What is
Leeds PIPES?

The Leeds PIPES network provides homes, businesses, and public buildings with heat and hot water that is affordable, reliable, and low carbon. The award-winning district heating scheme has been delivered in partnership by Leeds City Council and Vital Energi to future-proof business and consumer energy needs. Dozens of buildings have already connected and the network continues to grow.

How it works


Recovering energy

If you live in Leeds, your black bin waste is sent to the Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility instead of being sent to landfill. After removing what can be recycled, the rubbish is burned which creates steam as a by-product. Using waste to make heat is significantly greener than traditional heating fuels.


Converting steam

The steam is piped to the nearby Cross Green Energy Centre where it is converted into hot water at the perfect temperature. The water is then pumped towards the city through a network of insulated underground pipes.


Adding resilience

On its way to customers, the hot water passes the Saxton Gardens Energy Centre. This second energy centre makes Leeds PIPES even more reliable: it houses back-up gas boilers which stand ready to provide extra heat at a moment’s notice.


Enjoying heat

Hot water arrives in connected buildings ready for use in heating systems and radiators. ‘Used’ water is pumped back to the Cross Green Energy Centre ready to be re-heated and used again.

Where we are

Our future plans

In September 2022, we began constructing the third phase of the Leeds PIPES scheme. When completed, the extension means that the network will reach 26.5km in length, enabling more buildings and developments to connect and enjoy the benefits of district heating.

Initial plans for a fourth phase of the scheme are still under development and were recently approved in principle by the council’s Executive Board, subject to funding. You can find out more about these proposals on our news page. More detailed information will be published later this year.

We will continue to expand the Leeds PIPES network into new areas of the city based on likely customer demand. In the future, national regulation means that certain buildings and developments will likely be mandated to connect to district heating where available.

If you own or manage a building or development and would potentially be interested in connecting to district heating, then please contact us to let us know.


Creating a
positive legacy

Projects like Leeds PIPES create an opportunity to engage with schools and further education in the local community.

The Leeds PIPES heat network was named following a collaboration with the local Co-operative Academy. Year 9 pupils worked with the members of the Leeds PIPES project team to understand how the heat network would work and the benefits it would bring to Leeds. These pupils created the name ‘Leeds PIPES’ – with PIPES standing for ‘Providing Innovative Pro-Environment Solutions‘.

Drawings completed by the pupils during the day were displayed on hoarding around the city centre while the initial works took place, and pupils were invited to mark the commencement of works along with local councillors.

The project has also helped employ more than 430 people in the local low carbon sector, including 36 apprentices.

Our awards

The Leeds PIPES heat network is a landmark project which has demonstrated how towns and cities can generate rapid carbon reduction. Since construction began on the heating network in January 2018 the project has scooped national media attention, and has been successfully awarded several prestigious awards:

  • ADE Awards 2022 – Contribution to Net Zero
  • ADE Awards 2022 – Heat & Efficiency (Operational)
  • Heating & Ventilation Awards 2021 – District Heating Project of the Year
  • Heating & Ventilation Awards 2021 – HVAC Project of the Year

Our key partners

Leeds City Council

As part of the Best City Ambition, LCC is working to make rapid progress towards carbon neutrality, reducing the city’s impact on the planet which improves standards of living in all of our communities.

Vital Energi

Vital Energi have two generations of experience in delivering sustainable and viable energy generation, distribution and consumption management projects that support our energy transformation to net zero.


Ener-Vate are proud to provide commercial support in the development and expansion of the district heating network, as independent, commercial advisory experts in all aspects of low carbon heating developments.

Our funding partners

£5.8 million

European Regional Development Fund – Provided £5.8 million towards connecting 1,080 council homes to the network.

£4 million

West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) contributed £4 million through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal.

Over £2 million

Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) funded over £2 milion to connect the Leeds Combined Courts and Magistrate Courts to Leeds PIPES.

£0.1 million

LEP Energy Accelerator programme, funded by the Leeds City Region Growth Deal and the European Investment Bank’s European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) supplied £0.1m to the scheme.

£5.4 million

The Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP), managed by Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management, delivered £5.4 million of government funding to the project.

Interested in connecting?

If you own a development or existing building near the network then you can still connect and benefit from reliable, affordable and low carbon heat. We continue to expand the network into new areas of the city so that even more buildings and residents can benefit. Find out more about the benefits and process of connecting to Leeds PIPES heat network.