Businesses and homes connect to £36m heating network

Almost 800 homes in Leeds are 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 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.

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.

“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.”

Cllr 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.”

Rob Falcon, project director for Vital Energi, explained: “Citywide 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 Heat Networks Investment Project (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.”

Businesses including the Leeds Playhouse have also connected to the network.

Work on the network’s second phase is now progressing after the council 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.