New coal-fired power stations should be fitted with technology to capture waste heat, the Institution of Civil Engineers has recommended.
The group said it could then be piped into homes, with demand for heat accounting for almost half the primary energy consumed in the UK.
It has also recommended new developments be built with small scale plants which produce both electricity and heat to make them more energy efficient and cut their carbon output.
A new report from the ICE claimed the region around Drax, Ferrybridge and Eggborough power stations, near Leeds, and the Kingnorth/Tilbury cluster near London, would be ideal areas for heat to be pumped into homes to replace gas or electrical heating and hot water.
It said while the technology could be easily be put in place in the power plants themselves, money would need to be spent on laying the pipes from the plants to homes.
ICE energy panel member Dr Keith Tovey said there was “enormous potential” in heat recovery.
He said: “We’re thinking about building new coal power stations, like Kingsnorth, and perhaps one of the requirements should be not just thinking about electricity but also heat demand.”