The heat is on for county's buildings

New renewable energy systems are being installed in more of the county’s fire stations - using natural warmth from under the earth’s surface.

Approval has been given by Northumberland County Council’s Cabinet to invest in three more Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHPs) at Bellingham, Allendale and Rothbury retained fire stations.

Work has already been completed at stations in Seahouses, Amble and Prudhoe and is already well underway at other key council assets, the Riverside Day Care Centre in Ashington and Stakeford Depot.

GSHP is a technology that works by using the ground’s natural heat to warm water which can then be used to heat a building. This renewable energy technology will replace the current heating systems, increase the general temperature level to comfortable conditions and improve the energy efficiency of the building.

The scheme also supports the council’s strategy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

While Cabinet approved funding of around £400,000 in capital costs for the three new schemes, forecasts predict the project would ultimately recoup its original investment plus generate a further £130,000 profit over the next 20 years.

The three completed fire stations and the two other buildings where work is underway have seen a total investment of just over £1m with an anticipated profit return of over £400,000 over the next 20 years.

Councillor Nick Oliver, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “As a council we are determined to do all we can to reduce our carbon footprint while looking at new ways of generating income.

“By using this innovative technology we can tap into the earth’s natural resources to heat some of our buildings and it’s a system we are looking to expand in the future.”

These initiatives will reduce running and maintenance costs while simultaneously lowering the carbon footprint of buildings with this technology installed.

They are financially viable as they are supported by the Central Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.
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