A recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted the dangers associated with a rise of 1.5°C above current global temperatures – including risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Put in these terms, climate change can seem an overwhelming problem, leaving many feeling powerless. How can one possibly make a difference?
However, there are small lifestyle changes that people can make to reduce their impact on the environment, for example, choosing products that are more sustainable and opting to do business with companies that are actively taking environmentally friendly approaches to their processes and services.
Through Clean Growth UK and the Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory, LJMU is helping local businesses meet consumer demands for greater accountability when it comes to the environment. A collaboration between two other universities, the University of Brighton and the University of Portsmouth, along with the corporate and public sector, Clean Growth UK facilitates innovation and commercialisation of cleaner and greener products and services by using the expertise and facilities based within universities. Similarly, Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory creates low carbon goods, processes and services through partnerships with the University of Liverpool and Lancaster University.
Here are just two businesses who have benefited from the sustainability expertise at LJMU:
Climbing the walls
The Climbing Hangar believes that climbing can inspire and help people feel good about themselves. With climbing on the rise in the UK, The Climbing Hangar are looking to expand and wish to grow their business in a sustainable way.
The grips that climbers grab or step on while climbing, known as holds, are made from polyester and polyurethane and because of this, turn smooth quickly and can't be refurbished or recycled. In addition, the price to purchase them from The Climbing Hangar's supplier was rising considerably.
The Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory organised student projects to carry out abrasion testing and to explore ways to retexture the holds in order to extend their life and reduce the 10,000 tonnes sent to landfill. By exploring funding options, Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory are supporting the company to develop a world first in a new material substrate to manufacture holds that can be refurbished and recycled.
“The support that we are receiving is critical because sustainability is at the heart of our expansion but the R&D is far beyond our expertise, they have been brilliant in helping us find where science meets commercial needs."
– Ged MacDomhnaill, MD, The Climbing Hangar
She blinded me with science
Energy Fairies Ltd. are an award-winning, all female, family-run energy efficiency company based in Liverpool.
How do Energy Fairies create an aesthetically-pleasing thermal blind system made from sustainable materials?
Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory was able to perform rigorous investigations and testing for proof of concept and prototype of a retro-fitted thermal insulation kit. Testing took place at LJMU’s exemplar houses and focused on comparing conventional plantation type shutters and retro-fitted systems. A carbon assessment of the product was also carried out.
Energy Fairies now have a good idea of the performance, comfort level, heat loss and greenhouse gas reduction of the prototype. This valuable information and support from LJMU will result in a new, more environmentally-friendly product for consumers, with potential for installation in millions of homes and businesses across the UK. Energy Fairies will concentrate on working with the local council to implement their product on lower income households who typically struggle to access cheap energy.
“Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory helps SMEs in the Liverpool City Region to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to develop new products and ideas, whilst Clean Growth UK can support businesses of all sizes to access funding, commercialise products and attract investment. Both projects combine to offer a full bespoke service to industry to enhance competitiveness and profitability.” – Anthony Seasman, Project Manager, Clean Growth UK
To discover ways to lessen your impact on the environment, take a look at our 17 low-effort ways to be more eco-friendly while at uni.
Interested in developing innovative and sustainable products? Find out where a degree in engineering could take you.