Guildhall restoration unlocks carbon savings

Source: press release, 7 February 2022

Councillor Nigel Ayre and Councillor Paula Widdowson in front of the river water source heat pump
Councillor Nigel Ayre and Councillor Paula Widdowson in front of the river water source heat pump (photo: City of York Council)

A river water source heat pump has been installed at York Guildhall, as part of the refurbishment and redevelopment work. This will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the historic building at the heart of the city.

The location of the Guildhall, on the banks of the River Ouse, provides the opportunity to take advantage of this low-carbon energy source.

The river water source heat pump installation will allow to make carbon savings of around 40 tonnes per year in operation when compared against an equivalent fossil fuel energy solution.

The main hall, slype space and new-build offices will be heated from the river source heat pump using underfloor heating.

Further offices and meeting rooms will be heated by fan coil units (FCUs) that are run from the river water source heat pump. These FCUs combine heating and cooling coils, providing warmth in the winter and cooling air in the warmer summer months.

The historic Guildhall building is being restored and redeveloped for the 21st century, with works now reaching the final stages. The building will provide modern business space with public access, conference and events space and retained civic use.

Councillor Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change at City of York Council, says, “It was fantastic to see first-hand some of the work that has taken place to restore the Guildhall and bring this historic building into the 21st century. The carbon output of this heating method is much lower than using a traditional gas boiler. Over time, with the greening of the grid, the carbon savings will only increase.”

“As a Council, we are determined to play our part in helping to achieve our ambition of becoming a carbon net-zero city. The installation of the river water source heat pump at the Guildhall is yet another step towards achieving this goal,” Widdowson adds.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Finance and Performance at City of York Council, says, “It makes perfect sense to take advantage of the Guildhall’s unique riverside location to heat large parts of the building.”

“Sustainability and innovation are at the heart of the renovation works. Through the installation of the river water source heat pump, we are making sure the Guildhall restoration project delivers environmental gain alongside the many community and economic benefits,” continues Ayre.

Faye Davies, Managing Director of Burrell Foley Fisher architects for the project, says, “As architects we consider carefully our specification choices and their environmental impact. The riverside location of the project provides an ideal alternative energy source for the refurbished and extended building and will significantly reduce its in-use carbon footprint.”