£1.5 million energy scheme boost

By on 17/07/2009 in News

Two landmark tower blocks near Broad Street- Cambridge and Crescent Towers- are to be the first of Birmingham City Council's housing stock to benefit from the award winning Combined Heat and Power (CHP) led district energy scheme.

The pioneering work in the domestic arena has been made possible by successful funds received from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) with regard to Low Carbon Infrastructure.  These exemplar blocks were selected because of their proximity to the existing commercial combined heat and power infrastructure beneath Broad Street.

The work championed by the Birmingham District Energy Company (BDEC), a partnership between the Council's Urban Design team and leading energy partner Utilicom who own BDEC, is set to commence during 2010, and will involve the extension of district energy mains from BDEC's Broad Street energy centre to the Cambridge & Crescent Tower Blocks.

The project also includes the individual retrofitting and conversion of the electric heating systems in 124 residential dwellings to a wet system. This will enable the towers to be served with low carbon and cost effective heat from the district energy scheme, annually saving an estimated 482 tonnes of CO2 a year. This is equivalent to filling 482,000 party balloons or spending 9,640,443 hours on a PC.

Councillor John Lines, Cabinet Member for Housing at Birmingham City Council said, “I'm delighted that residents and tenants who choose this option will benefit from reduced energy bills if they connect to the scheme. With their support, I believe we can contribute to the Council's ambitious targets to reduce Birmingham's carbon footprint by 60 per cent by 2026.

“I'm confident that this may be the first of a number of schemes for which the city bids, which will mark Birmingham as one of the most proactive cities in creating a residential district energy system. This will contribute to tackling fuel poverty in Ladywood Constituency, one of our most deprived areas.”

The funding made available will allow the housing block at Cambridge and Crescent Towers to join the established Broad Street network. This network built in 2007, operates from the ICC's Energy Centre, saving a combined 3,800 tonnes of carbon a year across public and private organizations such as the Hyatt, the REP, the ICC and the Council House.  

Simon Woodward, Chief Executive of Utilicom commented, “We are delighted to receive this funding. The towers project is a truly remarkable example of an exemplar use of HCA funding allocation. This grant will enable both a fantastic new connection opportunity for BDEC, whilst extending the Broad Street scheme further northwards allowing a greater number of Birmingham's community the potential to connect and experience the environmental and cost benefits, which the Birmingham District Energy Scheme delivers.”

CHP, unlike conventional forms of power generation, uses the by-product heat normally wasted into the environment.  Traditional forms of energy production are generally 30% efficient, meaning they actually release more energy into the environment than they produce. In contrast the CHP is 80% efficient, dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of all the buildings involved in the schemes. CHP projects are an internationally recognised way of vastly cutting CO2 emissions.


Further information from Belinder Kaur Lidher on 0121 303 6969


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