City Should Power Own Revolution; GO GREEN - Climate Expert's Ideas for Coventry Include All-in-One Energy Plant, Self-Driving Cars and Buses - and a Wind Turbine on Every Lamppost

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Byline: By Mary Griffin, ENVIRONMENT REPORTER

THE bold new city blueprint drawn up by prizewinning designers Jerde is awash with green.

Designs revealed by the Coventry Telegraph show a New York-style city centre park, private gardens and a ream of tiered green spaces on shop roofs.

The Los Angeles-based architects say the grass roofs will help to soak up rainwater, attract wildlife and bring down the temperature of the concrete jungle.

But sustainability, they claim, is a bigger issue than simply investing in green technologies.

Jerde's Stuart Berriman said: "Social and environmental aspects are as much about sustainability as environmental.

"If the economics don't work and in 20 years you've got to pull it all down, that's not sustainable.

"What's happened here is city centre living is very ghettoised and high-rise has become stigmatised.

"By bringing a mix of people into the centre you get people extending their time in the city beyond 5pm.

People take ownership and stewardship of it."

But he agrees that a low-carbon Coventry will also need new technologies, such as an electric or hydrogenpowered city centre shuttle and buildings made with smart glass, allowing in the sun's light while blocking hot infra-red rays.

At Warwick University's Low Carbon City conference later this month, Tony McNally wants to explore how those technologies can be designed and manufactured in Coventry.

Tony, managing director of Coventrybased Climate Change Solutions, said: "We've got to inspire a younger generation to see the future not in leaving Coventry but having a sustainable city with employment and a better environment.

This is a city that rose from the ashes. We've got resources and capability and innovation."

And Tony isn't put off by doubters who think the plans are pie-in-the-sky.

He said: "You always get people saying it won't work and that's when you know you're on to a good thing. It's the cry that down the ages has sought to frustrate and undermine regeneration.

"But all of these technologies - hydrogen, wind, geothermal and solar - already exist."

Here, Tony talks us through the systems that could make Coventry a lowcarbon smart city.

DECENTRALISED ENERGY

INSTEAD of using the National Grid's power stations, that waste much of the heat they create by sending steam pouring out of cooling towers, Tony wants Coventry to have its own combined heat and power (CHP) plant that uses the heat by-product to supply local homes.

He said: "A power station loses nearly 50 per cent of the oil or gas in converting it into energy. So the consumer is paying not only for the 50 per cent of energy they're using but for the 50 per cent they're not using.

"Instead, we could have combined heat and power, or tri-generation - combined heat, power and cooling. …