District heating ‘wasting millions by skimping on insulation’

The developers and operators of district heating projects are wasting millions of pounds by skimping on pipe insulation. That’s according to a manufacturer of pre-insulated pipe systems, CPV, which said the […]

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The developers and operators of district heating projects are wasting millions of pounds by skimping on pipe insulation.

That’s according to a manufacturer of pre-insulated pipe systems, CPV, which said the standard for pipe insulation – the EN 253 – allows for three different thicknesses of foam.

However most developers are going for the cheapest, thinnest foam to cut costs, claimed the firm. It said this was short sighted as going for the thicker foam could make huge savings in the long run.

Mark Whettall, Managing Director of CPV said: “Many are ignoring the opportunity to reduce heat losses and thereby missing out on significant financial and environmental benefits throughout a system’s operational life.”

The firm gave the example of a 5km long network, pumping water down 150mm pre-insulated steel pipes at 100 degrees centigrade, heated by a gas-fired boiler. It said in such a scenario the network would waste the equivalent £3.65 million of gas over a 30-year life.

CPV claimed spending an extra £40,000 on the mid-thickness foam would cut that figure by £1.2 million and reduce CO2 emissions by more than 5,000 tonnes as well.

Mr Whettall added:  “It’s also worth noting that the operators of the systems are not losing just the cost of the fuel but the cost of the heat sale if it’s a commercially-based utility, so the savings figure of £1.2million will rise significantly. I’d expect this to at least be doubled to around £2.4million.”