University of Liverpool University of Liverpool Greenbank Residences - University of Liverpool In Progress

We have been working with the University of Liverpool for almost 10 years and previous projects include installing their district heating network and an award-winning project which saw us transform a derelict, Grade II former mortuary building into a state-of-the-art CHP energy centre. In our latest project, we are delivering an energy centre and district heating network to supply the University of Liverpool's new student halls of residence.

“The Greenbank project is a continuation of an established successful relationship between the University of Liverpool and Vital Energi which has been built-up over the last 10 years of delivering a number of successful strategic CHP and district heating projects on the main city centre campus. Vital Energi’s specialist engineering expertise in this area and their co-operative approach to overcoming problems has been an important factor in ensuring the successful delivery of these complex engineering projects.”

Ian Murray Consultant Project Manager

Project Overview

Greenbank Student Village is part of a £250m masterplan to regenerate and expand upon campuses across Liverpool. The 20.8 acre Greenbank Student Village is currently undergoing a redevelopment including the regeneration of the 18th century building, Greenbank House, which was left to the University of Liverpool by the Rathbone family.

Once complete, Greenbank Student Village will provide 1,361 en suite bedrooms, leisure facilities, social spaces and a library/study area to accommodate bustling student life. The University of Liverpool want to “create a community for its stakeholders that operates in an environmentally sustainable, economically feasible and socially responsible way." Therefore, coming up with a sustainable energy solution was key to this development.

The Challenge

As per government targets, the University are aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 36% by 2020. In 2007, the University of Liverpool began their journey to becoming more sustainable, with aims of being leaders in their sector, and selected Vital Energi as their partners. Since then, we have installed over 7km of district heating through the City Centre, supplied the CHP energy centre in a Grade II listed building, succeeded in future proofing the campus and  are providing operations and maintenance services on some of these projects.

In further developments, the University wanted to continue to reduce their carbon footprint and deliver high quality, sustainable buildings. Once Greenbank Student Village is complete, accommodation will have increased by 40% so the new energy centre needs to meet the increased demand of students living on the site.

Vital Energi's Solution

Continuing our longstanding relationship, the University of Liverpool selected Vital Energi to design and build the energy centre and district heating network to supply Greenbank Student Village. The University had a low noise specification which needed to be adhered to as the energy centre is situated in the basement of one of the student apartment blocks.

In order to keep the plantroom noise break out to less than 45dBA at 1m outside the energy centre, Vital Energi came up with a bespoke noise attenuation solution.  This included installing the 600mm acoustic louvres and 155m2 of 100mm thick lamaphon acoustic lining to the ceiling to achieve NR30 noise levels in the student’s living rooms above the energy centre. Additionally, we will be installing a Hoval boiler with an acoustic hood, 25mm of acoustic lining on the CHP’s ventilation ductwork and vibration isolation on each piece of equipment, which will all be floor mounted and not suspended from the ceiling. The CHP flues will have stage 4 attenuation and the boilers will have single stage attenuation. Once the energy centre is complete, a noise assessment based on Fischer Acoustics methodology will be carried out to measure if the plantroom meets the 45dBA at 1m specified noise limit.

When installation of the main energy centre is complete, it will supply 420 dwellings and recreational space. The finished Energy Centre will contain two 1MW boilers, four 250kW boilers, one 230kWe CHP, one 150kWe CHP and eight thermal stores, each with a storage volume of 8m3. Vital Energi will be operating and maintaining the scheme and have also installed 1KM of district heating which feeds from the energy centre and connects to smaller heat substations to then provide heat and hot water for each of the dwellings.

Prior to obtaining the contract for the energy centre, Vital Energi extended the district heating network for Liverpool University so that it would supply Greenbank campus. In 2015 we installed district heating pipework for phase 1 of the development which consisted of a 570m trench with 1.14km of pipework for flow and return of water. The network will connect Logstor’s series 2 district heating mains to the new energy centre.


We have successfully come up with a unique design which meets the requests of the client and puts noise mitigation & sustainability at the forefront of the scheme. Once complete, a noise assessment will be carried out to certify that the energy centre meets requirements for keeping noise pollution at its minimum and the energy centre will be used to educate engineering students about the possibilities available when designing bespoke schemes.

The University of Liverpool have been keen to reduce their carbon emissions and continue in their aspiration to be one of the leaders in the way their campus uses energy. Therefore, the district heating network will connect to the previous network we have installed and our energy solution will provide estimated savings of 25 tonnes of carbon per year.


  • Bespoke acoustic ceiling to minimise noise pollution
  • District heating will significantly reduce the student villages CO2 emissions through the local generation of heat.
  • The centralised plantroom will save the University and operator costs on maintenance and installation as there is only one central boiler to maintain.
  • The Scheme is environmentally friendly as CHPs with higher efficiencies are used to heat the network instead of conventional boilers.
  • Estimated CO2 savings of 25 tonnes per annum.