Could Hackney’s parks be used to generate green energy?

Hackney Town Hall

Hackney’s parks could help to produce green energy to heat nearby buildings, thanks to a groundbreaking new project.

Hackney Council is joining forces with 10:10 Climate Action and energy consultants Scene to explore whether underground and water heat pumps could be used to generate sustainable energy, which could be used to power nearby buildings.

Heat pumps use electricity to concentrate low temperature heat stored in the ground, or bodies of water, and pump it through pipes into buildings for heating. While 43% of residential buildings in Germany have heat pumps installed, the technology is rarely used in the UK.

The project is funded by Nesta’s Rethinking Parks programme. The first phase, which will consider whether the scheme is feasible, is set to get under way later this year. If successful, the project will share learning with other parks authorities to allow them to roll out similar programmes.

Deputy Mayor of Hackney, Cllr Feryal Demirci, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to look at ways of making our parks and buildings more sustainable and for us to continue to invest in our beautiful parks and green spaces for our residents to enjoy.”

Cllr Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Sustainability and Community Services, said: “As a Council, it’s important we take the lead in proactively reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, so I’m proud to be joining forces with experts in the field to investigate such an exciting initiative. The Powering Parks project has the potential to help us unlock sustainable energy and save – or even generate – money for important council services.”

Max Wakefield, Lead Campaigner at 10:10 Climate Action, said: “While this scorching summer has seen the public flood into the UK’s parks, it’s one of the clearest signs yet that our climate is changing fast. To avoid catastrophic climate change we need to rapidly cut carbon - and that means stopping burning gas and oil to heat our buildings.

“Heat pumps are one way to do that - and what’s so exciting about this project is the possibility of tackling climate change and helping protect the green spaces all of us value so much at the same time.”