Low Carbon District Energy Centre / by greenpenlondon

The Optic Cloak - an architectural flue stack for the new Low Carbon District Energy Centre on Greenwich Peninsula, London - Sept 2016 [C.F. Møller/Conrad Shawcross]

Installation of the perforated aluminum panels to form the energy centre's 50m tall chimney - July 2016 [greenpen.london]

A new energy centre is under construction on the Greenwich Peninsula that will serve the largest residential new-build district heating system in Europe. Pinnacle Power are responsible for the design, building and maintenance of the Greenwich Peninsula Low Carbon District Energy Centre, and have formed a new customer-facing brand Loka Energy. The Energy Centre - currently under construction by Kier Group off Millennium Way and due to complete by end 2016 - features a striking architectural flue stack coined The Optic Cloak, which was commissioned by developer Knight Dragon.

The District Energy Centre, designed by architects C.F. Møller, is to house technically advanced boilers and Combined Heat & Power that by 2030 will provide heat energy to some 15,000 homes and 3.5 million square feet of commercial space across the Peninsula. Heat energy will be distributed via a District Heating Network to each plot across the development. District heating will be provided not only to Knight Dragon's Greenwich Peninsula developments, but also to others including Barratt's Enderby Wharf located to the west of the Energy Centre.

Also see: In Pictures - Construction of the Optic Cloak photographed over 10 months

District Energy Centre at the A102, Blackwall Tunnel Approach [C.F. Møller/Conrad Shawcross]

Pinnacle Power

Pinnacle Power is responsible for the design, delivery, operation, maintenance and customer service of the District Energy Centre and delivery of a fully managed and operational system network on the Greenwich Peninsula. 



Loka Energy

Loka Energy Limited is a new company that has been set up by Pinnacle Power to manage the district heating network on the Greenwich Peninsula.

Heat is piped into your home from the Loka network via the Heat Interface Unit (HIU) - Loka Energy

District Heating Network [C.F. Møller]


Construction of the infrastructure associated with the District Heating Network involves the installation of over 10 kilometres of pre-insulated steel pipe, a bulk supply connection in 61 buildings and a heat interface unit in every apartment. Due to the size of the development and the complexity of the build programme, Pinnacle Power has had to install intermediary energy centres around the Peninsula, each large enough to heat multiple housing blocks. These are being deployed as the development grows and as it becomes viable to connect additional properties to the phase 2 Energy Centre.

E.ON undertook a high level technical model of the Greenwich Peninsula to assess and validate both heat demand and the indicative heat network design, followed by a design audit. E.ON is advising the Greenwich Peninsula regeneration venture on the heat network design and specification provided by other consultancies, ensuring it’s sufficiently robust to be adopted by an ESCo (Energy Services Company).

District heating pipes for installation at Upper Riverside development by Trent Energy - July 2016 [greenpenlondon]


A planning application (ref. 13/1372/F) was submitted in May 2013 for the erection of a 2,600 square metres energy centre including office accommodation, a visitor centre, 49 metre high flue stack, substation and Gas Governor House plus associated car parking, servicing, plant, access and landscaping on Plot M0401. Plans were approved by Royal Borough of Greenwich a year later in June 2014. Revised plans were submitted in October 2014 (ref. 14/3143/MA) and were approved April 2015. Revisions concerned the redesign of the flue stack by artist Conrad Shawcross and changes to the elevation and layout of the office space and visitor centre.

Site of Energy Centre (bold red), located to the east of the proposed Modern Wharf development [Development Securities and Cathedral, now merged to form U+I Plc]

Energy Centre - local context. See interactive map here. [greenpen.london]

Proposed site of Energy Centre on plot M0401, adjacent to Blackwall Tunnel Approach [C.F. Møller]

Construction progress, 26th February 2016 [@jasonhawkesphot] - Energy Centre towards centre left

Proposed Estate Service Centre wraps UKPN electricity substation on site near Energy Centre [Northpoint Architects]

The northeast corner of the same plot, M0401, is to accommodate a new Electricity Substation developed by UK Power Networks. In August 2016, developer Knight Dragon proposed an Estate Service Centre that would wrap around the substation, adding to numerous infrastructure and utility service buildings located in this part of the Peninsula.

Construction Progress

Construction Progress up to July 2016 (more photos on Flickr):


The Design Chronicle reported in March 2015 that developer Knight Dragon had revealed the design of a major new art and architecture collaboration, coined Optic Cloak (formerly Lenticular Dazzle Camouflage), for the Energy Centre. British artist Conrad Shawcross was commissioned to provide a high profile architectural intervention and his largest public commission to date for the entrance to the area covered by the Greenwich Peninsula Masterplan. This commission will re-imagine the 49 metre high tower which forms part of a new Low Carbon Energy Centre designed by C.F. Møller Architects due to be built on Greenwich Peninsula in 2015 and completed in 2016.

Original design of flue stack, approved June 2014 [C.F. Møller]

The cladding for the structure will be formed of hundreds of triangular panels, each the height of a London bus. These tiles fold and flow across the surface of the tower forming complex geometric patterns that visually break up the flat planes to create an uneven, sculpted surface that plays with the vanishing points and perspective. At night, an integrated lighting design will produce a shifting series of compositions lit from within the structure.

Energy Centre entrance view [C.F. Møller/Conrad Shawcross]

Low Carbon Energy Centre and architectural flue stack coined the 'optic cloak' [C.F. Møller/Conrad Shawcross]

The Low Carbon Energy Centre tower was identified as a canvas for a public art commission by project curators Futurecity, a placemaking agency, to support Knight Dragon’s commitment to art and culture across their development. Futurecity organised a competition and shortlisting process and Conrad Shawcross’s design was selected by a panel from a short list of three artists.

Conrad Shawcross talks through his project, The Optic Cloak -  TEDxUAL 2016 State of the Art

Shawcross’ response unites sophisticated engineering and complex optic research to create an impressive sculptural concept on a huge scale. The artist’s intention is to create an ambiguous and beguiling surface that disturbs and dematerializes the massing of the tower structure, producing a form that remains abstract and hard to define yet one which could potentially become a talking point for the local and wider community.
The design uses both First World War 'dazzle camouflage' - the paradox of camouflage whereby objects that are supposed to be hidden are in fact made both more visible and arresting – and ideas found in Cubist and Futurist paintings in which an object’s surface is broken up, creating false perspectives and vanishing points.
The cladding for the structure will be formed of hundreds of triangular panels, each the height of a London bus. These tiles fold and flow across the surface of the tower forming complex geometric patterns that visually break up the flat planes to create an uneven, sculpted surface that plays with the vanishing points and perspective, and leaves the viewer unsure of where the form begins or ends.

The panels are perforated so as to exploit the phenomena of the Moiré Effect and create an object that changes in appearance when it is viewed from different locations or vantage points and at different times of the day. As the two main surfaces of the tower sit east to west, the structure will filter the light of the sun and sky enhancing both the form and the visual effect of the Moiré. At night an integrated lighting design will produce a shifting series of ‘compositions‘ lit from within the structure.

Billington Structures Ltd and Wedge Group Galvanizing [Billington Steel on Twitter]

Energy Centre Design

The building footprint allows for flexibility in adopting energy technology over the building’s substantial lifetime. The Energy Centre will house a Visitor Centre offering an interactive educational experience for prearranged groups of visitors.

Plans for the Ground Floor of the Energy Centre show plans for the machine rooms and equipment, with office space and the Visitors Centre located on the first and second floors.


Knight Dragon's proposals for a revised Greenwich Peninsula Masterplan (2015) show the Energy Centre within the Lower Brickfields neighbourhood

Knight Dragon's proposals for a revised Greenwich Peninsula Masterplan (2015) indicate that the wider site, between Millennium Way and the Blackwall Tunnel Approach, is to include additional residential blocks adjacent to the District Energy Centre.

This area forms part of the Lower Brickfields neighbourhood, which is to have relatively lower density and is designed to be family-friendly with close proximity to the school (St. Mary Magdelene Primary & Secondary School) and accessible to Central Park to the east.






The project description on the architects website mentions an ENVAC centre on the same site as the Energy Centre, which suggests that a waste management system may be developed at a later stage. ENVAC is described UK's only underground vacuum waste management system.

ENCAV underground vaccum waste management system