Leeds to invest £24m in district heating for council homes

Leeds City Council plans to deliver six new district heating networks which will cut carbon emissions and reduce energy costs across 1,485 council homes.
A landscape shot of Leeds Town Hall on 8th February 2018.
Leeds Town Hall in 2018. Credit: MTaylor848/Creative Commons.

Leeds City Council plans to deliver six new district heating networks which will cut the city’s carbon footprint and reduce energy costs across thousands of council homes.

The council has invited providers to bid to design, develop and deliver six networks that will reduce carbon emissions, lower energy bills, and improve the comfort and wellbeing of council tenants in 26 high-rise blocks across Leeds.

Several green technologies are being considered to power the new networks, including ground and air source heat pumps or biomass systems.

The £24 million investment follows the success of Leeds’s first district heating network, a low-carbon waste-powered system which will heat 1,983 homes across Leeds by the end of this year.

Cllr Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for communities, said: “Earlier this year, I met with council tenants already experiencing the benefits of being connected to Leeds’ first low carbon district heating network.

“Thanks to this major new investment in six new district heating networks thousands more residents will soon be able to stay warm for less too, which we know can make a real difference to our physical and financial wellbeing.

“Not only will this investment directly benefit many residents for years to come, it will also help decarbonise more of the city’s homes—and cut the council’s own carbon footprint—as we lead by example and work towards becoming a carbon neutral city.”

Around a quarter of Leeds’ carbon emissions currently come from the energy used to provide the city’s homes with heat and hot water.

District heating networks save carbon emissions by distributing heating from central heat sources instead of individual boilers. This heat is transported to individual buildings through a network of insulated underground pipes.

The council expects the six new district heating networks to benefit residents in 1,485 properties across the 26 tower blocks, saving the city around 950 tonnes of greenhouses gases a year while helping tenants save around 10% on their energy bills.

The programme of delivering the new networks will also create local job and apprenticeship opportunities in the green industries.

Neil Evans, the council’s director of resources and housing, said: “As the largest social housing provider in West Yorkshire, we know that council homes have a significant impact on the city’s carbon footprint and we take that responsibility seriously.

“The average Leeds City Council property is already more energy-efficient and cheaper to keep warm than its private sector counterpart and we will continue to invest in our buildings to help our tenants and reduce our environmental impact.

“This major new investment in green technologies and district heating networks is a great example of that and builds upon actions that we are already taking to improve energy efficiency, such as retrofitting older council homes and requiring new build council homes to meet a minimum B rating.”

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