The Masshouse scheme that will house the new magistrates’ court complex is set to be the first major development to tap into Birmingham’s greenest power source.

The developer behind the £600 million scheme has signed a deal with Birmingham District Energy Company Ltd (BDEC) to receive power from the new Jennens Road Energy Centre on Aston University’s campus.

The power will be generated by two Combined Heat & Power (CHP) engines totalling 3MWe, which will circulate heat in the form of high pressure hot water to connected buildings.

The energy will be used to heat buildings and could also be used to create chilled water for air-conditioning through the use of an absorption chiller.

The low carbon energy will generate an 88 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions for Masshouse, when compared to traditional forms of energy.

The innovation will also give all the Masshouse buildings a BREEAM excellent rating. Nick Payne, chairman of Masshouse Developments Ltd, said: “It is tremendous news that Masshouse will be the first live development in Birmingham to be connected to the city’s growing network of CHP Energy Centres.

“Over the past five years, Birmingham City Council’s Urban Design team and low carbon energy specialists Utilicom have been working in partnership to deliver sustainable energy across the city centre.

“Large public and private sector buildings that are connected to Birmingham’s first District Energy Centre next to the ICC and NIA have together generated carbon emission reductions of over 4,500 tonnes since 2007.

“The new Eastside Energy Centre that Masshouse is the first development to be connected to will help to deliver further significant reductions in carbon emissions across the city.”

BDEC has calculated that by powering the future new magistrates’ court - that is due to be completed in 2013 – with low carbon energy, 89 tonnes of CO2 emissions will be saved per year.

The low carbon energy scheme also reduces the space and maintenance requirements of satisfying a building’s energy demands. All future buildings at Masshouse will be served with low carbon energy by BDEC under 20 year energy supply agreements.

While Masshouse Developments Ltd has paid for the infrastructure to be laid to enable low carbon energy to be supplied to the Magistrates’ Court site, the billing for the power will go direct to Her Majesty’s Court Service.

Councillor Paul Tilsley, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “Laying the infrastructure to connect all future buildings at Masshouse to the new Eastside Energy Centre is a key milestone for the rapid expansion of Birmingham’s low carbon district energy scheme.

“Birmingham City Council is working towards the target of reducing the city’s carbon footprint by 60 per cent by 2026.

This ambitious target relies on advances in sustainable energy and Birmingham is one of the most proactive cities in creating a district energy system.

“Over the coming years, we will be actively working to create more Energy Centres across the city, enabling hundreds of existing and future buildings to benefit from low carbon energy,” he added. At Aston University, the CHP system will provide heat and electricity for various buildings on campus, including the new halls of residence, set for completion next year.

Garry East, director of estates at Aston University, said: “The new sustainable Energy Centre for Eastside is located on our campus, replacing our inefficient traditional energy supply unit.

“As well as supplying heat and power to the University campus, we are delighted that the Energy Centre will also be able to supply energy to the rest of Eastside, ensuring carbon emissions in this area are kept to a minimum,” he added.

Simon Woodward, chief executive of Utilicom, which owns and operates BDEC said: “The signings of both the connection and supply agreements are a significant milestone for the Birmingham District Energy scheme.

“It not only signifies the beginning of rapid expansion for the scheme, but also the collective commitment of local developers – the scheme’s core customers – and Birmingham City Council to work with BDEC to embrace a city wide and low carbon District Energy vision.”