FREEZERS containing peas, ice creams and pizzas cold could soon be keeping homes in Rose Hill warm as part of new heating initiative.

Plans have been unveiled that could see a pipeline installed between Sainsbury's in Heyford Hill and the estate pumping excess heat from the store's freezers into 146 council homes.

The scheme, drawn up by sustainability charity Bioregional on behalf of Rose Hill and Iffley Low Carbon, is in the early stages but could cut energy bills by up to 80 per cent and carbon emissions by more than 70 per cent.

Eleanor Watts from Rose Hill and Iffley Low Carbon said: "It is a very exciting idea but it is a big project and there is a lot of preparation to do.

"It would be in Sainsbury's interest because they could sell some of their excess heat.

"There is money available for the project from the Government's renewable heat incentive.

"The next stage is for Oxford City Council to make an application to the Heat Networks Delivery Unit for funding."

Bioregional carried out research from June 2016 until January this year and looked at a range of options before deciding the Sainsbury's scheme was best.

In its report the group said a hot water pipe would connect directly to the chillers at the store and would circulate 25C hot water around Rose Hill.

In the summer the excess heat would heat the ground around a borehole in the Sainsbury's car park –or possibly at a central location in Rose Hill – acting as a store for the winter months when less waste heat is generated.

A heat pump would then be installed in each household, replacing their existing gas boiler.

Radiators would run for longer but at a much lower temperature to deliver the same level of heat.

The heat would flow around a pipe serving Williamson Way, Wynbush, Lambourn Davers, Cottesmore and Thames View roads, with the possibility of it extending to Rose Hill Primary School in the future.

In the report Bioregional said: "Critically Sainsbury's and Oxford City Council have provided written support for this scheme's continued development.

"Bioregional have worked closely with Sainsbury’s, who have demonstrated interest and support in this study,

"It is hoped that the initial support will translate into a formal partnership with a

possible contribution towards the development and capital costs of the project subject to more detailed modelling of the stores potential energy savings."

It is estimated the scheme would cost about £2.5m.