How does district heating work?
Heat networks aren't new. In 2016, the Government announced to invest £320 million over the next five years in district heating networks across the country. And today they feature in the government’s 10 Point Plan and the Carbon Climate Committee’s 6th Carbon Budget to work towards the decarbonisation of heating.
They are seen as a key technology to low carbon, cost-saving, and future-proof heating. We look at characteristics of heat networks and what you need to consider when choosing a boiler for your heat network.
What are heat networks (also called district heating/community heating)?
Heat networks are whole areas which benefit from a central source as heat supply. The size can vary from a few buildings to an entire city. A distinctive feature is that a variety of buildings can be supplied in the same network, e.g. domestic, commercial and public.
How does district heating work and what are the components of a heat network?
A central heat source (which can be an energy centre/plant room) feeds energy into the heat network which is distributed via pipes throughout an area. The central heat source could be boilers, combined heat and power (CHP), biomass boilers or recycled industrial waste heat. Heat interface units (HIUs) then feed it to individual consumers.
What are the financial advantages of district heating?
- Reduced energy, servicing and maintenance costs. Supply from a variety of heat sources is redistributed and delivered to residential, commercial and public buildings. This means elimination of individual boilers, gas pipes and flues in favour of a centralised plant where most of installation, maintenance and service work is carried out.
- Attractive return on investment through a more diverse and spread heat demand throughout the year thanks to a mix of domestic and commercial consumers.
- Lower cost of compliance with regulations such as the Climate Change Act 2008 and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive without the need to modify building fabric.
What experience does Hamworthy have in district heating projects?
Modular boilers are a great match for heat networks, and some of our Wessex ModuMax modular boilers are already delivering heat in district heating networks and energy centres across the UK: