-2011)

This project delivered through the North East Improvement and Efficiency Partnership’s Climate Change Best Practice Programme, aimed to provide greater visibility of climate change related research being undertaken within the universities in the North East England. A quick reference guide was produced to encourage improved knowledge transfer between the academic and local government community, but would also prove useful to private and third sector organisations. The project was commissioned through the Institute of Local Governance and compiled by the Sustainable Cities Research Institute, Northumbria University, with further input being provided by ClimateNE.

Isos ‘Retrofit for the Future’ project (2010-2011)

A Technology Strategy Board (TSB) funded project under the Retrofit for the Future programme, aiming to retrofit the UK social housing stock in order to meet future energy targets and the reduction of CO2 emissions and energy use. The project involved the following project partners: Isos Housing, Envirohomes and Northumbria University. A ‘hard to heat’ end terraced house was retrofitted, and technical and behaviour monitoring was undertaken. SCRI’s role was monitoring the tenant’s behaviour, including understanding their experiences of and concerns about the retrofit process to ensure it was ‘user friendly,’ living within the new environment, feedback on the retrofit/technologies, and any behaviour change regarding energy use.

Susproc Sustainable Protocol (2010)

This project was carried out with VTT, a research body based in Finland. It aimed to promote the adoption of good practice in eco-efficient building and sustainability in the built environment. Activities included the exchange of good practice on benchmarking tools, identification of barriers and impacts, and the development of new working processes.

BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes research (2009-2012)

BREEAM and the Code for Sustainable Homes are the main tools used in the UK to enable planners, developers and occupiers to demonstrate that buildings comply with environmental requirements. University staff have carried out licensed assessor work with developers and clients, giving advice on how to develop buildings that meet clients’ needs while addressing low and zero carbon potential. This work has been carried out in collaboration with several commercial and non-commercial developers and various regional and national organisations.

Pilot study to develop energy benchmarking for the domestic housing sector in Newcastle City Council (2009-2010)

Obtaining information on domestic energy consumption is a big challenge for local authorities, due to deregulation and difficulties surrounding the acquisition of data. Local authorities need to establish a benchmark in order to help them to plan future energy strategies. This pilot study focused on developing a methodology for predicting energy consumption for specific house types in the city.

Sustainable Development Protocol: developing an environmental management tool for Egypt (2009-2010)

Egypt has experienced recent rapid expansion in its housing sector, economic activity and growing population. The Egyptian Government and Ministry of Housing is increasingly embracing the issue of sustainability in buildings. Northumbria University was commissioned to identify the key components of green buildings tools such as BREEAM and LEED, and build on these to develop a set of national indicators and a sustainable development protocol (SDP) for Egypt. In addition the work involved carrying out a variety of workshops to provide training in such tools to key industry people.

Evaluation of Newcastle Citizens Assembly (2009-2011)

Two separate evaluations were carried out for this initiative, which aimed to create a platform to engage citizens in decision making and planning around local services. The research was funded by Newcastle Partnership.

Newcastle Eco-Neighbourhood Project (2009-2011)

This was a pilot project led by Northumbria and Newcastle Universities, with partners including Newcastle City Council, Groundwork, National Energy Action and the Energy Saving Trust. It explored ways to engage with individual residents and resident groups with the aim of finding successful ways to monitor domestic energy consumption, create awareness of the need to reduce energy consumption, and change household and everyday behaviours so as to reduce CO2 emissions.

Quality Low Input Food (QLIF) (2006-2009)

Lower production costs and coupling of lower production costs with improved quality and safety and consumer perceptions of higher quality and safety will enable low-input farmers to provide higher value-added food that maximises benefits to consumers and producers alike. It is particularly important to ensure that consumers can make choices based on knowledge of the value provided by different types of products, and that these values are reflected in accurate and realistic business planning along the production supply chain. Northumbria University’s role in the project was to assess the sustainability and environmental input of organic and non-organic farming. This was an EU funded FP6 project undertaken for the European Commission. Further information can be found on the QLIF website.