Cranbrook district heating network


This district heating development marks a milestone for Cranbrook which is recognised as a location for large-scale employment and which is expected to provide over 6,500 new jobs.

Cranbrook will become an exemplar development providing: 

  • Transport links and road access including a new junction on the M5 
  •  A mixture of homes Employment opportunities 
  •  A primary school, commercial and retail units
  •  A multi-purpose building providing a location for a doctor's surgery, library, local voluntary organisations, police and ambulance services, and other public bodies. 

The project   

E.ON is responsible for the design and operation of the heat distribution network and energy centre, including heat interface units that will pipe heat into the individual homes and commercial premises. 

The community energy centre will be located on the £120 million Skypark development and will supply heat and hot water to both the community of Cranbrook and the Skypark business development. The low carbon heat source will change as the developments grow, with gas-fired boilers being supplemented by gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP), and later by biomass fuelled CHP. Alongside the lower carbon heating solution, renewable microgeneration technologies can be added to the Cranbrook and Skypark properties to further meet low carbon targets in the future.

The technology

District heating provides heat from the energy centre to a number of homes and buildings from a network of underground and well-insulated pipes fed by a central source. District heating can supply heat to housing developments, whole towns, areas of cities or sometimes an entire sustainable city. 

At the heart of the energy centre is the primary generating plant such as a combined heat and power (CHP) unit, supported by a secondary and back-up plant to provide correct balance to meet renewable energy and carbon savings targets.  


  • Greater security of supply Income by exporting back to the grid 
  •  Lower CO2 emissions by 13,0001 tonnes each year  
  •  Reduced heating bills Waste heat is used to heat the water and space heating supply 
  •  No gas boilers means there's no boiler maintenance or replacement costs 
  •  Hot water on demand
  • Emergency call-out service and helpline for customers

1The total cost of heating a home and the associated carbon consumption will be comparable to a new home built to minimum standards and heated by gas