Islington Borough Council Islington Borough Council Bunhill Heat and Power

Islington is at the forefront of creating affordable energy solutions which are kind to the environment and the Bunhill Heat and Power scheme installed by Vital Energi is now providing cheaper energy bills for residents and is responsible for lowering CO2 emissions.

“We're on the side of residents, and Bunhill Heat and Power will help build a fairer Islington by cutting fuel costs and fuel poverty. We've built this energy centre to bring cheaper, greener heating to people on local estates, and at a time of soaring energy prices it will help many people who struggle to heat their homes. It also brings cheaper heating to our nearby swimming pool and leisure centre. ”

Cllr Paul Smith Islington Council's executive member of environment

Project Overview

Bunhill Heat and Power in Islington is cutting carbon emissions and residents’ energy bills thanks to a highly-efficient new energy centre and heat network being installed by Vital Energi.

Vital Energi’s experience, design capability and cost competitiveness helped secure it the contract to design, supply, install, operate and maintain the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) energy centre and district heating network that will supply electricity and heat to more than 700 households in the Stafford Cripps, Redbrick and St Luke’s estates off Old Street, Finsbury Leisure Centre in Norman Street, and the Ironmonger Row Baths.

A series of underground district heating pipes will carry hot water between the local energy centre and the buildings connected to the network. Providing energy in this way not only makes the energy centre more efficient, cheaper and greener, it also reduces carbon emissions.

Vital Energi has been awarded responsibility for operating and maintaining the energy centre for the next 10 years.

The Challenge

The Bunhill Energy Centre is part of Islington Council's Decentralised Energy Programme which aims to cut carbon emissions and fuel bills across the borough. The programme is part of the council’s efforts to meet its ambitious target of a 40 per cent reduction in carbon emissions in the borough by 2020 and help alleviate fuel poverty. The Bunhill Energy centre and heat network will be fully owned and managed by the Council, and was funded by grants sourced from the London Development Agency and the Homes and Community Agency.

The Council’s ownership and management of the scheme will help to maximise benefits for the local community and energy bill savings for residents. Islington has won praise for being one of the most pioneering authorities in the country on combating climate change and addressing fuel poverty. 

Vital Energi's Solution

Vital Energi has designed, supplied and installed a community heating system to meet the heat demands of the homes and businesses being connected to it. The company has also won the contract to operate and maintain the energy centre for 10 years. Located in the south of Islington close to the City, the Bunhill Energy Centre has been designed in a modular way to allow flexibility and provide room for expansion. All the elements of the energy centre are portable and can be relocated in order to meet Islington’s future needs.

The 2MW CHP engine will be housed in one container and there is a separate 115,000 litre external thermal store which is being clad in sustainably sourced green oak to soften its appearance. In addition, 2km of district heating pipes have been installed. At the request of the client, Vital Energi specially designed the energy centre to minimise noise and adopted a “plug and play” method of construction with all the major components manufactured and prefabricated off site in order to reduce disruption to residents.

The energy centre is surrounded by a four metre oak fence, and new mature trees and climbing plants have been introduced to help it blend in with its surroundings. The Bunhill Heat and Power Heat network has been designed and installed to provide the option for it to be expanded, with potential to expand across boroughs and connect to nearby district heating schemes in the future. 

Conclusion

The Bunhill Energy Centre, the first of its kind in the Borough of Islington, will save money for hundreds of local residents at a time when the cost of living is rising and energy bills are soaring and will therefore make a real difference to residents’ lives.   

It has been strategically designed to enable expansion and provide the prospect of connection with nearby schemes in the future.

Unlike normal electricity production, which wastes up to two thirds of the fuel used to make it, the energy centre will use the heat created from producing electricity to help heat buildings and provide hot water, making it more efficient, cheaper and greener. 

Benefits:

  • Reliable and secure energy supply
  • Reducing carbon footprint by around 2,000 tonnes CO2  a year
  • Reducing heating costs and energy bills for residents to provide a buffer against increasing fuel costs
  • Reducing fuel poverty in the borough
  • Long-term flexible and expandable solution
  • Achieving efficiencies of scale