Heat networks for homes and businesses
Many homes and businesses in South Gloucestershire have central heating systems that are powered by energy from fossil fuels.
We need to move away from using fossil fuels to meet our climate emergency commitments.
We know that homes in South Gloucestershire account for a third of our carbon emissions.
As an alternative to fossil fuel use we are developing heat networks to provide low cost, low carbon heat to our communities.
What heat networks are
Heat networks supply heat from a central source or sources to homes and businesses through a network of insulated pipes carrying hot water. This can also be called district heating.
The heat can come from a variety of sources including waste heat from industrial processes and renewable heat extracted using a heat pump from the air, ground or water.
Using waste and heat from renewable energy allows the carbon content of the heat to be reduced significantly.
This video on YouTube will show you how district heating works.
Homes and businesses could benefit from community heat networks in these ways:
- businesses that produce waste heat may be able to inject this into a heat network to reduce emissions and generate revenue
- other businesses that use a lot of gas for heat could reduce heating costs and carbon emissions by connecting to a heat network
- residents could receive cheaper and lower carbon heat by connecting to a heat network
Sources of heat
We are working on the potential use of former mine workings in the area as a source of renewable heating and cooling for new and existing buildings.
South Gloucestershire has a history of coal mining and there are former mine workings beneath Kingswood, Mangotsfield and Westerleigh.
These mine workings are a reservoir of flood water which is warmed by solar energy conducted through the ground. At even greater depths it is warmed by geological activity.
We are considering how heat from former mine workings could be used in heat networks in Bristol. For more information read our briefing note.
We are also looking at how mine heat could be used in the strategic heat network which is being considered for the transport of waste heat from Avonmouth and the energy from waste (EfW) plant at Severnside.
The strategic heat network is being developed by Vattenfall Heat UK which has experience in large scale, resilient heat networks across Europe. The contract was awarded by Bristol City Council in 2022 as part of their energy partnership Bristol City Leap.
To enquire about heat networks you can email us at EnvironmentalPolicy@southglos.gov.uk