£2.8m boost to give 21 county council sites a greener future

New heat pumps will be put in at Burwell House

New heat pumps will be put in at Burwell House as part of a multi-million-pound decarbonisation programme - Credit: CCC

Historic Burwell House, a, 18th century county council owned country house used as a learning centre, is to benefit from a ‘green’ makeover. 

New heat pumps will be put in as part of a multi-million-pound decarbonisation programme helping to deliver cleaner energy across council sites.  

A £2.8m grant from the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) will remove 357 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and deliver savings by replacing inefficient heating systems. 

In total, 21 council sites, including libraries, community centres and offices, will be enhanced by replacing fossil fuel heating with low carbon air source heat pumps. 

The projects will help the council reach its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.  

The first site to benefit from the retrofit was Cottenham Library, where two pumps have been installed. 

Several more premises are due for completion later this year. 

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At Burwell House, the PSDS grant funding covers more than half of the costs for the project (approximately £280,000). 

The remaining £231,410 will be paid for through part of a £15 million environment fund the council approved in the 2020/21 budget to decarbonise its buildings. 

Burwell House, a large property set on three acres of land on the Cambridgeshire/Suffolk border, is currently heated by a gas boiler which needs replacing in the next five years.  

It is expected the project will have paid for itself within 15 years compared to replacing the boiler with new gas heating, while it would reduce the levels of CO2 emissions by 24 tonnes a year. 

The retrofit is expected to be approved by the council’s Environment and Green Investment Committee on September 16; works are due to begin in mid-November and be finished by May 2022. 

Committee chair Cllr Lorna Dupre said: “This innovative scheme proves that it is possible to reduce CO2 emissions while saving money in the long-term.” 

Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air (even in temperatures as low as -15°C).  

That heat is then absorbed into a fluid which then gets passed through a compressor (a bit like a fridge in reverse) which increases the temperature and is then used to heat the building and water circuits.