Greenspace Scotland research project to heat homes with transformed urban landscapes
Perth & Kinross Council is joining a number of Scotland’s local authorities in taking part in a pioneering new project exploring how urban landscapes can be transformed to heat homes and other buildings while cutting carbon emissions.
The local authorities, alongside a wide range of public sector bodies and technical partners, are taking part in the Greenspace Scotland research project, Green Heat in Greenspaces (GHiGs).
GHiGs will explore how greenspace across Scotland can help deliver low carbon heat. The project is led by Greenspace Scotland as part of its ongoing ParkPower programme and will be supported by low carbon energy specialists Ramboll.
For decades, Scotland has relied on centralised mains gas to heat around 80% of its households, making heat one of the main causes of carbon emissions.
One way to cut this is to use heat pumps to take heat from the ground. However, for these to be viable the heat needs to be generated close to where it is needed. In urban areas, where demand for energy is greatest, space for these types of scheme is at a premium.
The new research project aims to tackle this head-on, supporting local authorities to leverage greenspace assets and transition to a low carbon future.
Julie Procter, chief executive of Greenspace Scotland, said: “This exciting project will allow us to evaluate the scale of contribution that Scotland’s greenspaces can make towards our low carbon heat transition.
“The number and range of partners involved in GHiGs demonstrates the widespread interest across the public sector in optimising use of their land assets to address decarbonisation objectives. It is imperative we find a way to balance the potential value of these sites as community-scale boilers with their equally vital roles in supporting our health, amenity and education.”
The outputs from the project, due in early 2021, will allow the project team to assess the scale of opportunity across Scotland and provide greenspace owners with data to identify the most promising sites to progress.
With the Scottish Government expecting the public sector to lead the way in terms of decarbonising its building assets, most organisations are looking at ways to make significant cuts to the carbon emissions of their buildings.
The project will also feed into strategic work, supported by the Scottish Government, to aid local authorities in the production of a consistent set of nationwide plans to guide investment into low carbon heat and energy efficiency.
Keith McNamara, depute director (housing & environment) with Perth & Kinross Council, said: “This project is an exciting opportunity for us to consider the potential of our much-valued greenspaces to deliver renewable-based energy projects to support and benefit our communities in our journey towards a net zero future.
“The council has recently accelerated its efforts towards achieving a climate resilient Perth & Kinross through the publication of its Interim Climate Emergency Report and Action Plan and this project has the potential to contribute to this work, alongside other key projects such as our Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy project work.
“There are already examples of this type of innovative project being delivered in Scotland including a zero-carbon emissions development at the Guildtown Community Sports Hub and Community Centre, which was delivered by Guildtown Community Association.
“We hope that this initial study can potentially provide the platform to enable many more projects to come to the fore in Perth & Kinross, and help us to deliver multiple benefits for communities in and around our greenspaces.”