Photo : Councillor John Wheeler switches on the new power supply, along with Aberdeen Heat & Power Chairman, Ramsay Milne.

One of Aberdeen’s largest secondary schools has started reducing its carbon footprint by more than 70% after connecting to a district heat network.

Not-for-profit Aberdeen Heat & Power has installed a 1.2km heat main to link St Machar Academy to Tillydrone Energy Centre and is now delivering affordable heat and hot water to the 900-pupil school.

As well as supplying the academy, the heat main will in future also serve a new 650-pupil primary school being built in Tillydrone and 72 proposed new-build council homes beside Harris Drive.

An existing Aberdeen City Council nursery, providing capacity for early years learning, will also be connected to the district heating energy centre.

AH&P CEO Ian Davidson said: ‘Adding these four substantial connections is giving us an excellent opportunity to expand our Tillydrone heating network.

‘Our low carbon emission connections benefit the local environment and help meet zero carbon targets, and — for St Machar Academy in particular — bring huge benefits from using a low cost, low carbon heat source.’

He added: ‘In time, the school will be able to achieve a 77% carbon emission saving, simply by having removed its direct-feed gas boilers and connecting to a district heat source.’

The school has also benefited from a total upgrade to its heating controls system, which will enhance how efficiently heat is delivered across the site.

Mr Davidson said that to achieve the new connection, AH&P had to run the heat main along Formartine Road and Tedder Road and then underneath St Machar Drive, which proved particularly challenging.

Aberdeen City Council education operational delivery convener Councillor John Wheeler said: ‘It’s great that St Machar Academy is now connected to the district heating network.

‘The energy savings contribute not only to reducing energy bills at the school but also to our aim of net zero and reducing the carbon footprint as part of the city’s innovative approach as the energy capital of Europe.’

AH&P’s Tillydrone Energy Centre already provides affordable warmth to seven blocks of multi-storey flats in the area as well as to the Aberdeen Lads’ Club Community Centre, Tillydrone NHS Hub, St George’s Church, and Riverbank Primary School.

Together they account for 6,207MWh in output, and the St Machar connection will add a further 2,000MWh.

Mr Davidson added: ‘The increase in revenue we receive from this expansion will — as a not-for-profit enterprise — help us hold down heating charges for our existing customers as well as invest in future network developments.’