A district heat network is a system by which a building, or buildings on a campus or development, takes hot water from a central boiler plant or energy centre to provide heat to radiators and hot water.
There are many benefits to this system, from environmental, such as cutting carbon emissions, economic, and social advantages.
A central boiler plant in a distract heat network is much more efficient than individual boiler systems. For example, Leicester’s City Centre District Heating Scheme covers six estates in the city and has saved 20,000 tonnes of carbon from its implementation in 2012 until 2020.
The energy savings are around 25 per cent of the costs of individual building gas boilers, and up to 50 per cent compared to electric heating.
District heating can also use fuels in a way that would not be feasible in individual dwellings. For example, combinations of energy sources can be used, such as traditional gas-fired boilers, biomass, combined heat and power (CHP) and low-grade heat technologies such as ground source heat pumps.
The heat that would otherwise be wasted during industrial processes can be used when the plant is connected to a district heat network.
District heating will reduce the costs to the building/housing management and the end-user. The reduced cost factors include reduced maintenance, no need for individual household/building gas boiler safety inspection costs, and longer equipment life.
District heat networks that serve social housing, which are typically owned by a local authority or housing association, are the most viable. It will reduce energy bills for residents on benefits or who are living with fuel poverty.
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