On Tuesday 21 November 2023 we held an online session to give an introduction to the new Community Heat Development Programme (CHDP). In this blog, Iona Hodge, our Local Heat Development Specialist, tells us more about the CHDP and how the online event went.

Glasgow tenements

We were delighted that people from so many back grounds were able to join us. For example, we had people from community groups, organisations that work with community energy projects, climate hubs, interested householders and people that work on council’s Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies (LHEES) in the session.

I gave people an overview of what the Community Heat Development Programme is about and what it aims to deliver, and this was followed by an interesting discussion.

I talked through some findings from projects being worked on at the moment. For example, twelve flats in a block with aging gas distribution are interested in a communal solution and are looking at air source heat pumps. There are also some tenements flats with shared ground and with an existing district heat network nearby that are looking at installing ground source heat pumps. We very much welcome more enquiries and ideas.

I also explained that we think collective purchase of air source heat pumps is a particularly promising way forward for heat decarbonisation. We are currently working with a village group on this potential idea. It’s still early days, but the idea is to find an installer and coordinate with them and the different householders so that each household has a separate contract with the installer, but that this happens in a supportive coordinated approach that can help with tendering, installation checks and so on.

Questions and answers that came up at the event

Q – Can a single community building apply to the CHDP?

A – The Let’s Do Net Zero Community Buildings Fund is the best port of call for funding for single community building, and our local development officers can help here. The CHDP is aimed at identifying what collective action can be taken to decarbonise heat for a group of buildings and/or dwellings. For example, a group could include blocks of flats, a community hall, a swimming pool or a business unit.

Q – Can tenants apply, or does it have to be the owner who has buy-in?

A -Yes, tenants can apply for the initial review to be done. We know that sometimes landlords only feel able to contribute their views when they’ve seen the findings from the initial review. We welcome projects that include housing association properties, and we see opportunities here – for example, where there are mixed tenure properties that include social housing, private lets, and owner occupied properties.

Applications need to be made by a community organisation or group of householders, but we very much welcome projects that partner with others such as Housing Associations, local authorities, or businesses.

Q – Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies (LHEES) will have spatial information done to see what systems make most sense for specific areas. Is there an opportunity here for partnership with the CHDP?

A – Absolutely, yes. CHDP projects will include looking at LHEES data and plans to see how best the local project ideas and LHEES can complement each other.

– Iona Hodge, Local Heat Development Specialist

There will be another Introduction to the Community Heat Development Programme online event on Thursday 29 February 2024 from 12pm to 1pm.

If you have an idea for a community heat project, you can make an enquiry through our Community Heat Development Programme webpage.