Almost 800 homes are now enjoying affordable and sustainable heat after being connected to the city’s £36m ‘Leeds PIPES’ district heating network.
The scheme uses heat generated from black bin waste at the Recycling & Energy Recovery Facility (RERF) and transports it via a series of super insulated district heating pipes to local businesses and residents.
Once the scheme’s first phase has been completed later this year the network will save tenants at 1,983 properties an estimated 10 to 25% on energy bills whilst reducing the city’s annual carbon footprint by 11,000 tonnes.
The scheme has been delivered in partnership between Leeds City Council and Vital Energi with funding support from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and ERDF.
Councillors Debra Coupar and Lisa Mulherin met with local residents and representatives from Vital Energi at Shakespeare Grange on 28th March to find out more about the scheme and how it is helping residents.
The 4 months since I got it have been heaven. I am saving on my general electric, I’m saving on one bill which compensates for the other bill too. When the warm weather comes, I will see a genuine change.
Said Dirir, resident at Shakespeare Grange, said:
“I’ve had the heating for the last 2 months. It’s nice and warm and I’m happy with it. I’m saving money too, before I was paying nearly £200 a month, now I’m saving around £150 a month.”
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. Too many people pay too much for their heating bills and this network is one of the ways which Leeds City Council and partners are tackling this issue.
“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.”
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 explained:
“City-wide 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. We’d like to thank the residents for their good humour, patience and interest in the project and are proud they will now receive cleaner, greener, more affordable and efficient heating and hot water.”
Businesses including the Leeds Playhouse have also connected to the network.
Following the recent “heat on” for scheme’s first phase, work on the network’s second phase is now progressing after the council successfully received an additional £2.4m in funding from the Heat Network Investment Programme to extend the network.
The new funding has allowed the 16.5km network to be extended by a further 2.5km along the Headrow and into the city centre and connecting the City Museum, Art Gallery, Central Library, Town Hall, St George House and Civic Hall to the scheme.