Pimlico District Heating Undertaking (PDHU)

The PDHU is owned by Westminster City Council and managed by CityWest Homes. Built over 50 years ago to help combat London’s air pollution, the PDHU continues to be a crucial source of clean, affordable energy in the city.

Did you know…?

• PDHU is located on our very own Churchill Gardens estate

• The PDHU is the UK’s first combined heat and power network and provides heating and hot water services to 3,256 homes, 50 commercial premises and three schools in the area

• The network was the first major initiative to combat London’s air pollution, ahead of the Clean Air Act of 1956

• PDHU has been around since the 1950s and is 65 years old in 2015

• PDHU will open its doors to the public once again during the 2015 Open House London event on 19 and 20 September.

It is an invaluable source of energy at a time when cutting the carbon footprint is high on the agenda. Built in the 1950s, the PDHU originally used waste heat from Battersea Power Station to supply housing that, needing no coal fires, could be built without adding to London’s smog. This was a landmark initiative following the Great Smog of 1952, which caused the death of an estimated 4,000 people. You can find out more about PDHU in their factsheet.

PDHU started life in a pump house, using waste heat from Battersea Power Station to provide heating and hot water to one local housing estate. The system was upgraded in 2006 with a £6.9million boiler plant being added to the system, able to heat an additional 1,400 homes. This will lead to further savings on nearly 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – the equivalent of taking 1,000 cars a year off the roads of London. The upgrade was paid for by the Community Energy Programme. It includes two combined heat and power engines and has been built on the site of the original pump house.

As well as being kinder to the environment, it will lead to lower heating and hot water charges to residents. Any excess electricity produced will be sold to businesses and the money used to re-invest into Westminster housing.

PDHU has since featured in a range of press outlets, including Inside Housing magazine, BBC London and the Cogeneration Channel. It was also chosen to feature in the London Festival of Architecture in 2008 and opened its doors to the public during Open House London weekend. Many of our visitors during Open House take the challenge to 'Scale the Tower', a 41 metre thermal store (a tower which stores 2,500 tonnes of water) to witness the breathtaking views of Westminster.

While the PDHU is not open to the public the rest of the year, CityWest Homes can arrange a visit if you are a specialist group such as a school, university or interest group. Please contact CityWest Homes at info@cwh.org.uk for further information.

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