Unlocking the energy potential of Scotland’s parks

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New research published today (Monday 24 February) by greenspace scotland reveals how the untapped energy potential from Scotland’s parks and greenspaces could provide low carbon heat for our homes and reduce Scotland’s carbon footprint.

Public parks and greenspaces across urban Scotland offer the potential to supply low carbon heat to at least 15% of Scottish households. That’s all the households in Glasgow and Dundee combined. This would save the same amount of carbon as 10 years growth from planting 9½ million tree saplings.

Tackling the problem of weaning our residential and commercial buildings off their dependence on gas-based heating is proving extremely challenging with Scotland unlikely to meet its target for supplying 11% of heat demand from low carbon sources by 2020. Most recent estimates suggest we are nearer 6%. This new report published by greenspace scotland, a charity working with public sector bodies to pioneer new ways of managing and resourcing urban greenspace, estimates that heat from the ground in urban greenspace could supply 5% of our total heat demand.

Paul Steen, Department Manager - UK District Energy, Ramboll said: “A key challenge in meeting Scotland’s net zero carbon ambition by 2045 is decarbonising our energy system. The ParkPower project shows the huge green energy potential waiting to be unlocked from Scotland’s parks and greenspaces.”

The ParkPower project analysed the potential of over 3,500 individual parks and greenspace across Scotland to generate clean, green renewable energy. Its findings suggest that the park below your feet could soon be contributing heat to our homes and buildings. These spaces, widely distributed across our cities and towns, may also be able to provide much needed green electricity from solar and hydro schemes and support our growing needs for electric vehicle charging.

Cllr Ross Vettraino, Convener of Fife Council’s Environment and Protective Services Committee, said: "The climate emergency means finding more opportunities for local energy is critical. Lochore Meadows Country Park visitor centre is a great ParkPower example, using a water source heat pump that takes heat stored in the loch."