A new research project launched this week by greenspace scotland will explore how we can transform our urban landscapes to support a low carbon future. Green Heat in Greenspaces (GHiGs) builds on greenspace scotland’s ground-breaking ParkPower project bringing together half of Scotland’s councils together with a wide range of public sector bodies to explore how urban greenspaces can support a Scottish low carbon heat transition.

Read the full press release.

Scotland is facing a major challenge to decouple its dependence on carbon-rich fossil fuels to heat its homes and businesses. For decades, like the rest of the UK, it has relied largely on a centralised mains gas grid to meet the needs of approximately 80% of its households. Most experts agree that we need to transition to a new, decentralised model to supply low carbon heat.

John Maslen, greenspace scotland’s ParkPower programme manager comments:

“To have any chance of achieving our world-leading decarbonisation ambitions Scotland’s heat generation and delivery needs a radical overhaul. The big unanswered question is “how?” We believe that generating heat from urban greenspace using heat pumps and supplying this to buildings through a network of pipes has a key part to play in any solution.”

Green Heat in Greenspaces or “GHiGs” will explore how areas of greenspace across Scotland can contribute to transforming the urban landscape of the future to one based on low carbon heat.  This is the first time Ordnance Survey’s most detailed mapping of urban greenspaces has been used to assess the heat potential of specific sites. Already this data has highlighted the true scale of the opportunity: far from being dominated by grey space, analysis shows our cities to be largely green, with coverage at over 60% in cities like Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

The project is led by greenspace scotland as part of its ongoing ParkPower programme and will be supported by low carbon energy specialists Ramboll.  It has also secured support from a wide range of partners across the public and third sectors including half of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

The outputs from the project, due in early 2021, will enable us to assess the scale of opportunity across Scotland and provide greenspace owners with data to identify the most promising sites to progress.

Julie Procter, Chief Executive, greenspace scotland said:

“This exciting project will allow us to evaluate the scale of contribution that Scotland’s greenspaces can make towards our low carbon heat transition. The number and range of partners involved in GHiGs demonstrates the widespread interest across the public sector in optimising use of their land assets to address decarbonisation objectives. It is imperative we find a way to balance the potential value of these sites as community-scale boilers with their equally vital roles in supporting our health, amenity and education.”

Image credit: Kensa Contracting