Exploring the initial concept
During 2015, greenspace scotland began work with the City of Edinburgh Council to explore the potential for ground source heat pumps (GSHP) to be installed in parks and greenspaces to provide renewable heat for community buildings . We were asked to investigate two parks: Inverleith Park and Saughton Park to see if this approach would be practical. We were also asked to consider whether the income/savings from using GSHP could be used to support priority actions and activities in the parks (identified by community members).
GSHP systems use pipes which are buried below ground to extract heat from the ground. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water in buildings or to generate heat to contribute to wider district heating systems. GSHP systems can save money by reducing reliance on non-renewable heat sources and receive Renewable Heat Incentive payments from government.
Our investigations at Inverleith, unfortunately, indicated that the approach would not be suitable in the short to medium term – simply because there had already been a significant investment in new drainage for the pitches which would have been the obvious location for a GSHP system. We, therefore, focused our attention on Saughton Park while looking for an additional site elsewhere in the city.
Our ‘practicality’ study showed that there was a clear opportunity to use GSHP at Saughton. Plans for the park already include levelling and drainage of pitches and relaying of paths (thus reducing the need for new excavations for GSHP) and the proposed regeneration of park buildings includes the use of underfloor heating which is particularly suitable for GSHP.
Next steps by City of Edinburgh Council
Following the work carried out by greenspace scotland, the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) has now included further work on ground source heat pumps in Saughton Park, as part of the overall Saughton Park redevelopment project. As a precursor to this, CEC asked Ramboll UK Ltd to give them more detail on the potential scale of renewable heat generationt that could be achieved at Saughton. Ramboll identified that the installation of GSHP within Saughton Park could supply heat and hot water to 6 separate Council buildings both within and adjacent to the park. This would be achieved through the installation of two separate small district heating networks supplied by GSHP. The first network would provide heat and hot water to Balgreen Nursery, Primary and Library, the second network would provide heat and hot water to Fords Road Care Home and the new developments within the park (Cafe, Glass House and offices/community spaces within the old stables). A micro-hydro system on the Water of Leith has also been included as part of the overall Saughton Park redevelopment, the Ramboll study has shown this could provide the electricity needed to operate the heat pumps.
The Ramboll study looks at a number of different scenarios, including different combinations of community buildings, and predicts revenue from the GSHP system to be between £29K and £69K – this does not include the savings from reducing other forms of heating. In principle, the predicted revenue levels could be used to cover the costs of a range of priority actions and activities identified by local people or to provide staffing in the park to promote and support community use. The next step at Saughton is to develop a more robust business case for the proposals.
CEC have (with Scottish Government Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme support) developed ambitious plans to reduce the carbon footprint of their park improvements by incorporating Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) systems to provide heating for the Winter Garden, restored Stables Building and the new build Cafe. They also plan to build a Micro-hydro Scheme on the Saughton Weir to harness energy generated by the flow of the Water of Leith which will be used to run the heat pumps and provide electricity for the park. Some capital funding is in place and a decision on further LCITP funding support is expected in June.
Increasing in scale
While working on the Saughton Park ideas, CEC and greenspace scotland identified an opportunity to incorporate GSHP into the proposed Little France park located between the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Craigmillar. This would be a much larger project with the possibility of providing heat to a larger district heat system for residential and community buildings.
A report on the initial greenspace scotland project is available here
For more information on the Park Power project contact Deryck Irving email
The initial project was funded by Big Lottery Scotland the Investing in Ideas programme