Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative (BHESCo) announced today that they will be continuing work with Firle Estate to create an affordable, low-carbon heat network for this village outside of Lewes in East Sussex, thanks to a recent Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) grant administered by the Greater South East Energy Hub.
At present, most properties in the village rely on fossil fuels as a source of heat, usually heating oil or liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Burning these fuels releases carbon-dioxide, a key contributor to the climate change crisis, as well as other toxic air pollutants, like particulates and oxides of nitrogen.
For the last two years, BHESCo have been exploring the possibilities for powering the village with locally sourced, community owned clean energy, encouraging village residents and the Estate to play their part in achieving the nation’s Net Zero goals.
Following funding approval to complete these riskier development-stage tasks which include quantifying the total project costs, BHESCo will now be able to finalise its economic offer to residents for the clean heat to be generated by this innovative delivery system. BHESCo will be moving ahead to raise the funding to develop the first phase of the programme by installing 4 micro heat-networks to be shared by 22 properties in the village.
First, to comply with upcoming regulatory requirements, in partnership with RetrofitWorks, the energy efficiency of each home will be improved, ideally to an EPC of C. A sealed pipe network, called a ‘shared ground loop’ will be dug to transport heat from the ground in a liquid (a mixture of water and glycol often referred to as brine) from boreholes dug to around 120m deep. The brine flows in a cycle around the shared network to each property where heat is extracted by a heat pump to provide hot water and space heating.