Glasgow: The last best hope to fight climate change – BBC News

Two huge heat pumps are extracting enough residual heat from the Clyde to supply water at 75C through insulated underground pipes to nearby buildings. 

A care home and buildings owned by West Dunbartonshire Council are already heated in this way, while in future 1,000 homes will be added to the network.

Instead of their own boiler each property has an “interface unit”, similar in size, which controls heat and measures how much is used.

“It’s going to be cheaper in the long run,” says John Anderson, who runs the council’s leisure services.

“We’re shielded from increases in gas prices, we don’t have the maintenance costs of boilers – and of course, it’s better for the environment.”

District heating schemes are not a new concept. Copenhagen started building its network in the 1980s, and it now serves 97% of the city, mainly using waste heat from electricity production.

It’s one reason the Danish capital is on track to become the world’s first carbon neutral city, perhaps as early as 2025.

Glasgow hopes to create similar networks. Plans are being made to use heat from the city’s recycling centre in Polmadie. A study has considered a site in the Gorbals for extracting heat from the river.

But these projects are still at an early stage and would require massive investment – both public and private. The potential is huge but so too are the obstacles.

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