Decarbonising Heat in Buildings
The use of gas - mainly for heating homes and other buildings - is one of the biggest contributors to the borough’s emissions, accounting for 79% of the council’s direct emissions and around 32% of wider borough emissions. Reducing its use is therefore a major priority under the borough’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.
One of the ways in which we can do this is through the creation of a district heating network to supply low carbon heat to buildings. This can replace gas boilers, reducing both carbon emissions and the impact of higher energy prices on residents. Hounslow Council are currently investigating the feasibility of installing a District Heating Network within the borough.
What is a District Heating Network?
District Heating Networks (DHN) are a low-carbon method of supplying heat to homes and businesses throughout the borough. Excess heat energy that is extracted from renewable sources such as the ground or a water body, or from industrial processes such as manufacturing, is supplied to residential homes and businesses through a network of pipes. This results in lower carbon emissions, while also reducing the impact of higher energy prices on residents. The construction and operation of such networks can also provide local economic benefits, contributing to the transition to a low carbon economy.
Hounslow’s Plan for a District Heating Network
In 2022, the council commissioned AECOM to prepare the Hounslow Heat Map and Energy Masterplan (HMMP) Study. This assessed six possible heat demand clusters, which had been identified through previous heat mapping studies carried out by Arup in 2012, and by Ramboll in 2020, and from development opportunities proposed in our Local Plan reviews for the West of Borough and Great West Corridor.
From this analysis, the HMMP has identified three heat network options which are considered to be worthy of further investigation:
- East of the Borough – comprising the Brentford, Isleworth and Hounslow Town Centre clusters
- Wider Borough – linking five of the identified clusters (excluding Cranford); and with potential to extend west to Heathrow
The council has commissioned a feasibility study in 2023 to assess these options in more detail. This will help us to understand which, if any, of these options could be viable and whether a heat network would be the best option for borough residents and businesses. This will inform any future decision by the council on whether to proceed with a heat network.
The HMMP Study final report prepared by AECOM in 2022 can be found here. Some commercially sensitive information has been redacted. The Feasibility Study will also be published here, following its completion at the end of November 2023.