Powering parks

Putting ground source heat pumps beneath the UK’s parks and playing fields could create enough clean energy to heat the equivalent of five million homes.

That’s according to a new report from the 10:10 Foundation, that predicts this could save eight million tonnes of carbon emissions each year while also improving air quality and generating income for councils and park authorities to re-invest locally.

The conclusions are based on a study completed for Hackney Council that investigated the potential for installing GSHPs beneath parks in the area to supply heat to nearby buildings.

Data was then brought together from Ordnance Survey, the British Geological Society, the European Environment Agency, industry standards and academic papers to estimate the total GSHP potential in all of the parks in England, Scotland and Wales.

These estimates were then broken down to identify which cities, districts and boroughs have the greatest potential, with the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (which contains Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Kew Gardens) coming top.

Birmingham City Council was ranked first when other publicly accessible green spaces were included, while Glasgow and Cardiff were found to have the most potential outside of England.

Neil Jones said: “Parks are the perfect place to take kids to play, enjoy a quiet stroll or have a kick about. But they cost money to maintain – something councils have less and less of.

“Parks are also home to a large amount of ambient heat, stored in the ground below the lawns and playing fields. We can harvest this low carbon thermal energy for our buildings with the help of heat pumps.”