City’s key buildings go green with £27m upgrades

15 July 2022

Newcastle City Council was awarded £27m from a government fund to improve the energy efficiency of key public buildings across the city.

It has partnered with sustainability experts EQUANS to support with the delivery of low carbon heating and other energy efficiency measures such as solar panels, LED lighting and improving insulation.

Cllr Jane Byrne, Newcastle City Council’s Connected City Cabinet member, said: “Buildings are one of the biggest sources for carbon emissions so taking action to retrofit these sites is an important step towards creating a more sustainable future for our residents.

“When all the work is complete, these projects will remove over 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year – the equivalent to taking over 2,800 cars off the road – while saving hundreds of thousands of pounds in running costs for the buildings per year.

“It is fantastic to see the scheme progressing well as these improvements will really help towards achieving our ongoing target to become net zero by 2030.”

A new heating system, heat pump, solar panels, new windows and insulation have been installed at the Theatre Royal’s Royal House.

YHN House, the Palatine Products building, Fenham Library, Gosforth Pool, Walker Activity Dome, the Pattern Shop and Newcastle Trampoline Park have all been upgraded with heat pumps and solar panels.

Solar panels have also been installed at nine schools while four city centre car parks have had LED lighting upgrades.

Installing solar panels means buildings will be powered by clean, renewable energy, helping to reduce the reliance on expensive energy from the national networks.

Heat pumps are normally three times more efficient than gas boilers, helping to save money and improve air quality.

The council successfully secured the £27m funding through the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

Tim Wood, Director of Sustainability & Innovation at EQUANS, said: “We are proud to be working alongside Newcastle City Council as it makes significant strides to reduce the carbon emissions of the city.

“Through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, some of Newcastle’s most iconic landmarks will be upgraded with high-tech energy and heating systems, showcasing EQUANS’ innovative solutions focused on delivering an environmentally-friendly future.”

Work is currently being carried out at Blandford House, home to the Discovery Museum, Newcastle City Library, the Civic Centre and East End Pool, while a further six schools will also benefit from upgrades.

All the projects are expected to be completed this year.

To find out more about Newcastle’s net zero action plan, visit