UK's largest green residential project secures £19m funding
Ingenious Real Estate Finance has agreed a £19m loan facility with property developer Citu, to fund the next 120 units at the Climate Innovation District (CID) in Leeds.
The loan will fund the development of 120 new apartments and houses at what is billed as "the largest sustainable residential development in the UK". The site is located in Leeds’ South Bank next to the River Aire, a short walk from the city centre.
Over 800 family homes are to be built in total over four phases, using Citu’s own off-site manufacturing facility, which uses an innovative timber framed system designed in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University to reduce carbon emissions at every stage.
The units themselves will benefit from a range of green qualities, incorporating the latest in sustainable technology.
For example, passive cooling, light wells and Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems, which capture the heat generated by appliances, transferring it from existing stale air to incoming fresh air.
With over 90 percent of heat transferred, heating requirements are up to ten times lower than an average UK home. The units will also benefit from 10 times the air tightness required by standard UK building regulations, which keeps heat in the house, whilst the MVHR systems maintain a flow of fresh air, delivering a healthy indoor air quality.
Residents will also benefit from a digitally enabled home, controlled via Google Nest, allowing them to monitor their energy and water usage.
The CID bisects the River Aire, and benefits from a new pedestrian bridge built by Citu in 2019 which provides access to the rest of the South Bank area and city centre.
Tom Brown, Managing Director of Real Estate at Ingenious, said: "We are pleased to be supporting Citu with the next phase of the CID development providing attractive homes for buyers looking for a quality, sustainable and energy-efficient place to live close to Leeds city centre.”
Jonathan Wilson at Citu, said: "The relationship we have developed with Ingenious is built upon a shared, long-term view of how we can work together on a more sustainable future whilst raising industry standards in both delivery and building performance.
“With many high street banks still investing heavily in fossil fuel projects it was, and is, hugely important we work with like-minded, ethical partners such as Ingenious. We are on a bold journey as a business and relationships like this only support the success and positive outcomes we require to disrupt the status quo.”
In September 2020, Ingenious became the first alternative lender to become a member of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).
The UKGBC’s mission statement is to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment, by transforming the way it is planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated.
As part of this membership, Ingenious is actively seeking to engage through training programmes, thought leadership and access to the latest research so that it helps drive sustainable standards within the sector.
China starts building underground lab for high level waste
China has begun constructing its first underground research laboratory in the Gobi Desert - following more than 35 years of research - to determine its suitability for storing future high level radioactive waste.
As part of the support from the International Atomic Energy Agency, 35 Chinese and 11 international experts took part in a six-week virtual expert mission earlier this year to provide input, guidance and recommendations to support plans for the in-situ laboratory.
“The safe disposal of high level radioactive waste is one of the critical missions for the sustainable development of China’s nuclear industry,” said Liang Chen, Vice President of the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology (BRIUG), which is constructing the underground research laboratory.
China has been working on identifying a suitable site for a HLW repository since 1985, and since 1999 those efforts have been supported by the IAEA.
The country’s strategy for HLW disposal consists of three stages, with stage one – laboratory studies and preliminary site selection – completed in 2020. The second stage, underground in-situ testing, is set to take place from 2021 to 2050, following the construction of the underground research laboratory. The final stage – the construction of the disposal facility – is planned to take place from 2041 to 2050, assuming the in-situ testing confirms the area’s suitability.
High-level radioactive waste can remain radioactive from thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. The internationally accepted solution for its safe and secure long term management is geological disposal in a facility several hundred metres underground. A geological disposal facility is under construction in Finland. (Watch the video Onkalo – A Solution for Nuclear Waste for more details).
“The construction of an underground research laboratory is an opportunity for advancement in the science and engineering of geological disposal facilities and an essential component in a sustainable energy future for countries,” said Stefan Joerg Mayer, Head of the Disposal Team at the IAEA. “Despite the constraints of the pandemic, we were able to design, organize and lead an innovative virtual mission to provide expert assistance to China in the construction of this new R&D facility.”
BRUIG requested the IAEA to provide support on characterisation of the rock mass, as well as scientific research, prior to construction.
The broad range of areas covered resulted in recommendations related to construction, but also guidance related to the implementation of its laboratory R&D plans during the construction phase.
“This virtual Expert Mission was very timely as construction of the underground laboratory began this summer and it provided critical support to this effort,” said Chen. “It has made a great contribution in promoting the sustainable development of China's nuclear industry.”
Nuclear power, as well as hydro power and other renewable energy sources, could collectively replace coal as China’s primary sources of power.
China could have an installed nuclear capacity of 182 gigawatts by 2030, an increase of 74 gigawatts over the policy scenario’s goal, according to McKinsey.
China manufactures 70 percent of the equipment necessary for nuclear plants, and the cost for this equipment has been falling. If the country develops nuclear power to the fullest extent, by 2030 carbon emissions could fall by 470 million tons, at a cost of €3 per ton.