THE construction crews have already moved into the Cruddas Park site on the West End of Newcastle. Very shortly, university researchers will be joining them.
The high-rises built in the 1960s were part of then council leader T Dan Smith’s “city in the sky” concept. But the Riverside Dene project which replaces them will feature massively increased energy efficiency and a biomass heating system.
It will also be a test site for a major European research programme worth nearly a4m, which aims to provide urban planners with a wider knowledge of which carbon reduction and sustainability measures perform best in different situations.
The Semantic Technologies for Carbon Reduction in Urban Planning project – which we’ll call SEMANCO for short – is led by Barcelona’s Fundacio Privada Universitat i Technolgia, and will be funded through the European Commission’s FP7 Cooperation programme. It features nine European partners, including the University of Teesside and the Newcastle-based energy efficiency charity National Energy Action.
Teesside University’s Dr Tracey Crosbie said: “We create a lot of tools at the universities, and quite often they’re not used before they don’t fit with the problems of architects.
“What we’re trying to do is ask what information they require and what the problems are, take the existing data and fill in the gaps with our software tools.
“With somewhere like Riverside Dene, we’ll model the buildings in the area and look at the outcome of different interventions. What we want to do is to be able to give planners an idea of the different economic costs. So if you were a social housing provider, we could say it would cost this much to replace the double glazing and save you this much, or you could put in solar panels for domestic hot water. It’s about giving people options and information.”