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Energy saving project nearing completion

13 October 2022

An innovative energy-saving scheme which will cut Cambridgeshire County Council’s gas use by a third and significantly reduce its carbon emissions is nearing completion.

For the last two years the council has been working to replace fossil fuel heating at 22 of its buildings and sites with low carbon Air Source Heat Pumps.

The project is part of the ongoing efforts to reduce carbon emissions and enhance the environment, with the authority working to ensure that all of its buildings have energy efficient heating systems installed. This will help the council achieve its aim of becoming a net zero carbon authority by 2030.

The programme of 22 sites cost around £5.3m, of which over £3m was funded by grants from the UK Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme delivered by Salix Finance. The scheme aims to put the public sector at the forefront of decarbonising buildings in the UK.

The work is expected to cut the council’s usage of gas by around one third, and save approximately 370 tonnes CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per year. Most of the 22 sites are now complete, including a number of libraries, the council’s new Register Office, a pre-school, halls and community buildings.

Councillor Lorna Dupré, Chair of the council’s Environment and Green Investment Committee, said: “We are fully committed to doing everything we can to help the council reduce its carbon footprint and this project will play a vital role in helping us achieve this aim.

“Everyone has a part to play in tackling climate change and we’re taking action now to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the natural environment, helping in turn to develop strong and sustainable communities for years to come.”

Salix Client Support Officer Fouad Amuni said: “We are delighted to see such incredible progress being made within Cambridgeshire and to see how the council is working to achieve its carbon net zero targets by 2030.

“It is part of the council’s ambitions to reduce its carbon footprint building a future for the community it serves.

“We are privileged to work with the council as it seeks to make popular community buildings such as libraries, a register office and a preschool more comfortable environments for people to enjoy and carry on using for many years to come.”

Air source heat pumps work by absorbing heat from the outside air to heat buildings and hot water. They can still extract heat even when air temperatures are as low as -15°C.

The pumps work by using outside air to heat a liquid refrigerant. The pump uses electricity to compress the refrigerant to increase its temperature then condenses it back to release stored heat – like a fridge in reverse. They are generally very reliable sources of heat and require very little maintenance.

Air source heat pumps need electricity to run, but because they are extracting renewable heat from the environment, the heat output is greater than the electricity input, making them a highly energy efficient method of heating a building.

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