Temple Newsam, Tropical World and other buildings in Leeds to be given eco-friendly upgrades as part of £25million scheme

Buildings across Leeds are being given a “greener” makeover costing more than £25million as the city moves towards becoming carbon neutral.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 6:00 am

The ambitious move is part of plans to reduce the city’s direct emissions to net-zero by 2030 and halve the authority’s own carbon footprint by the middle of the decade.

It is hoped that the £25.3 million scheme will help reduce carbon emissions from the 38 publicly owned buildings by slashing the city’s carbon emissions by nearly 4,000 tonnes.

Prominent civic buildings, leisure centres, and offices across the city will benefit from upgrades such as solar panels and heat pumps.

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Leeds Civic Hall will benefit from upgrades to help halve the authority’s own carbon footprint by the middle of the decade.

Primary schools, children’s centres and homes for older people will also see energy-saving improvements to their properties.

Leeds City Council said it aims to install air source heat pumps, new connections to the district heating network, solar photovoltaic panels, LED lighting, and double glazing, to these buildings by the end of the year.

Councillor Helen Hayden, Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development said:

“This announcement is great news for the environment and good news for Leeds.

“We’re on track to halve our own emissions by 2025 and by the end of the year, some of our most historic buildings will soon become our greenest.

“More than a dozen primary schools will also benefit from this funding—paying less for energy so that they can spend more instead on educating the next generation.”

Leeds Town Hall, Civic Hall, City Museum, and Central Library will be among six properties equipped to use affordable heat and hot water from the household waste-powered district heating network.

Approximately 3560 kWp of solar photovoltaic panels will also be installed across thirty five leisure centres, primary schools, and other council-owned buildings.

The panels mean that popular destinations including John Charles Leisure Centre, Tropical World and Temple Newsam will be part powered by renewable energy generated on site.

The funding will also mean that innovative heating technologies such as heat pumps—which extract low carbon warmth from the air or ground—will be installed at thirty two primary schools and council buildings.

The pumps will minimise the use of gas boilers which, in addition to saving energy and carbon emissions, will also help to improve local air quality.

Additionally, thousands of LED light bulbs will be installed across fifteen buildings. Switching to low energy lighting is one of the easiest and cheapest upgrades to save money and energy.

Funding for the £25.3 million scheme was secured from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Councillor James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council said: “We’re delighted to have been allocated more than £25 million from the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

“Upgrading dozens of schools and council buildings to be fit for the future means that we’ll be able to spend less on fossil fuel energy, and more on protecting vital frontline services.

“This investment will also protect and create hundreds of skilled green jobs in local businesses, jobs that will be increasingly important as we work to build a sustainable economic recovery.”

Steve Wilkinson, Head of Commercial Projects for Cenergist, who is working with the council on the work, said: “Cenergist are delighted to partner with Leeds City Council to deliver this ambitious programme of decarbonisation projects.

“Decarbonisation of heat represents one of the biggest challenges for local authorities to overcome to achieve net zero targets, and through our extensive experience we are able to support Leeds City Council delivering a range of heat decarbonisation measures including Air Source Heat Pumps and water efficiency improvements”.

A full, confirmed list of buildings that will benefit from these eco-friendly upgrades is yet to be announced, as the work is subject to planning consent.

Planning proposals for each site will be put forward to the council over the next six weeks, with a full list of buildings due to be published once planning permission has been confirmed.

The £1 billion Government funding was announced last year.

Some £171 million was being allocated to nine green tech projects in Scotland, Wales and northern England to study the rollout of infrastructure such as carbon capture and storage.

Local authorities across England were allocated £932 million to fund green upgrades to public buildings including schools, hospitals and council buildings.