What is district heating?
Currently in the UK most homes and businesses are supplied by mains gas, which is then utilised to produce heat for the individual home or businesses via their boiler systems. This leaves the UK heavily reliant on gas, both from the UK’s gas reserves and in more recent years an ever-increasing reliance on imported gas.
Countries such as Denmark, the country of origin for LOGSTOR pipes, have invested significantly in district heating to reduce their reliance on imported gas and reduce energy costs.
District heating is, in essence, large boilers or energy centres which provide heat and/or power to large properties and estates through to whole towns, cities, hospitals, universities and business parks.
The hot water is transferred from the large boilers via a network of pre-insulated pipes that can be installed both below and above ground as required. Water from the central boilers is then circulated to all those on the network, and often referred to as community heating schemes. Due to the energy centres harnessing waste heat they are highly efficient resulting in lower heating costs and reduced Co2 emissions compared to conventional heating systems.
Benefits of district heating
There are a range of benefits to using district heating networks, which first became apparent back in the 1970s when a fuel crisis hit some European countries that were heavily reliant on oil. The energy crisis was a wake up call for many countries when oil prices almost quadrupled, forcing homes to have no heating and businesses to be operating on reduced hours through the winter of 1973.
Countries like Denmark now have over 60% of their properties supplied via district heating networks to reduce costs, lower Co2 emissions and reduce the reliance on fossil fuels.
In a CHP (combined heat and power) station the heat released during electricity generation is captured and used to heat homes and offices, making CHP power stations between 70-90% efficient. Waste heat from other sources in a town can also be harnessed to further improve the efficiency of the district heating network.
As a result of the cost savings in energy prices for consumers, combined with reduced Co2 emissions, the UK government is now trying to increase the number of households connected to district heating network with funding available for local councils to conducts feasibility studies and installations.
A number of UK local councils are now realising the benefits, both from a resident perspective by way of lower energy costs, and also the benefits to businesses that can save considerably by relocating to premises supplied by district heating.