Work has begun to transform a former 19th century convent into a modern, sustainable centre for families needing temporary emergency respite.

The accommodation will be part of Liverpool Mutual Home’s (LMH) portfolio of green, sustainable buildings. The housing association won a Reducing Carbon award at the Homes and Communities Agency 2009 awards for improving sustainable living as part of a £30 million regeneration scheme in Walton.

The £3.5 million Belvidere Road Family is expected to be completed early next year and has energy efficiency features throughout.

Photovoltaic solar cells will be fixed to the roof to supply electricity, and flat-plate solar collectors and heat pumps will convert ambient air into energy and provide hot water.

A large glazed panel will also be part of the extension, allowing natural light into the building with cool air converted into heating to be distributed around the communal areas.

External walls will be internally lined with dynamic slimline insulation to provide greater insulation standards without significantly increasing wall thickness and energy efficient windows and doors will be installed.

LMH chief executive, Steve Coffey, said: “It is a very exciting project and will really transform the building aesthetically but more importantly, provide a vital service for those most in need in the city.

“We are using some of the latest energy efficient technologies which will create a modern, sustainable and inspiring temporary accommodation facility, while remaining in-keeping with the Princes Park conservation area.

“The green agenda is a key priority for us.

“This scheme – like the rest of our £380 million regeneration programme across the city – is sustainable not only in terms of energy costs and its low carbon footprint, but in its flexible design and construction methods.”

On top of its green credentials, the building will take into consideration the quality of life for its residents. Sliding walls will be installed which can expand or reduce living space to accommodate both very large families and individuals.

Alison Brown

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