Bunhill Heat and Power Energy Centre
Tim Ronalds Architects
- Original design
- Tim Ronalds Architects, 2012
Bunhill Heat and Power is Islington Council’s ground-breaking, innovative scheme retrofitting district heating in an inner-city environment. Our first district-scale heat network, it serves over 850 homes and two leisure centres. The heat network and energy centre were completed in winter 2012 and provide cheaper, greener heat to residents.
The energy centre houses a 1.9MWe gas CHP engine and 115m3 thermal store. The network comprises of 1km of trenching with 2km of insulated pipework. The £3.8M energy centre and heat network were funded by grants secured from the GLA and the Homes and Community Agency.
An inner-city environment posed many challenges, including tight infrastructure, a lack of space, parking, noise and air quality issues. The council undertook upfront work where possible to reduce the project risks and minimise uncertainties during the construction phase, including the design and application for planning and underground surveys. A Design & Build contract was commissioned alongside a 10-year maintenance contract to provide assurance to the contracts. Vital Energi built the energy centre and heat network in 2012.
The council manages Bunhill, gaining revenue from electricity and heat sales, which enables the council to pass savings on to residents via reduced energy bills. This approach also creates opportunities for Islington to further expand the heat network and develop further heat network opportunities across the Borough and potentially across borough boundaries.
The current network will grow both organically and strategically, and has been ‘future-proofed’ with a flexible design to enable its expansion. The factory-fabricated containerised equipment was delivered and installed in one day, reducing on-site construction work and local disruption. It provides flexibility, as all the equipment can be lifted out of the site and relocated elsewhere.
The network has been installed with pipes sized to be larger than current needs so that they have additional capacity and can carry more heat as the network expands.
Bunhill Heat and Power will help new developments meet their planning energy targets, and the Council are currently working to extend the network to connect new build developments to supply them low.
A film was specially created with the local community including a local school, Moreland Primary, to introduce Bunhill Heat and Power and its role producing energy locally providing more efficient heat to the local community. To view the film, visit www.islington.gov.uk/heatnetwork
Work has started to extend the Bunhill Heat and Power network as part of the European Union-funded Celsius Project, which aims to help cities develop replicable projects to evolve into a truly energy smart city. The project is led by Gothenburg and includes Rotterdam, Cologne and Genoa as well as Islington. The Celsius project started in the spring of 2013 and will run until 2017.
Working with the GLA, London Underground and UK Power Networks, the project will help develop an in-depth understanding of how heat networks can be integrated into the urban infrastructure and so form an integral part of the wider energy network at the district and city scale.
The proposed project extension will look to capture waste heat produced from an electrical substation and London Underground ventilation shaft on City Road and will look at the integration of heat networks with the management of the existing electricity network.
The project will expand on the Council’s work to tackle fuel poverty and affordable warmth issues, and to investigate how heat networks can help support the move to low carbon heat supply, greater energy security, resilience and efficiency.