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Heat from the Northern line will be piped into London homes

An innovative network in Islington will push heat from the tube into houses and council buildings

Good news, London Underground commuters: the suffocating heat of the Northern line could soon be extracted and put to use elsewhere.

In fact, engineers are preparing infrastructure that will allow the ‘waste’ heat to keep houses in Islington warm this winter – and help hundreds reduce their carbon footprint without having to sacrifice their central heating.

The groundbreaking project is part of an already-existing scheme that uses heat from the nearby Bunhill Energy Centre to keep around 700 homes and council buildings cosy.

The scheme currently reduces the area’s carbon CO2 output by around 1,800 tonnes a year – a cut of about 60 per cent.

And experts estimate that expanding the alternative energy scheme to channel heat from the Northern line will mean another 450 households can keep warm and reduce their impact on the environment at the same time.

The Northern line project is expected to be up and running by the end of the year, seven years after the Bunhill Energy Scheme was launched.

The initiative means both the power plant and residents can cut back on their carbon emissions. The centre on Central Street uses the heat created from producing electricity to create hot water which is piped into people’s homes.

In his Spring Statement earlier this year, former Chancellor Philip Hammond said there would be no gas boilers in new houses built after 2025 – replaced instead by alternative low-carbon systems which would help the UK in the fight to stop climate change.

Officials in City Hall estimate that there is enough ‘waste’ heat in London to heat 38 per cent of the city.


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Tim Rotheray, director of the Association for Decentralised Energy, told The Guardian that a third of UK emissions are from heating alone.

He added: “With the government declaring that we must be carbon-neutral within 30 years we need to find a way to take the carbon out of our heating system.

“The opportunity that has become clear to the decentralised energy community is the idea of capturing waste heat and putting it to use locally.”

The Bunhill scheme claims to provide heating that is cheaper as well as greener, promising reduced energy bills for people whose areas are retrofitted for the initiative.

It means that Islington council has greater control over the cost of energy, protecting locals from rising fuel prices.

And the income generated by selling electricity can be invested right back into council schemes to benefit more people.

Finsbury Leisure Centre and Ironmonger Row Baths already benefit from the alternative heating project.

Image: Diliff/Wikimedia Commons