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Pioneering improvements to Inverness hotel as the Glen Mhor in Ness Bank will get a ground source heat pump system as well as extra parking spaces – the £2.5 million low carbon heating project which is the first of its type in Scotland could pave the way for future decarbonisation of the gas grid in the Highland capital and further afield

By Ian Duncan

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Glen Mhor Hotel.
Glen Mhor Hotel.

Two projects are set to start at an Inverness hotel after both planning applications were approved by Highland Council.

It means that the Glen Mhor Hotel, in Ness bank, will get a ground source heat pump system as well as extra parking spaces.

Two heat pump units will be installed on a riverbank site covering 38 square metres in the city’s Ness Bank.

The £2.5 million low carbon heating project, which is the first of its type in Scotland, could pave the way for future decarbonisation of the gas grid in the Highland capital and further afield.

Construction work has already started on the car park project and it is due to start on the heating system, which will draw heat from groundwater, in the near future.

The project is part of a major effort by the hotel to achieve net zero – also a Scottish Government commitment by 2045 – as global leaders take action to tackle the climate emergency.

The groundwater source comes from geological sand and gravel layers, found at shallow depth around Inverness, which is connected to the River Ness.

The natural groundwater heat, gathered from shallow wells, will be further heated by electricity-driven heat pumps before being distributed to guests’ rooms and apartments via a small district heating network.

Jon Erasmus, the hotel’s co-owner, said: “This is a unique project and we are proud to be part of it. It crystallises a decade of research on the best low-carbon solutions for the hotel.

“It is all part of our long-term effort to achieve net zero. Guests today want to know that their visits are having as minimal an impact on the climate as possible and all businesses have a duty to decarbonise as much as possible.

“We also have the long-term Inverness Distillery plan for the hotel so we want to take steps now to ensure our energy systems are climate and future friendly.”

Andrew Lyle, the chief executive of Locogen, said: “Locogen is delighted to be working as technical advisers in this ground-breaking low-carbon heat project.

“The River Ness has the potential to provide low-carbon heat for the whole of Inverness and this project could be the foundation stone in the roll out of a low-carbon heat strategy for the city.

“This could be a replicable business model for other towns and cities across the UK with their own river and water resources.”

Local firms G&A Barnie Group and Compass Building and Construction Services are providing the energy system and buildings.

The car park development will increase the number of spaces at the site by five – from the current total of 31 up to 36 – as well as a new building to house electrical equipment.

According to the decision notice, it has been permitted in accordance with the council’s development plan and there were no material considerations which would warrant the planning application’s refusal.

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