Crispin Matson, Planning & Building Control Today
Over the last 10 years, district heating networks have become an ever more popular means of heating new homes and buildings in the UK. The use of district heating in cities is not new; in Copenhagen, 95% of dwellings are connected to such systems. District Heating enables housing units to provide heating to a number of homes from one source, ensuring that the provision of heat is more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. The need for individual gas boilers is removed and homes are instead connected to a centralised heat source. Heat is delivered more efficiently in comparison to gas boilers, is cheaper and has lower carbon emissions.
The Wembley Park regeneration project is the UK’s largest build-to-rent development to date, providing over 5,500 new homes along with commercial spaces in an 85-acre complex around Wembley Stadium. In May 2016, we were approached by Quintain to help with the design and delivery of a district heating network to serve the new development – the largest district heating network in London. The initial concept of the project was to offer accommodation for rent by paying an all-inclusive charge, including all utility bills, within a single monthly payment.
The outline planning permission for the development was for two separate and independent district heating networks connected to approximately 20 separate buildings. One of the first tasks undertaken by the team was a design review, which led to the merger of the two separate networks into one network served by a single energy centre. This energy centre is located underneath the residential tower of the largest development and contains the main heat generating equipment: gas-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant and gas-fired boilers, and the primary distribution pumps.