Rise Homes is among developers planning to use the waste-to-energy network. Credit: Leeds City Council

Property companies join Leeds’ low carbon heating network

Private developers are preparing to connect to the publicly subsidised low carbon heat network known as PIPES in Leeds.

The private sector’s interest comes as two major extensions are planned for the network, which would enable dozens more buildings to connect.

The four latest buildings, including the first private-sector residential developers, which have confirmed their intention to connect to the network within the next 12 months are:

  • Spinner’s Yard around Mabgate, developed by Rise Homes
  • Leonardo and Thoresby buildings on Gt George Street, developed by McLaren on behalf of Arrow Leonardo
  • The redevelopment of Leeds Technology Campus on Cookridge Street, developed by Metropolitan & District Securities
  • Leeds Conservatoire on Quarry Hill

Senior councillors have approved an application for up to £20m of grant funding that, if successful, would enable two major new extensions to the existing network.

The first new extension would see another 600m (0.4 miles) of pipes laid from Little Queen Street to Wellington Street. A second extension, in the South Bank of the city centre, would see approximately 7km of low carbon heat network installed from Clarence Road to Sweet Street and eventually connecting to the existing Leeds PIPES infrastructure. Subject to funding and final approval, construction of the extensions could begin as soon as 2024 with works completing in 2026.

Buildings and developments located near the underground pipes can choose to connect at any time and the council is currently in discussions with around 40 potential customers.

The energy project has received £5.4m of government funding to date, and the council and its principal contractor Vital Energi hosted energy minster Lord Callanan last week to share information about the initiative.

By using heat and energy recovered from non-recyclable waste at the Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility to provide warmth and hot water to buildings in the city, the Leeds PIPES district heating project is helping businesses and residents to move away from fossil-fuel powered heating systems.

The council estimates that the network is helping existing customers to collectively save around £500,000 in reduced energy costs this year alone.

The £62m network continues to expand and is regularly connecting to new buildings. Leeds Combined Court Centre and Leeds Magistrates’ Court were the latest buildings to take heat from the scheme earlier this year.

Last year, the network of insulated underground pipes supplied 22,029 megawatt-hours of heating in total and helped reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 3,975 tonnes.

Cllr Mohammed Rafique, executive member for climate, said: “Year after year, the Leeds PIPES district heating network continues to gain momentum. I am delighted that four more buildings—including the first private residential developers—have now signed up for the benefits of affordable, reliable, and low carbon heating.

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