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Green improvements cut Council’s gas reliance by more than one-fifth

24 March 2022

Southwark Council has successfully delivered the first phase of its green improvements to libraries and community centres, after installing air source heat pumps, solar panels and improving insulation at 14 key buildings. The changes will cut down gas consumption, reduce carbon emissions and save the council money on energy costs.

Carbon emissions from buildings accounted for 79 per cent of the borough’s total emissions, and the new carbon-saving technologies will tackle these emissions by reducing the council’s consumption of carbon-intensive gas by 22 per cent, whilst also saving £31,150 per year. In total, the suite of improvements will save the same amount of carbon as taking 87 petrol cars off the road each year.

This first phase of works were funded by money secured from central government as part of its Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and will be completed by the end of March. Building on this success, the council has recently announced that it will be investing over £5 million in rolling out similar improvements to other libraries and community centres.

Air source heat pumps save carbon emissions by providing an alternative to conventional gas-powered heating and have been installed alongside LED lighting replacements at Nunhead Library [image enclosed]. At some buildings such as 47B East Dulwich Road [image enclosed], the heat pumps will work with newly installed solar panels, which will provide low-cost, low-carbon electricity to power the pumps, meaning the two carbon-saving projects will complement each other and remove their reliance on gas completely.

As well as the installation of solar panels and air source heat pumps, energy standards have been improved thorough the installation of double-glazing and insulation.

Councillor Helen Dennis, Cabinet Member for the Climate Emergency & Sustainable Development, said: “I’m delighted by the successful delivery of this first wave of projects to green our community buildings and libraries. At a time when the cost of gas is higher and more volatile than ever, taking action to improve our buildings through the installation of air-source heat pumps, solar panels, and improved insulation, will cut heating bills and cut carbon.

“The council has recently announced its intention to build on these projects, investing £5.42m to further decarbonise our community assets. This investment demonstrates our commitment to addressing the Climate Emergency and doing all we can to achieve our ambition of being a carbon neutral borough by 2030.”


Page last updated: 24 March 2022

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