Greater Manchester Green City Region. Creating a greener, greater city region differently


GMCA is running a series of trials and testing new systems that will help to deliver more efficient and sustainable heating in our homes and businesses.


Air source heat pumps and demand side-response

The GM Smart Communities project was developed by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Japan’s public R&D management organisation, New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (“NEDO”), and includes a range of partners, including Hitachi, Daikin, Mizuho Bank, Electricity Northwest and BEIS – a great example of a multi-national partnership project between government, industry and academia.   

The pilot delivered Air Source Heat Pumps at scale and tested the effectiveness of Demand Side Response across the social housing sector – something that is essential for the future decarbonisation of the UK. 

The project aims to support the shift from gas to electric heating by combining low-carbon heat pump technology and demand response and aggregating and examining its impact on the network and benefits to customers. This pilot places GM at the forefront of domestic energy technology innovation.

An air source pump is like air conditioning in reverse; condensing warmth from outside to produce heating inside. Householders use an IT system to manage their heating efficiently.
Programme results have shown lower carbon emissions and lower heating bills.

You can find out more about the Greater Manchester Smart Energy project here. 

Energy Systems Catapult - Smart Systems

Greater Manchester is part of a national trial being run by the Energy Systems Catapult and the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) testing new smart heating models.

The aim is to produce efficient, low carbon energy solutions for whole neighbourhoods and help innovators to develop new technologies and energy services that are valued by households.

This brings significant investment to the region and puts Greater Manchester at the forefront of research and innovation in new technologies and energy services.

You can find out more about the Smart Heat and Energy Modelling project here.


A number of heat network opportunities across the city region are at various stages of development.

A heat network is like “central heating for cities” – instead of individual heaters in each building, a big central heat source (or more than one source) generates heat which is then taken by pipes to a number of connected buildings, with the potential for delivery at district and city scale. 

These central heat sources are often Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants, which means they are small power stations that also capture the heat produced in electricity generation and use it locally.

Benefits of district heating networks can include:
1. Provision of low carbon / lower cost heat to domestic and commercial customers
2. Diversification of the energy mix
3. Reductions in Region-wide carbon emissions
4. Targeting and reduction of fuel poverty
5. Potential long term revenue streams for local authorities
6. Alignment with regeneration programmes
7. Driving the growth of the low carbon services sector

The first project for which the business case and procurement milestones have been reached is the Manchester Civic Quarter Heat (Energy) Network (CQHN).

You can find out more about this project here.


DIMMER District Information Modelling and Management for Energy Reduction

This is a European funded project to develop software which allows users to model how different energy measures and behaviour will affect the performance of a building and districts. 

The software can be used by residents, energy managers, estate managers and building and design professionals to test different scenarios and used two pilot areas, Turin and the Corridor, to develop and test the software.

Find out more on the Dimmer website.

EnergyPath Networks

All local authorities face the looming challenge of making the best local energy planning decisions as we transition to a decarbonised energy system against a backdrop of new technologies and an array of old homes that are often not very energy efficient and expensive to keep warm.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority is working with the Energy Systems Catapult and the Energy Technologies Institute on the EnergyPath Networks project, which is looking at the whole energy system to help local authorities to explore the costs and benefits of various infrastructure choices to meet future local area energy targets.

EnergyPath Operations

EnergyPath™ Operations (EPO) is a whole energy systems analysis tool that allows users to explore potential future energy system designs and assess the technologies, business models and IT solutions needed.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority is working with the Energy Systems Catapult and the Energy Technologies Institute on the EPO is creating a virtual environment to explore a range of technically challenging, time-consuming and potentially expensive choices through simulation prior to committing to costly field trials.

Visit the main Platform site