District Heat Network to provide low-carbon heat and hot water in Stoke

This week, Stoke-on-Trent City Council begins work connecting the Goods Yard neighbourhood to a renewable energy network. 

The neighbourhood is currently under construction by Capital&Centric, on a site next to the city’s  mainline train station and the Trent and Mersey Canal. The District Heat Network (DHN) will draw energy from natural geothermal reservoirs deep underground, accessing our planet’s natural heat to provide a highly sustainable, renewable energy resource for residents and businesses. 

Design for the Goods Yard in Stoke-on-Trent being developed by Capital&Centric

Image courtesy of Capital&Centric

The DHN will provide a closed-loop supply of heated water that can be used to power central heating. The aim is to reduce the need for boilers powered by gas and electricity. This will save on energy bills but it’s also though that, over time, the DHN will offset up to 75% of carbon from the buildings connected to it as compared to current systems. 

Much of the DHN infrastructure has already been laid in the area, with the new work connecting the network to existing infrastructure at Goods Yard running from now until September. The network is expected to begin operation at the end of 2024, ahead of the first residents and businesses moving in. It will initially use boilers but has been set up for geothermal use. 

The heat network is set to be connected to Goods Yard buildings including apartments, workspaces and the Signal Box on Glebe Street. Social impact developer Capital&Centric is working with the city council and builder Bowmer and Kirkland to optimise environmental performance during development. For example, since ‘embodied carbon’ is retained in the fabric of existing buildings, savings in carbon emissions can be made by retaining and repurposing existing buildings, such as the vaulted warehouse on the site.  

The contractor will also use new technologies to cut emissions, including a low-carbon generator to power the two tower cranes on site. This will save more than 7,000kg in carbon per week. Green spaces and lush planting will also help to absorb carbon as well as providing attractive outdoor spaces. 

Cllr Duncan Walker, Cabinet Member for Planning, Climate Change and Regeneration at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, says: ‘Environmental impact and carbon reduction are top priorities for Stoke-on-Trent City Council. We’re investing in renewable energy systems that will provide benefits for local people and businesses into the future. 

‘It’s a great opportunity to link the DHN to new developments such as Goods Yard whilst in construction. Although this will cause some disruption to the road network, it is considerably less than when the build is complete. 

‘Environmental performance is a key consideration in the selection of delivery partners and contractors. It’s fantastic that Capital&Centric is championing so many methods to achieve our joint goals. 

‘This work will cause some disruption to the road network, and we apologise to road users for that. We ask for patience in the short-term with the understanding that this will lead to long-term environmental benefits.’ 

Tom Wilmot, Joint Managing Director of Capital&Centric, adds: ‘This is a really exciting milestone for us. Delivery of Goods Yard is progressing at a rapid pace and linking-in up to the District Heat Network will ensure that the neighbourhood has a reliable, low-carbon source of energy when it opens.  

‘As well as having a positive social impact on the city – transforming what was once a fairly unloved corner – we’re going about it in a way that reduces impact on the planet. We’re keeping what buildings we can to cut embodied carbon emissions and using low-carbon methods of construction on site where we can.  

‘We appreciate the temporary road closures may cause people to change the routes they take, but we really appreciate people bearing with us while we deliver something really special for Stoke-on-Trent.’


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