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Powering Parks: An introduction to the project

In 2018 we announced the latest group of projects to be awarded grants from the Rethinking Parks fund. In this round, we were looking for organisations and partnerships who were well placed to replicate and adapt the most promising approaches to help run parks more sustainably, drawing from what they had seen others implement or test elsewhere.

Five months on, Max Wakefield from the charity 10:10 is introducing us to Powering Parks, the model that inspired them, their partnerships and their objective.

Below is Max's introduction to the project:

Powering Parks will tap into the heat beneath your feet in Hackney parks to generate low-carbon heating and long term revenue for parks using the magic of heat pumps.

Powering Parks is based on a simple idea. By tapping into the hidden low-carbon heat resource in greenspaces we can address two problems at once: cutting carbon emissions, and supplementing park revenues. Heat pumps, an under-used technology in the UK, collect ambient heat stored in the ground, bodies of water, or the air and concentrate it so it can then be pumped into buildings. This project, led by 10:10 Climate Action in partnership with Hackney Council and Scene Consulting, aims to create a successful project that demonstrates the feasibility of the use of heat pumps in a Hackney park by supplying nearby buildings with this energy. Further to this the project aims to produce resources for other parks managers to replicate the model.

Who is working on the project?

At 10:10 Climate Action we focus on creating public engagement and participation in creating solutions to climate change. We are excited to be leading this project and by the possibility of combining carbon cutting with strengthening local amenities. Hackney Council manages all of the greenspaces we are exploring, and will play a key role in delivering our model demonstrator. Scene are experienced energy consultants focusing on community scale solutions - they will be doing all the clever numbers bits and system design.

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Background of the project

We took inspiration from the Park Power project in Edinburgh, which is in the process of installing a heat pump in Saughton Park as part of refurbishment work that includes building a new cafe space. The National Trust has also developed many heat pump projects across its estate in order to move its historic buildings off fossil fuels. As the project progressed we became aware of other projects taking similar approaches, including the Owen Square Co-op project in Bristol, and a tower block project in Enfield. Each of these projects has identified a resource most of us wouldn’t even think was there: heat beneath our feet. By developing a replicable model for tapping into heat stored in the ground - or water bodies - within parks to supply onsite or nearby buildings we can increase revenues for parks, while making an important contribution to reducing carbon. Around a third of the UK’s emissions come from heating spaces, and we only have a few decades (starting right now) to get this down to zero. Parks can be part of the solution.

What will the project achieve and how will other parks learn from your work?

During the first phase of the project we will assess the opportunity to use ground source heat pumps across the whole of Hackney’s parks and greenspaces. By matching those spaces to nearby council or third party buildings we will narrow down our search, enabling more detailed work on our emerging shortlist. By March 2019 we should have a business case ready to be considered by the council with a view to moving into phase 2: building our pilot project! We will spend the next year bringing our demonstrator to life - engaging local people from the start to make sure they are onboard. Alongside getting support for the project we want to use community outreach as an opportunity to increase awareness of the need to cut gas use for heating, and how heat pumps in parks can be part of the solution, while bringing local benefits. We will finish up by creating a replication package for other parks managers - including an online early-stage feasibility tool - and will run dissemination events for local authorities and others to attend to find out more.

Get in touch

Max Wakefield - [email protected]

Author

Chris Norris

Chris Norris

Chris Norris

Senior Programme Manager

Chris Norris is a Senior Programme Manager in our Innovation Programmes team, working on Rethinking Parks and Government Innovation.

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Amy Solder

Amy Solder

Amy Solder

Interim Head of New Operating Models

Amy works in the Education team.

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Tiffany Gregor

Tiffany Gregor

Tiffany Gregor

Assistant Programme Manager, Government Innovation

Tiffany works in the Government Innovation Team focusing on the Social Action and Rethinking Parks programmes.

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Alicia Alli

Alicia Alli

Alicia Alli

Intern, Government Innovation

Alicia is the intern in the Government Innovation team.

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