The UK's first low carbon energy facility opens to the public

Over 1,000 visitors lined up to discover the secrets of the Pimlico District Heating Undertaking (PDHU) during this year’s annual Open House London event. On 21 – 22 September, crowds flooded the UK’s first combined heat and power network, which is managed by CityWest Homes, an award winning property services provider based in London.

Through Open House London, PDHU opens to the public for two days, allowing visitors to find out first hand how the network has supplied clean, affordable energy to Londoners for over 60 years.

The PDHU, which has featured in the media including BBC London weather and ITV London weather, is located in Pimlico. If you missed the report, you can view it here.
Built in the 1950s, the network was the first major initiative to combat London’s air pollution, ahead of the Clean Air Act of 1956. It originally used waste heat from Battersea Power Station to supply homes with heating without the use of coal fires, which was contributing to the London smog.

Visitors were able to view the impressive Caterpillar engines which power PDHU. Those feeling brave were also able to climb the 41 metre thermal store (a tower which stores 2,500,000 litres of water) to enjoy incredible views of Westminster.

There were visitors from a variety of backgrounds, including local residents, architecture and engineering professionals and curious passer-by’s. One resident, Mrs Cecilia Sargeant, aged 90, has been a Churchill Gardens resident for 40 years. On her first visit to the PDHU, she said: “I was absolutely thrilled to be able to visit this year and I’ve really enjoyed it. I benefit directly from the heating system PDHU provides and it means a great deal to be able to see how it all works.”

Today, the CityWest Homes facility provides heating and hot water services to over 3,250 homes, schools and businesses in the area. The network releases significantly less carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere than a conventional power station by generating electricity close to the users. This cuts transmission losses and can save up to 11,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year by displacing the coal fired electricity generation.

Working with Westminster City Council, CityWest Homes has plans to expand the network. This will provide more residents with the best possible value for money while helping to make Westminster an environmentally friendly zone.

Nick Barton, chief executive, CityWest Homes, said: “The PDHU is an historic gem in the capital and it was fantastic to see so many visitors join us on the weekend. PDHU continues to be a valuable source of energy during a time when issues such as fuel poverty, sustainability and pollution are high on the global agenda.

“The network has a valuable place in the history of both London and sustainability. Following the fantastic feedback we have received from our guests, we are already looking ahead to 2014’s Open House London event.”

Photograph captions:
Main: Visitors line up to view the tower
Top left: Fergus Feilden and Felix Feilden (aged 3) take in the views from the top of the tower
Bottom right: Forty-one metre thermal store at PDHU.

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