District heating is exactly as it sounds: District energy systems produce steam, hot water or chilled water at a central energy centre. The steam or water is distributed in pre-insulated pipework, to individual buildings for space heating, domestic hot water and air conditioning. As a result, individual buildings served by a district energy system don’t require their own boilers or chillers. The district heat network captures and redistributes heat that would otherwise be wasted. The surplus heat produced by electricity generating stations, factories, server farms and public transport networks is funnelled into the network, eliminating waste, lowering carbon emissions, lowering fuel consumption and saving everybody money.
District energy schemes provide valuable benefits including:
- Improved energy efficiency
- Enhanced environmental protection
- Fuel flexibility
- Ease of operation and maintenance
- Comfort and convenience for consumers
- Reduced costs
- Increased functional space on-site
We are not technology specific and indeed are agnostic on this subject. We are not for example pro gas fired CHP verses heat from energy from waste. We simply advocate the construction of local energy networks using technologies and solutions which are appropriate in terms of carbon intensity and costs to end users. These could range from heat only networks to heat, electricity and chilled water. Each one has its own part to play in the solutions we need to develop to deliver a truly low carbon economy.