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Gloucestershire Business News

Council to cut carbon emissions with new technology

Stroud District Council is set to slash the carbon emissions from two of its biggest buildings, by investing in a greener way of heating them.

Gas boilers will be replaced by water source heat pumps at the council's Ebley Mill headquarters and Brimscombe Port Mill.

The new technology should save carbon dioxide emissions of up to 156 tonnes every year across the two sites. And, thanks to an annual payment from Ofgem's Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), most of the initial set-up costs will be recouped over the course of 20 years.

Doina Cornell, council leader, said: "As a council, we have declared a climate emergency and though we are carbon neutral, we have committed to the whole district being carbon neutral by 2030. This is just one of the many measures we are taking to lead by example, make our carbon footprint even lower, and recommit to one of our key Corporate Delivery Plan visions to help the community minimise its carbon footprint, adapt to climate change and recycle more."

Heat naturally flows from hot to cold, and a heat pump moves heat in the opposite direction - it pumps heat from a cooler 'source' to a warmer 'sink', as a domestic fridge does. In a similar way, it is possible to transfer heat from the external environment into a building's heating system. Both buildings are next to the River Frome, which makes this possible.

Ebley Mill's scheme will cost approximately £1.05million and provide a CO2 saving of 70-110 tonnes per year. Approximately 80 per cent of the initial capital costs will be recovered through RHI payments over a period of 20 years. The Brimscombe Port Mill scheme will cost around £380,000 and save 27-46 tonnes of CO2 per year. All of the initial capital costs will be recovered through RHI payments over 20 years. Both heat pump systems are expected to last for 25 years.

At a full council meeting earlier this month, it was agreed to allocate capital funding in 2020/2021 to invest in water source heat pumps. In consultation with the leader, the head of property services will go ahead with the procurement and installation of the heat pumps, subject to necessary consents from the Environment Agency and a successful application to the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme.

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