Kent Innovation Centre to become Thanet council’s first low carbon building

The Kent Innovation Centre Image TDC

The Kent Innovation Centre in Broadstairs will become Thanet council’s first low carbon building after a successful bid for £1.1million to carry out the works.

The bid, made by the council’s Climate Change officer Hannah Scott, was granted via the Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund.

The work to be carried out will involve exchanging the gas boilers for three air source heat pumps. These are like reverse refrigerators which use small amounts of electricity to take heat from cool air outside the building, concentrate it and pump it inside.

As the electricity can be sourced through renewable means, the heat provided to the KIC will be renewable.

Roof and window insulation will be added to improve heat efficiency and there will be enlarged radiators as the heat provided by the pumps is at slightly lower temperature than gas boilers. ●

There will be  a heat exchange unit in the roof and solar panels will be installed. A battery bank will be added for electricity storage.

A council document outlining the plans says: “TDC called a climate emergency in 2019 and pledged to become net carbon zero by 2030. TDC needs to aim to decarbonise all estates and activities over the next ten years.

“A large proportion of our total greenhouse gas emissions come from the gas central heating of buildings we own. The decoupling of our heating supply from fossil fuels is complicated and expensive and so external funding was sought.

“In January we were told that the PSDF was oversubscribed, however there was an option to receive the money through a section 31 agreement.”

The project will provide a completely electric heating supply and if electricity is purchased or made from renewable sources then the heating supply becomes fully renewable and also means savings on the council’s bills.

The centre is rented out as office space, shared space and meeting rooms and is sited across from the former Christ Church University campus.

A full outline of the project will be discussed by councillors in June.


  1. Why are the building companies not putting solar panels on all new houses shops and factories, should be all part of the planning

    • 1) the best heating system you can have is not to have one , so the best value for money is to build in a manner that minimises energy use.
      2) Solar panels need maintenance and repair , in the case of replacement inverters this can be costly ( though not a frequent occurence)
      3) the energy distribution system is not designed to accept too great an input from the final users end. The majority of PV systems send any excess power back into the grid, if every building had panels on a hot summer day, the power being pushed into the grid if excessive causes problems. Batteries may be the answer but are extremely costly , as yet an unproven technology for the mass market and of dubious environmental merit when the whole life of the battery ( mined materials to eventual disposal ) is taken into account.

      Improvements in the above will alter the balance over time , but you’ll never get better value for money than building in a manner to use the least energy.

  2. It beggars belief. So should triple glazing. On buying housing association flat in Silvanus House, Ramsgate in 1992 horrified to find only single glazing yet on direct flight path up Ramsgate High Street could see pilot sometimes. Moved and now understand offered double or for extra costs triple glazing installation completed works then sold off by housing association! Greed rules I’m afraid, as I had bought at highest then negative equity halved it still glad out of rented and exorbitant service charges.

  3. We absolutely must stop fossil fuel burning. If we don’t, the whole planet faces a massive disaster, far greater than this pandemic.
    Ideally (and I agree with LC) we should be constructing buildings with very high degrees of insulation. If it’s good enough, then hardly any extra heating beyond that provided by body heat and running equipment is needed.
    Heat pumps are a great idea. The Royal Festival Hall in London was, for a time, heated by heat pumps which sucked heat out of the Thames.
    Solar panels are a must. If overloading the Grid is a potential (!) problem, then panels could be disconnected or shaded by blinds.
    “Carbon Neutral” is mealy mouthed, and does not mean the same as “Zero Carbon”. People have the idea they can compensate for their carbon footprint by paying for a few trees.

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