Plans to power the Goods Yard neighbourhood in Stoke-on-Trent with renewable energy are taking a major leap forward.
Capital&Centric’s neighbourhood, currently under construction at the site next to Stoke-on-Trent’s main line train station and the Trent and Mersey Canal, will be connected to the District Heat Network (DHN) over the coming weeks. The network is being installed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to provide a super low-carbon heat and hot water supply across the city.
The DHN will, over time, draw its energy from natural geothermal reservoirs deep underground, accessing the earth’s natural heat to provide a highly sustainable, renewable energy resource for residents and businesses.
Much of the DHN infrastructure has already been laid in the area stretching from Leek Road, near to Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College, to Shelton. The new works will see connections made to this existing infrastructure for Goods Yard as part of the development of the site. It is expected that the network will be in operation at the end of 2024 ahead of welcoming the first occupants. The network will use boilers initially but is set up for geothermal use.
The DHN will provide a closed-loop supply of heated water that can be used to power central heating, eventually reducing the need for gas and electricity powered boilers. It is estimated that, over time, the DHN will offset up to 75% of carbon for buildings connected to it, compared to current systems.
Work to connect Goods Yard to the network is due to start on 26 July 2023 and continue until September. In order for the works to be carried out safely, temporary traffic management and road closures will need to be put in place. Road users and pedestrians are being advised to plan their journeys as the measures will cause some disruption to Glebe Street in Stoke, with associated works at Ashford Street in Shelton (details below). Carrying out the work now, with associated closures, will be much quicker and less disruptive than connecting to the network once the neighbourhood is completed.
Social impact developer Capital&Centric is working with the council and builder Bowmer and Kirkland to optimise environmental performance throughout the development. Carbon emission savings are being made by retaining and repurposing existing buildings, such as the vaulted warehouse, as carbon is retained in the fabric of buildings – so called ‘embodied carbon’. The heat network is set to be connected to the Goods Yard buildings including the apartments, workspaces and the Signal Box on Glebe Street. In addition, green spaces and lush planting will help absorb carbon as well as provide attractive outdoor spaces where people can spend time.
The environmentally considerate contractor is also using new technologies to cut emissions, including a low carbon generator to power the two tower cranes on site – in turn saving over 7000kg in carbon per week.
Councillor Duncan Walker, Cabinet Member for Planning, Climate Change and Regeneration at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said:
“Environmental impact and carbon reduction are top priorities for Stoke-on-Trent City Council. We’re investing in renewable energy systems that will provide benefits for local people and businesses into the future.
“It’s a great opportunity to link the DHN to new developments such as Goods Yard whilst in construction. Although this will cause some disruption to the road network, it is considerably less than when the build is complete.
“Environmental performance is a key consideration in the selection of delivery partners and contractors. It’s fantastic that Capital&Centric is championing so many methods to achieve our joint goals.
“This work will cause some disruption to the road network, and we apologise to road users for that. We ask for patience in the short-term with the understanding that this will lead to long-term environmental benefits.”
Tom Wilmot, Joint Managing Director of Capital&Centric, said:
“This is a really exciting milestone for us. Delivery of Goods Yard is progressing at a rapid pace and linking-in up to the District Heat Network will ensure that the neighbourhood has a reliable, low-carbon source of energy when it opens.
“As well as having a positive social impact on the city – transforming what was once a fairly unloved corner – we’re going about it in a way that reduces impact on the planet. We’re keeping what buildings we can to cut embodied carbon emissions and using low-carbon methods of construction on site where we can.
“We appreciate the temporary road closures may cause people to change the routes they take, but we really appreciate people bearing with us while we deliver something really special for Stoke-on-Trent.”