Westminster City Council visit exemplary Southwark project

We are currently working on a decarbonisation project with Westminster City Council, and as part of their journey to net zero, they’re exploring a range of renewable technologies. We recently took consultants from the council on a tour of the completed Southwark water source heat pump project, so they could learn about the benefits of a project like this, along with any challenges.

Tom Vosper, Strategic Project Manager for Southwark City Council led the tour and was joined by Vital’s Operations Manager, Steve Parsons, Pre-Construction Director, James Davis, and Principal Engineer Paul Canning.

During the visit, consultants saw the 120m boreholes that were drilled within the Newington estate and learnt the challenges around completing these works within a densely populated residential area. They also gained a greater understanding of the processes, challenges and risks that were faced during the budgeting, procurement, design and build process.

They were very impressed about the amount of work which was carried out with no disruption or cost to the council and residents who lived on the estate. They also saw the energy centre that feeds the Newington estate.

“Thanks to Vital Energi for arranging a useful and informative site visit to Southwark. It was great to see a completed aquifer source heat pump project in central London and explore some of the challenges and benefits of integrating low carbon heat pumps into an existing communal heat network. It provided some food for thought for the Westminster team as they move forwards with their net zero programme,” said Chris Spicer, PSDS Programme Manager for City of London, who works closely with Westminster City Council.

Steve Parsons, Operations Manager at Vital Energi, said:

“It was a pleasure showing some of the consultants from Westminster Council and Chris Spicer from the City of London our Southwark heat pump project. Our work with Southwark Council on this project has been a big accomplishment for us at Vital because we were able to work through the challenges, take risks, during the pandemic and still be successful in decarbonising over 2,000 properties.”

Southwark Council is striving to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and as part of its plan it is decarbonising the existing gas-powered heat networks across three large council estates. The heat pump projects will see 2,175 residents at Consort, Newington, and Wyndham benefit from a resilient, reliable heat energy supply, along with improved local air quality and reduced carbon emissions. The project involves 5 water source heat pumps being retrofitted into the existing gas fuelled network, utilising water from the aquifers sat below the ground through constructed boreholes.

Find out more about our ongoing project with Westminster City Council here, which will cut carbon by 1,700 tonnes a year.