Camden Council have a target of reducing CO2 emissions across the borough by 40% by 2020, set against a baseline year of 2005. Part of this plan to reduce emissions in the local authority area is to encourage the uptake of Decentralised Energy Networks (DEN) to improve the efficiency of heating in the borough. Camden has led by example for adopting this approach through construction of the Somers Town DEN.
The Somers Town Heat Network provides heat and hot water to five housing estates and the redesigned Edith Neville School. A Combined Heat and Power (CHP) has been installed which, alongside heating and hot water, will produce low carbon electricity with a view to supplying the Francis Crick Institute via a private wire
The scheme was implemented in two phases. Phase 1 saw the installation of the district heating network connecting four estates (350 homes) and a retrofit energy centre being built into the basement of a 1960’s council estate in an under-used car park. Phase 2, which Camden received Heat Network Investment Project (HNIP) funding to deliver, saw the installation of the CHP engine and thermal stores, and connecting one further housing block (200 homes) and a school to the network.
Phase 1 of Somers Town Energy was the winner of the 2016 H&V District Heating Project of the Year and has received widespread praise for the demonstration of how council housing assets can be used to drive decarbonisation. We believe this is the first stage of what will grow to become one of the UK’s major community heat networks enabling a widespread increase in efficiency of heating in the Somers Town area.
The completion of the first two phases of the Somers Town DEN has led to the connection of 550 council homes and a school to a low-carbon heating system, replacing dilapidated and inefficient heating sources, and delivering a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. The increased efficiency of the heating system will also facilitate a reduction in energy costs for residents living in the social housing connected to the network, contributing to the alleviation of fuel poverty among council tenants.