Low Carbon Housing Powered by Data Center Waste Heat
In a significant step toward achieving a greener and more sustainable future, the UK government is set to invest nearly £65 million in five innovative green heating projects that will not only bring warmth to thousands of homes and businesses but also help reduce carbon emissions.
A pioneering initiative in West London will lead the way by recycling waste heat from data centers to provide heating and hot water to over 10,000 homes.
A Game-Changer for Old Oak and Park Royal
The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), spanning the London boroughs of Hammersmith, Brent, and Ealing, will lead the charge by pioneering a low-carbon heat network. With £36 million in government support, this groundbreaking project will harness waste heat generated by large data centers storing internet data.
The initiative is set to connect 10,000 new homes and 250,000m2 of commercial space to this innovative, low-carbon energy source, keeping bills low and contributing to the UK’s ambitious goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Thousands of Skilled Jobs to Be Created
These five green heating projects spanning across London, Watford, Suffolk, and Lancaster are anticipated to generate thousands of lucrative skilled job opportunities. This aligns seamlessly with the government’s steadfast commitment to invigorate the economy through pioneering innovations within the green energy sector.
Lancaster University’s Decarbonization Journey
Among the winning projects, Lancaster University has successfully secured over £21 million to undertake a comprehensive decarbonization of its entire campus. This transformative endeavor will encompass the implementation of a low-carbon heat network, featuring a substantial heat pump, energized by a newly established solar farm and an existing wind turbine.
Undoubtedly, this initiative marks a significant stride toward positioning the campus as a prominent role model for sustainable energy practices.
Government Praise for Innovative Green Projects
Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho commended the projects, stating that they exemplify the UK’s leadership in reducing carbon emissions. She emphasized that these investments in future technologies will allow families across the country to heat their homes with low-carbon, recycled heat while creating a multitude of new skilled jobs.
Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, underscored the innovative approach of utilizing waste heat from technology to maintain warmth in homes. He expressed his optimism that the £65 million invested in these projects would be instrumental in spreading this success nationwide. Furthermore, this would be a significant step toward achieving lower energy bills and, most importantly, the realization of the UK’s ambitious net zero carbon goal.
Revolutionizing Heating with Heat Networks
Heat networks have emerged as a game-changer in the battle against carbon emissions, as they supply heating and hot water to homes and businesses efficiently through heat pumps or various heat sources. This approach significantly reduces carbon emissions, as it provides heat to multiple buildings from a central source, negating the need for individual, energy-intensive heating solutions like gas boilers.
Crucial Role in Carbon Reduction
Heating in buildings accounts for a substantial 30% of all UK emissions, making the transition to heat networks a crucial part of the country’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
Green Heat Network Fund Continues to Deliver
Today’s announcement builds on the success of the Green Heat Network Fund, which has already awarded £122 million to support 11 new heat network projects across the country.
Projects Receiving Support
The list of projects receiving funding in this round includes:
- Old Oak Park Royal Development Corporation: £36 million to construct a heat network using waste heat from data centers, heating over 10,000 homes and 250,000m2 of commercial space.
- Chilton Woods, Suffolk: Nearly 1,000 homes and a primary school will receive low-carbon heating, backed by £745,000. The project also includes a thermal store to feed excess energy into the National Grid.
- London Borough of Brent: Nearly £5.2 million for the South Kilburn District Heat Network, supplying heat to 34 sites via air source heat pumps and backup gas boilers, benefiting 2,900 customers through a 2.79km pipe network.
- Watford Community Housing (WCH): The not-for-profit housing association will receive £1.8 million to replace an old gas district heating system with ground source and air source heat pumps, providing heat to 252 apartments across 6 blocks.
- Lancaster University: More than £21 million to fully decarbonize its campus with a low-carbon energy center, utilizing air source heat pumps, thermal storage, and electrical infrastructure works.
Industry Praises Innovative Heat Networks
Matthew Basnett, the Association for Decentralized Energy’s (ADE) Heat Network Policy Lead, celebrated the success of the Green Heat Network Fund, highlighting the pivotal role of heat networks in decarbonizing heat at scale. He expressed excitement about the pioneering initiative using waste heat from data centers to heat more than 10,000 homes, making them more comfortable and affordable in the long term.
OPDC’s Commitment to Sustainability
David Lunts, Chief Executive of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, commended the initiative for recycling waste heat from local data centers. He emphasized the corporation’s unwavering support for the mayor’s net zero ambitions, further underscoring their excitement about leading the development of low-carbon infrastructure. This, in turn, enables both current and future generations to embrace more sustainable living practices.