Today Community Energy London (CEL) publishes a study on the potential for heat pump retrofit in London’s community buildings.

The full report and appendices can be found on our publication page here.

This project was supported by The Mayor’s London Community Energy Fund and we would like to thank the team for their support.

Thank you to all of the contributors who made this report possible.

Press Release


DATE: Thursday  19 October 2023

Heat Pumps in London’s Community, Arts and Leisure Buildings 

  • Community Energy London (CEL) today publishes a study on the potential for heat pump retrofit in London’s community buildings
  • For the majority of the 14,000+ Community, Arts and Leisure sites across the city heat pumps are potentially the only route to decarbonise heat supply
  • The report provides detailed guidance to community groups on routes to lead on the delivery of heat pump retrofits in these buildings 

Community Energy London (CEL) has today published a study examining the potential for heat pumps in London’s community, arts and leisure buildings – and routes for  community groups to lead on the delivery of heat pump retrofits in these sites.  Over 14,000  such buildings exist across the city, ranging from art venues to community centres, places of worship to health and leisure centres. 

Chair of CEL Syed Ahmed said:

“There is a significant need  to accelerate the deployment of heat pumps in London’s community buildings to support their shift away from the use of fossil gas.  These buildings are ‘not going anywhere’. They are not only likely to be in place in 2030 (the target date for the Mayor’s Net Zero target) but still here in 2050. For the majority of these sites heat pumps are the only route for them to decarbonise their heating. Community groups are starting to deliver heat pump retrofits – but there remains an absence of policies or support mechanisms to help the large-scale deployment of heat pumps in community buildings.”

The report’s lead author Dave Powis said:

“There is a growing recognition that community-led decarbonisation initiatives will be key if we are to have any chance of meeting our climate targets. The democratisation of knowledge is central to these initiatives, to empower communities to take action through trusted peer-to-peer learning and collaboration. In the absence of financial or policy support, community groups need to work even harder to deliver viable retrofit projects, but you’re not alone! Through collective action we can make a difference, take a look at the report and let’s work together to achieve the potential.”

The Government has set out that the decarbonisation of heat in buildings will be achieved through the mass adoption of heat pumps, targeting 600,000 installations per annum by 2028. Support for heat pumps has been forthcoming however this has almost exclusively been targeted at the domestic sector. Some limited programmes are also in place for public sector buildings, and where heat pumps can be used with heat networks. Beyond this, there are virtually no Government policies or programmes in place to support heat pump retrofit in non-domestic buildings. 

Syed Ahmed concludes:

“The National Infrastructure Commission yesterday set out the urgent need for all buildings to move away from fossil fuel heating and for the wider use of heat pumps. This report sets out a series of recommendations to central government, local authorities and community groups to help accelerate the deployment of heat pumps in community buildings. Doing so will not only reduce their environmental impact, but also improve the health, comfort and resilience of these buildings.”


Notes to editors

  1. CEL’s new report Retrofitting Heat Pumps In London’s Community, Arts & Leisure Buildings can be accessed here.
  2. CEL’s Vision For Community Energy in London report, launched in the House of Commons in March 2023, can be accessed here. Our ambition is for a five fold increase in community-led energy projects across the city – to 1,000 installed schemes by 2030. CEL also launched an innovative first of a kind Community Energy London Potential Map which identifies those buildings most suitable for hosting a community energy project. The map can be found here
  3. The National Infrastructure Commission’s Second National Infrastructure Assessment, published yesterdaycan be downloaded here
  4. CEL is a not-for-profit membership organisation that connects people and organisations with an interest in supporting the development of community energy projects across the capital. CEL provides a route for groups to link up and share experiences, resources, best practice and skills gained through the development and delivery of their projects. 
  5. Also see HEAL recent report – Community Powered Retrofit

For further information contact:

Syed Ahmed, CEL Chair

 [email protected]  Tel: 07941036526

Dave Powis,  Co-Founder and Director Home Energy Action Lab (HEAL)

[email protected]

If you would like further information on Community Energy London (CEL) please email [email protected]