Glasgow could heat thousands of homes from heat pumps placed on vacant ‘brownfield’ sites


Glasgow has around 93 000 households living in fuel poverty. Researchers at Strathclyde University estimate that most of these could be heated with heat pumps built on 367 hectares of landfill sites.

Speaking to Energy Voice, Dr Richard Lord, senior lecturer in Civil and Environmental Engineering, said:

‘This study suggests there is potential to ease fuel poverty in Glasgow by making use of brownfield land to deploy renewable energy technologies such as ground source heat pumps. Brownfield land is a legacy of industrial retraction in many towns and cities worldwide, where land remains vacant long after it has gone into disuse, and is often a barrier to redevelopment. Using this land for renewable heating is one option that can support development of a low carbon economy and also stimulate regeneration.’

Here’s a brief explanation of how a heat pump on a landfill site would work:

‘The heat pump systems are considered today an environmentally friendly technology and, together with other energy production systems from renewable sources, are fundamental for reducing energy consumption and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions due to air conditioning of buildings. The ground source heat pumps use the ground as a heat source able to provide the better energy performance if compared with more common systems which using air as source. The increase of the temperatures inside the controlled landfills of municipal solid waste (MSW), due to the decomposition of waste materials can make the volume of waste a viable alternative in this context, to be used as a heat source for the production of heat.’

I’m not aware of contradictions to this idea. Maybe some readers are.

6 thoughts on “Glasgow could heat thousands of homes from heat pumps placed on vacant ‘brownfield’ sites

  1. macgilleleabhar October 6, 2017 / 10:10 am

    Very interesting article and something that could be done in a low tech labour intensive manner.
    I have also read somewhere that most of the East End could be heated from extracting heat from water contained in the old coal mines.
    Renewable energy schemes for district heating could be formed as low overhead not for profit cooperative organizations.
    The possibilities for a group of like minded people to get this together are there I believe.

    Ps. What’s the protocol for addressing a Dude?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. johnrobertson834 October 6, 2017 / 12:17 pm

    Thanks for this additional info.

    Protocol? Dude with an extended and friendly ‘ooo’ in the middle

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ludo Thierry October 6, 2017 / 1:09 pm

    Hi John and the co-stars – coffee time so having a quick scan.

    This idea (proposal?) sounds good. If I’m understanding correctly it is looking at harnessing the old Municipal rubbish (groundfill) sites together with traditional groundsource heating from other brownfield vacant land?

    I’m not clear if the suggestion is for vertical or horizontal piping (or combination of each depending on the site). Presumably the Municipal groundfill scheme operates with horizontal piping.

    If horizontal piping is used does this impact on future development potential of large-ish areas of land? (I simply don’t have the knowledge – is some type of building use possible if the pipes sharing the site can be ‘missed’ in the construction work?)

    Presumably on some of the sites there might be issues of ‘contamination’ which can be disturbed in the construction (but, ultimately, the contamination has to be dealt with anyway – and if this scheme can contribute some income to defray the contamination clearance costs that is a ++)

    Would land (currently vacant/undeveloped/brownfield) which is harnessed for this type of project ‘escape ‘the Vacant Land Duty that Andy Wightman was talking about recently?

    From the source article I gather that some development can ‘share’ the area as Dr. Lord says:“It is clear that using brownfield land to provide ground source heating for social housing has the potential to contribute to alleviating fuel poverty as well as bringing significant opportunities for the restoration and reuse of vacant and derelict land.”

    Hopefully some co-stars might have answers.

    Cheers, ludo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alasdair Macdonald. October 6, 2017 / 10:08 pm

    Interestingly, this matter was drawn to my attention by a recently elected Labour councillor, who showed quite a bit of interest in the scheme and had visited the test area at Strathclyde University.

    This is another example of Scottish innovation, which I am pleased to see you promoting.

    It was also interesting to have a hat with a Labourite who was well informed and had a refreshing attitude towards Cross party working in the way assemblies elected by proportional representation are supposed to do. I hope the days of the tribalist troglodytes who have dominated Labour in Scotland are beginning to expire once sunlight shines on them.

    Hope is a desirable trait, even for someone brought up as a Calvinist!

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnrobertson834 October 7, 2017 / 8:52 am

      Yes, I agree. I used to be a Calvinist too but I’m a bit better now. Occasional flashbacks.

      Liked by 1 person

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