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District heating (in Europe, and for energy efficient heating in cities throughout the world)

district heating illustration
district heating illustration   FROM  -  boilerguide.co.uk/district-heating-explained

District heating

Modern district heating (DH) is actually more than 100 years old. Modern DH started around the turn of the 20th century n Moscow, Frederiksberg, and Copenhagen. It’s used in Northern European nations to a more significant degree today than the rest of the world (outside China); and district heating has risen in popularity and use throughout much of the rest of the world.

District heating has proven it's effectiveness in improving energy efficiency for buildings throughout European cities, and should be adopted in many more cities throughout the world. DH is generally implemented when a municipality makes use of otherwise wasted heat.

DH uses otherwise wasted heat from a power plant to create heat for buildings or homes in a city, city district, or town(s) by sending the heat (usually in the form of heated water, steam, or gas) through insulated pipes to homes and buildings to be used as space or water heating.

Heat and energy for district heating is often derived from the use of excess heat from energy generation in combined heat and power (CHP) plants. District heating systems using cutting-edge technologies were designed and introduced in the 1980s (with constant breakthroughs since then)-- with automatic control, remote monitoring, and unmanned operations.

District heating explained

A typical district heating installation consists of a highly insulated "heat main" of flow and return pipes past all buildings (housing, commercial, business, and municipal buildings) which are connected. A junction point allows easy connection to each building, from which hot water, steam, or gas, can be taken from the main to a heat exchanger within each building. The heating circuit within the building is thus isolated from the heat main. Temperature measurements of the flow and return lines, plus a flow meter (together forming a heat meter), allow the actual heat usage within each building, or even each apartment, to be separately measured, delivered, and billed for accordingly. Remote meter reading, by a modern, secure web interface, or a drive-by, are both usually possible. Most DH systems today use remote diagnostics to ensure reliable operation.

For any modern city with a dense population, a district heating supply offers the most significant contribution to ensuring energy efficiency that's readily available (as discussed in this UN Environment article). District heating is used in many large and small cities across Europe, but needs to be used more in major cities throughout the world.

Please also see: Improving Energy Efficiency


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