Islington Council’s Bunhill Heat and Power Network (BHPN) is the first scheme in the world to take waste heat from an underground train network and use it to provide lower cost, greener heat to local homes, schools and leisure centres.
This ground-breaking scheme has the potential to be replicated not only across Islington and London but in any major city with an underground network. That’s because heat networks, such as BHPN, are able to harness a wide range of renewable and waste heat sources that are already available within a city.
This is part of Islington Council's efforts to tackle fuel poverty in the borough by providing cheaper and greener energy for local residents, as well as contributing to our commitments to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and make the borough more self-sufficient in energy.
How it works
The network began operating in 2012 using the original energy centre on Central Street. This has a combined heat and power plant (CHP) that generates both heat and electricity; the heat is put into the network and electricity sold into the national grid. It also has a large thermal store – a 115m³ hot water tank – that is used to store hot water. The network was originally connected to 600 homes on three estates, as well as two nearby leisure centres – Finsbury Leisure Centre and Ironmonger Row Baths. Over the next four years, two new residential buildings were connected, adding over 200 more homes.
A major expansion, started in 2016, saw the network extended to a new energy centre on City Road. The new energy centre was built around a London Underground ventilation shaft that is used to extract hot air from the Northern Line tunnels. A large heat pump uses the hot air to heat up water that is then circulated in the heat network. As part of the expansion, a further 550 homes on the King’s Square Estate and Moreland Primary School were added as connections.
More details on the network are available in this brochure, and the videos below give some information on how it works.
Connecting to the network
The network now has the capacity to add new connections and guidance on connecting to the network can be found on our decentralised energy page. For any queries about the network, contact BunhillHeatAndPower@islington.gov.uk.
Find out more about the project:
Bunhill Heat and Power Network video
Bunhill Heat and Power Network video - How it works