GreenSCIES (Green Smart Community Integrated Energy Systems) has designed a smart energy system based around a fifth generation heat network, capable of decarbonising heat, power and mobility across the London Borough of Islington.

Lead Organisation

London South Bank University



Islington, London

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About the project

The design draws low-grade heat from local data centres and from the London Underground, which is distributed between buildings through ambient temperature pipelines. Heat pumps are used to adjust the temperature – heating buildings in winter and cooling them in the summer.

There is also a link to the London aquifer which can store heat between summer and winter.

Distributed energy centres connect solar photovoltaic, electric vehicle chargers, and energy storage which can supply the electricity needed by the heat pumps, act as hubs to support low-carbon transport, and deliver demand-side response to the electricity system.

What did the project achieve?

  • Detailed design of GreenSCIES for a third of the London Borough of Islington.
  • Investment and site secured to deliver the New River scheme in Islington.
  • Seven investable case studies completed for sites across the country with a variety of sources of heat, power and mobility solutions.
  • Successful development of GreenSCIES business.
  • Set up of a centre of excellence to develop the skills, expertise and capacities needed for smart local energy systems and to support the replication of GreenSCIES across the country.

Key lessons learnt

  1. Successful smart local energy system projects have to be based in detailed community and local stakeholder engagement. Without this, projects risk a failure to gain local support and to miss opportunities to realise local value.
  2. Delivering a heat-network based smart local energy system scheme with electricity infrastructure connected behind hubs limits the regulatory challenges faced by the project.

In the video below, three of the team from the GreenSCIES project in London explain how they demonstrated a model for recovering heat from neighbourhood sources for use in heat networks, and proved its potential for the future.

Next steps

  • Construction of the New River project in Islington with the potential to deliver CO2 savings of 5.7kTonnes/year and energy use of 6GWh/year. There is an ambition for the scheme to be operational during 2025.
  • Roll out the skills development programme at the centre of excellence, develop new courses, and support a wider national network of smart local energy system training centres.
  • Replicate the GreenSCIES model nationally, including drawing in investment for the existing case-study portfolio.

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