New Street station keeps Birmingham on track with CO2 reduction targets

Network Rail is embarking upon a joint project to install 1.5km district heating pipe-work to supply excess heat from Birmingham New Street station to offices and other buildings in the city.

The new initiative will see Network Rail join forces with Birmingham City Council (BCC), energy service provider Cofely and sustainability consultants Anthesis-SecondNature to reduce the station’s energy bills and cut carbon emissions by up to 3,000 tonnes per year.

A combined heat and power (CHP) plant has been installed as part of Cofely and BCC’s Birmingham District Energy Scheme (BDES), to help reduce CO2 emissions by 60% by 2025.

Network Rail’s programme sponsor Patrick Cawley said: “Innovation and sustainability is at the core of this project and reducing the station’s carbon footprint by building our own combined heating and power plant is a great example. The excess heat created by the station’s plant can now be used by the city’s shared district heating network to supply surrounding offices and businesses.”

Sustainable behaviour

The plant will capture heat produced in the process of electricity generation and use it to warm city centre buildings such as Aston University, the National Indoor Arena and the John Lewis store.

Cofely’s technical development director Ben Watts said: “This latest development of the Birmingham District Energy scheme creates one of the most extensive low carbon heat networks in the UK, which now supplies buildings across all sectors including healthcare, education, local authority, commercial, residential and retail as well as New Street itself – saving over 15,600 tonnes of CO2 per annum.”

Anthesis-SecondNature director Charles Perry added: “This project is an example of what can be achieved when organisations put sustainability at the heart of their operations. Sustainable behaviour is not about green-washing, it is about changing the way we do business to make it more profitable, more socially acceptable and more environmentally friendly – the three are interrelated as this project clearly demonstrates.”

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Lois Vallely

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