Today we can announce that one of the most iconic buildings in Manchester is going green. As a contribution to the University’s Net Zero Carbon target, the John Rylands Research Institute and Library is harnessing the power of nature to become perhaps the world’s first zero carbon Gothic building.
The building will host an array of wind turbines on its roofs, while the slate roofs themselves will be clad in solar panels. To reduce loadings on the building, the turbines will be made of ultra-lightweight graphene, the wonder material developed at The University of Manchester.
Enough energy will be generated on a typical day to provide all of the building’s power and heating requirements, and on those sunny days for which Manchester is renowned, it is actually expected to return power to the National Grid. But what about those occasional rainy days, when solar panels won’t be generating electricity? Miniature waterwheels will be fitted inside the downspouts, to realize the power of rainwater cascading off the roofs.
The University’s Head of Carbon Reduction, Pete Burns, said: ‘This is a game changer, not just for The University of Manchester, but for all owners of Gothic buildings. I can really see wind turbines taking off in a big way.’
Kelvin Watts, from the Greater Manchester Sustainable Energy Consortium, said: ‘Manchester, the city that split the atom, has done it again. From being a major consumer of fossil fools, the Rylands will return energy to the national grid. In fact, we’re taking inspiration from the Rylands and looking to apply this technology to the Town Hall renovation project. In fact, you could say, from Waterhouse to waterwheels.’
The Rylands continues to lead the way in library innovation, from the project to extract DNA from parchment to create a long-extinct breed of cattle, and the DAFFODILS drone book delivery service, to addressing the climate crisis.
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