Newcastle City Council has been granted £27.5m in government funding to decarbonise public buildings in the city after bidding for it as part of the £1bn Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) to install low carbon heating and other energy efficiency measures across 32 major sites in the city.
The council is to receive all of the money it asked for, with improvement work, which could support hundreds of jobs, save hundreds of thousands of pounds in running costs and be the equivalent of taking thousands of cars off the roads, set to progress quickly.
Launched in October 2020, the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme offered local authorities up to up to 100% of costs of upgrading public buildings, with the aim that measures be installed and up and running by the end of September 2021.
Newcastle City Council, with the help of £105,955 in funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Low Carbon Skills Fund, prepared six bids, totalling £27.25 million.
This includes work to connect The Core at Helix and Blandford House, which is home to the Discovery Museum, to the District Energy Centre network, while the city’s Theatre Royal will benefit from ‘smart’ heating, solar panels, a heat pump, new windows and new wall insulation.
A wide range of energy efficiency measures are planned for some of the city’s libraries, swimming pools and industrial estates, while an activity dome, leisure centre and trampoline park will also benefit.
Elsewhere, 16 primary schools across Newcastle upon Tyne are set for upgrades.
Commenting, Leader of Newcastle City Council, Councillor Nick Forbes said: “This is a huge boost to help support our work towards achieving a net zero city.
“The upgrades this £27.25m will allow us to make will be a significant step to ensuring some of our schools, leisure centres, cultural venues, depots, offices and industrial premises have a more sustainable future.
“From solar panels to ‘smart’ building management systems, heat pumps, new LED lights, energy storage, electrical upgrades and low carbon heating systems, more efficient windows, better wall, roof and pipework insulation and connecting the buildings to the heating network powered by the District Energy Centre at Helix, this is a really exciting opportunity to improve major public buildings.
“Removing up to 4,050 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, equivalent to taking 2,828 cars off the road, will really help towards our ongoing target of being net zero by 2030.
“It could help support and safeguard more than 800 jobs, potentially saving £386k a year on running costs, which would obviously be welcome at a time when our budget faces continued challenges.
“I look forward to hopefully having these improvements in place very quickly as a big step forward in our climate ambitions.”