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Decarbonising our buildings

Turning down the heat on climate change

While the climate is getting hotter, we're doing our bit to turn down the heat by moving away from gas for heating. We are utilising funding from the Salix administered Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund and our own funds to cover the £5.3m project.

Why are we doing this?

A third of the UK emissions come from heating buildings so we're moving away from gas or oil for heating and heat pumps are a key part of the solution.

Estimated UK emissions attributable to heating, 2016 (Energy Saving Trust)

Estimated UK emissions attributable to heating (2016)

Currently >90% of heat generated and used in the UK uses gas as the fuel.

Heat generated and used in the UK

Most likely options for replacement:

  • Individual heat pumps
  • Heat networks (served by low carbon heat sources)
  • Hydrogen

What are we doing?

We are working with Vital Energi to build a new heat pump energy centre at the Guildhall to supply low carbon heating to our heat network, as well as installing heat pumps at some of our other buildings, including Crownhill Court, Ballard House, 3 Elliot Terrace, Pounds House, Poole Farm, Prince Rock and Frederick Street.

What is a heat pump?

A heat pump works like a fridge or freezer but in reverse, taking heat from the outside air (or from water or the ground) to warm the inside of a building. They use electricity but generates several times the amount of heat for every unit of electricity. Heat pumps not only massively reduce carbon emissions, but also improve air quality, compared to burning gas. To reduce the electricity consumption of the heat pumps we have also contracted Sungift Solar to install solar PV and batteries. Watch the Vital Energi Plymouth animation for more information.

What are the carbon savings?

The following measures are being installed on our buildings from 2021 to 2022:

  • Heat pumps: 402t CO2/year
  • Insulation works: 11t CO2/year
  • Secondary glazing: 4t CO2/ year
  • Solar photovoltaic: 188t CO2/year
  • Lighting (LEDs): 160t CO2/year

Further funding will be sought to continue to reduce the carbon emissions on our buildings.

For more information please email