April 22, 2020
What is district heating?
District heating, also known as a heat network, uses a network of underground, insulated pipes to deliver cost effective and low carbon heat. It utilises a centralised energy centre that provides heat and hot water to several buildings, instead of the individual boilers and pipe networks that are common in the UK.
With the energy sector being the second highest pollutant in the UK, after transport, it is shocking that the energy produced is not used effectively; 85% of homes in the UK are still heated by gas boilers! The new carbon reduction goals call for the national grid to be more ‘flexible’, allowing for more renewables.
Essentially, district heating can play a key role in providing this flexibility, as it does not rely on a single source of supply. Through sector coupling, district heating schemes can use a variety of energy sources, from wind power to the typical power plant. This means that all energy can be used, reducing the risk of wasteful production while removing the need for additional energy to be generated. On top of this, district heating can utilise the waste heat generated by the energy industry to boost the environmental benefits further. Installing and using a heat neat network means heating supply is more reliable, there is a significant decarbonisation of the energy usage all while reducing cost.
Considering the current environmental concerns, it has become increasingly clear that renewables should be a key part of our energy production. District heating opens the doors for these options due to its inherent flexibility. And with new renewable technologies being introduced regularly, district heating is naturally ‘future proofed’.
With its high efficiency and ability to use waste heat, district heating might just be the future of energy supply.