Bristol Turns On Ground-breaking Heating System

21st June 2016

An innovative renewable heating system, the first of its kind in the UK, was celebrated this weekend at its launch event in Bristol.

The pioneering technology installed in Easton Community Centre captures air-sourced heat from the summer sun, stores it underground beneath a local park, and releases it as heat in colder months to the centre.

The project includes plans to extend the heat supply to neighbouring homes.

Environmental consultancy Eunomia carried out the feasibility study for the project and CEPRO, ICAX, the University of Bath and the Easton Energy Group developed the system which uses air-sourced heat pumps installed by ICAX. The pumps charge an inter-seasonal thermal energy store borehole which supplies heat in winter via a heat network.

Eunomia conducted techno-economic and carbon modelling for the project, drawing from previous Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) experience and using the consultancy’s expertise in heat technology and financial modelling.

The CHOICES project was funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as part of the ‘Heat Networks Demonstrator’ programme.

Eunomia Consultant Mark Corbin who led Eunomia’s work on the project said:

“The energy system is changing – fast. At Eunomia we believe it’s important to help support and develop innovative and viable business models in energy storage and local energy supply, and have been pleased to support this project as a great example of Bristol’s green innovative spirit. It’s using the ground under people’s picnic rugs and the sun above their heads to provide them with heat in winter, helping to decarbonise the heat supply.”

The project opened its doors to the public as part of Bristol’s Big Green Week and the official launch picnic included tasty food, music, stalls, and an energy trail with prizes.

Damon Rand, Director of Bristol-based energy innovation company Clean Energy Prospector, who instigated and led the project said:

“In the UK we are increasingly depending on imported energy from unstable parts of the world to warm our homes and offices. The CHOICES project is important because it’s about warming our buildings with local heat and reducing our carbon footprint at the same time.”