There are few who deny that we need to change the way our homes are powered and heated to do our bit to avert the global climate crisis. But in a society that’s so dependent on fossil fuels, and particularly gas when it comes to heating our homes, it can be hard to see how this can change quickly.
Possible recently published a report which suggests that some of the answers could come from the country’s parks and green spaces.
In its Powering Parks report, the organisation explored how ground source heat potential in our parks and green spaces could be part of the solution and help us decarbonise our heating supply.
According to their findings, the parks and playing fields across the UK could generate 30 GW of heat that could be used to heat our homes. This equates to around ten per cent of the country’s peak heating demand. That might not sound like a lot, but if that was all generated with heat pumps, it would save eight million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
Possible has collaborated with Hackney Council and Scene to write the report. But they’ve also been investigating installing ground source heat pumps in some of Hackney’s parks to prove that the technology works and could therefore be used to warm nearby buildings.
In Scotland, Possible set up its ParkPower scheme, which has seen the creation of the first low-carbon park in the country. At Saughton Park in Edinburgh the buildings and greenhouses are heated using ground source heat pumps and power is generated using a micro-hydro scheme.
Within England, the organisation identified the areas with the greatest ground-source heat potential from public parks. Richmond, Windsor, Maidenhead and Redbridge, all of which are on the outskirts of London, were among the regions in the top ten.
Large regional cities, including Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool were also included in the list with high potential for this technology. Milton Keynes and Stoke on Trent also featured in the top ten.
In Wales, Cardiff, Caerphilly and the Vale of Glamorgan were named as the top areas to explore, while in Scotland it was Glasgow, the Central Belt district of North Lanarkshire, and Edinburgh.
Of course, there are challenges to introducing this kind of energy generation to the green spaces across the UK. According to the report, one of the main stumbling blocks is finding suitable locations through the analysis that is currently available.
But given that a recent report from PwC pointed out that heating and transportation are two of the main areas the UK needs to focus on decarbonising if it is to hit its goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050, this research is certainly worth exploring.
If you’re a business that has a premises with areas of open space, installing ground-source heat pumps may be something you want to explore.
Get in touch with us today to find out more about commercial heat pumps, how they work and are installed, and how they could fit into your business.