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South Bank focus of energy project

London’s South Bank is to be the focus of a major research project looking at whether district heating, combined heat and power (CHP) and biomass could be used to reduce the area’s carbon footprint.

The project could see landmark buildings such as St Thomas Hospital, Royal Festival Hall, Hayward Gallery and Shell linked with new residential developments in district wide energy schemes.

The initiative funded by the London Development Agency (LDA) s the first of its kind in central London and will see the South Bank Employers’ Group (SBEG) working alongside London South Bank University (LSBU).

LDA chief executive Manny Lewis said: “The South Bank is an area that is undergoing extensive regeneration with new residential commercial, high density and mixed use developments planned in the next few years so there is a real potential to make a difference to the area’s carbon emissions.

“This is an exciting opportunity to develop an integrated area wide approach to energy efficiency.”

The project will include:
Estimating peak demand of energy consumption within existing buildings and future developments.
Identifying options for creating low carbon energy supply and distribution
Estimating the capital, operating and maintenance costs of low carbon options
Establish a business case for potential options.
Providing SBEG with the information to take the findings forward with stakeholders within the private sector.

Phil Jones, CIBSE CHP group chairman and visiting fellow at LSBU, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to study the possible energy supply options for the South Bank area and hopefully take this forward to implementing a network of heating, cooling and electricity supplied by CHP.

“This should save in running costs for South Bank buildings whilst reducing carbon dioxide emissions at the same time.

“There is a significant number of new, high density, mixed use developments, planned in the South Bank area over the next 5 years. 

“Such growth in building and energy density presents a rare opportunity to develop an integrated and area wide approach to energy supply and distribution, incorporating low carbon dioxide energy generation technologies with district heating and cooling networks. 

“These networks could link together existing buildings on the South Bank, such as St Thomas’ Hospital, Shell, the South Bank Arts Complex etc, with new developments as these arise. 

“The inclusion of existing buildings will help to catalyse the scheme initially, providing known and stable demand in the short term. The LSBU’s own buildings are part of the study and it is hoped that a CHP installation may be viable on the site for connection into the networks.

“The LSBU study will assess whether Combined Heat and Power (CHP) could be the most economic and low carbon energy supply option for existing and future demands of heating, cooling and electricity.

“Building energy demands will be analysed across the South Bank area and various energy supply options will be assessed in order to estimate the likely costs, practicality, carbon dioxide savings and benefits that could come from these.

“The study will also review the timing of future developments and energy demands as new buildings come on stream.  The aim is to come up with a scheme that will be taken up by the private sector as a long term commercial venture. “