Energy research partnership launched between Durham University and the London Borough of Haringey
(23 January 2014)
Durham University and the London Borough of Haringey have today launched a pioneering research partnership that will see them working together to drive economic growth and tackle climate change.
Haringey was the first major local authority in England to commit to reduce local CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 whilst also tackling inequality and raising prosperity, and the council’s Carbon Commission recommended working with the research community to explore this in greater depth.
A Memorandum of Understanding signed this week sets out how Haringey Council and Durham University will work together to assess what the barriers to low carbon economic development are, and to understand how they can develop low carbon enterprise activity.
Energy research is one of Durham University’s key strengths and the internationally-renowned Durham Energy Institute (DEI) covers the spectrum of energy research including the decarbonisation of energy in a way which tackles the societal aspects of energy technology development and use.
Haringey Council is investing £90,000 in the partnership, with key themes of the one-year pilot phase to include:
- New approaches for smart cities, whereby energy is generated and stored locally for distribution.
- How to make the most of Haringey’s major regeneration opportunities while also reducing carbon emissions and tackling inequality.
- Sustainable regeneration that allows local communities and businesses to become involved in low carbon technology.
- Exploring ambitions for Haringey to be a living and learning laboratory for world class research and innovation.
- The challenges and opportunities of ‘eco-retrofit’- adapting buildings to make them more energy efficient by insulating them and fitting them with their own electricity generation.
- Addressing links between energy vulnerability, wellbeing and inclusion.
The University research will help to inform initial policy decisions at Haringey; enabling the council to understand the potential of a co-operative model. The research activities will include the assessment of how and why small businesses join the retrofit co-operative, the potential and limits for expanding the co-operative, and how and why householders opt to undertake an energy retrofit.
If successful, the plan is to extend the research partnership beyond the initial one year phase.
Simon Marvin, Professor of Low Carbon Cities at Durham University said: “National carbon reduction targets are ambitious and focus on the developing of large scale energy technologies that can help build a low carbon economy. But what is missing from these technological visions is an understanding of how a low carbon transition may have relevance for the everyday lives of people and communities. This joint programme of work with Haringey will address this deficit.”
Councillor Joe Goldberg, Haringey Council Cabinet Member for Finance and Carbon Reduction, said: “Britain has yet to fully exploit its potential share of one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world, and we’re determined to bring some of that to Haringey. We’re committed to seizing the opportunities that regeneration offers to tackle inequality and raise prosperity while also reducing carbon emissions.
“Our ambition is for Haringey to be at the cutting edge of research. That’s why we’re proud to be investing in the future of our borough through partnerships like this with Durham, which underline our commitment to exploring how innovation can create opportunities for our local communities and businesses.”
Professor Sarah Atkinson, Co-Director of Durham University’s Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing said: “This collaboration is significant in emphasising how inequalities between households and neighbourhoods in energy vulnerability, health and wellbeing interrelate and influence the possibilities for achieving low carbon transition targets.”
Professor Ray Hudson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Durham University, said: “We are pleased to be working with Haringey, a forward-thinking council that is committed to the establishment of a low-carbon economy.
“Durham seeks to carry out research that is collaborative, participative and interdisciplinary. Partnerships, like this one with Haringey, help us to achieve that aim. We hope that our world-leading expertise in the energy arena will help them to reach their 2020 goal.”