Village set to become “zero carbon role model”

UK Power Networks (UKPN) is aiming to turn a village in East Sussex into a zero carbon role model for greener home heating through a new project.

On 27 January, UKPN announced that 600 households in Barcombe in East Sussex are set to be involved in its two-year CommuniHeat project. The project is aiming to understand how Barcombe and similar communities could switch to low carbon heating using electricity, with the goal to create a sustainable, replicable model in the village that could then be applied in other parts of the country.

UKPN engineers will collaborate with local community group, Ovesco, to host digital community events and engagement to understand the needs and opinions of residents. Energy meters will also be installed in the village, while consultancy, Buro Happold, is to develop computer models to forecast the impacts of electrifying heat. Data gathered from the meters will show how residents are using their energy, enabling UKPN to run advanced simulations for different approaches to installing low carbon heating.

The simulations will investigate the costs, efficiency and impact of on the electricity network of a range of approaches, such as shared district heating, medium-sized heat pumps serving a few properties or individual electric heat pumps being installed at each property. From here, the project will then explore potential community finance models for making the switch to low carbon heating, including how other smart technologies such as electric vehicles and solar power could play a role.