River to heat historic York building

A river water source heat pump will help York Guildhall to save around 40 tonnes of carbon a year

Big Zero Report 2022

Could rivers provide a sustainable way to heat buildings and reduce energy bills?

The City of York has confirmed a river water source heat pump will be installed to provide low carbon heating to the 15th century-built Guildhall.

The installation is predicted to help the historic building make carbon savings of around 40 tonnes a year compared to the gas boiler solution.

How it works is by taking water from the River Ouse into the heat pump.

The water is run through a heat exchanger, where heat is abstracted from the river water before being returned to the river.

The system then converts this heat from around 5°C up to 45°C to warm large parts of the building.

These spaces will be heated using underfloor heating technology.

Image: City of York Council

Councillor Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change at City of York Council, said: “The carbon output of this heating method is much lower than using a traditional gas boiler.

“As a council, we are determined to play our part in helping to achieve our ambition of becoming a carbon net zero city.”

A few months ago, the government confirmed that all new gas boiler installations will be banned across the UK by 2035.

However, last week the BEIS committee urged Ministers to set a more detailed ban on gas boilers.

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