London tube heats up almost 1400 Islington homes

green alternatives

An ambitious and pioneering project is underway in England’s capital. The London tube will provide heating to almost 1400 homes in the Borough of Islington. This is a world-first and will help cut emissions and energy costs for residents by reusing heat released by one of the world’s most famous public transportation systems.


Selectra reports on how this is being done and other exciting initiatives in the pipeline. We’ll also look at other green plans that London is set to deliver and how Manchester has been leading the way since 2009!

London tube project: part of 2030 zero carbon plan

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has set a target for the city to be carbon-neutral by 2030. This will be no easy task, given that we are just 10 years away from that deadline. The London tube project is a great start and hopefully can lead the way for similar projects.

There is no doubt that this is an ambitious target and it is going to be hard for our city to meet, but unless London is stretched we will never make the changes we need. - Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Bunhill Heat and Power Network: Borough of Islington

The Bunhill Heat and Power Network (BHPN) scheme is the first of its kind in the world. It uses waste heat from an underground train network and converts it into hot water and heating for local residents, schools and leisure centres. It is in London’s Borough of Islington.

By recycling the waste heat this means the energy is greener and it’s also cheaper for residents and reduces their bill by at least 10%. Win-win!

This phase of the scheme will deliver Bunhill 2 Energy Centre, bringing the total number of houses benefiting to just under 1,400. Not only is the council helping reduce emissions and energy costs but it’s also re-using land that was abandoned.

The site of the energy centre will be a disused underground station that hasn’t been used in 100 years. It really is history in the making. This isn’t just a one-off green ambition for the Borough of Islington either. It has led the way on a number of counts.

Islington Council: going green

green energy

In June 2019, the Islington Council declared a climate emergency and committed to making the borough a zero carbon area by 2030. The borough is already on target to reduce carbon emissions by 40% in 2020 (down from 2005 levels).

As part of this green revolution, the Islington Council has been trying to tackle fuel poverty in the borough for some time while looking at renewable energy. How have they done this? By setting up a not-for-profit gas and electricity company, called Angelic Energy. Furthermore, it provides 100% green electricity.

Angelic Energy was launched as an alternative to the bigger energy companies. Since it is not out to make a profit, it has simple pricing and tariff terms, as well as being a low-cost option for residents.

By providing this cheaper option, it reduces fuel poverty in the borough by saving people money on their energy bills. This means that in the dead of winter, those struggling to pay their bills won’t have to choose between heat and other essentials.

Between Islington’s new London tube heating scheme and its alternative energy company, it’s fair to say that this borough is truly on board with London’s zero-emission target. But what about other UK cities?

Manchester flying the flag for the North

Another shining example in the UK at the moment is Manchester. Manchester has also committed to becoming a zero carbon city by 2038 and is working closely with like-minded cities across Europe with the same aspiration. They are working together to formulate a concrete plan by 2022.

The 2038 date is a self-imposed deadline by Manchester and the UK as a whole is working towards 2050.

Based on their research so far, Manchester needs to achieve the following:

  • Cap total CO2 emissions at 15 million tonnes from 2018-2100.
  • Halve their emissions between 2018 and 2022 (13% reduction per year).

In conjunction with this, the council hopes to push forward a Zero-Carbon Action Plan, which is due to be approved any day (March 2020). This will focus on how the council will reduce its carbon footprint.

This hasn’t just come out of nowhere for Manchester though. In fact, it declared a climate emergency in 2019. However, this story starts even further back when we were just getting an inkling about climate change and before Greta Thunberg became a household name.

The humble beginnings

In 2009, the Manchester Climate Partnership was formed. This pioneering group brings together the council and over 60 organisations. This is coordinated by the Manchester Climate Change Agency.

The group says that it has exceeded the 2020 target it set for itself already. It is also working with and responding to the rise in voiced concerns it’s receiving from the younger generation.

We’d like to congratulate London and the Borough of Islington and Manchester on all the great work they are doing to alleviate climate change and help residents. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are many cities around the UK doing fantastic work in this space. We will continue to update you with success stories from across the nation.

by J Mccrossan

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