ALMOST 800 homes in Leeds have now been connected to the city’s ‘Leeds PIPES’ district heating network, allowing residents to enjoy affordable and sustainable heating and hot water.
The £36 million scheme, delivered in partnership between Leeds City Council and Vital Energi, uses heat generated from black bin waste at Leeds’ Recycling & Energy Recovery Facility (RERF).
The heat is then transported to local businesses and residents using a series of super insulated district heating pipes.
It is estimated that the network will save tenants at 1,983 properties between 10-25% on their energy bills and reduce Leeds’ annual carbon footprint by 11,000 tonnes once the first phase of the scheme has been completed later this year.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said: “Leeds has made fantastic progress with its Affordable Warmth Strategy over the last few years, and it is promising to see that almost 800 properties are now connected to the district heating network.
“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to connect residents in council properties to affordable heating and hot water. This will have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of those connected to the scheme.
“It is great to hear from local tenants about how the network has already made a positive difference by helping them stay warm and healthy over the winter period and how it will help them save money in the long-term.”
Residents at Shakespeare Grange in Leeds have had the heating for the past few months, with one already reporting a saving of around £150 a month. Businesses including the Leeds Playhouse have also been connected to the network.
Work on the second phase of the network is now in progress after the council received an additional £2.4 million in funding from the Heat Network Investment Project (HNIP).
The additional funding will allow the 16.5km network to be extended by a further 2.5km into the city centre, connecting Leeds landmarks like the City Museum, Art Gallery, Central Library, and the Town Hall to the scheme.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, said: “After declaring a climate emergency, the district heating network will make a positive contribution to enable local homes and businesses to connect to energy efficiency heating.
“The district heating network is a fantastic example of how becoming more sustainable can help the council and residents save money on their energy bills whilst also working towards our target of becoming a carbon-neutral city.
“The scheme is just one of the ways which Leeds has committed to reducing our carbon footprint and the network will make a huge difference to the city’s emissions.”
Rob Falcon, Project Director for Vital Energi, added: “Citywide projects are particularly exciting as they have a large, positive impact on both carbon emissions and energy costs, but they also have scope to grow and connect more customers and residents and become even more efficient as they expand.
“We’re delighted the project recently received HNIP funding for Phase 2 which we’re currently delivering in the Headrow and I am sure this will grow to become one of the UK’s most important heat networks.
“We’re delighted that heat is now on in almost 800 flats and the remaining residents will be switched over onto the new system over the coming months.”
Main Image: (Left to right) Rob Falcon, Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Joan Fletcher, Said Dirir and baby, with Councillor Debra Coupar. Photo courtesy of Leeds City Council