Improvements to heat networks ‘could save UK £30bn’

The UK could save up to £30 billion by implementing eight new route maps in district heating networks (DHN). That’s the findings of a new report, which has mapped eight […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The UK could save up to £30 billion by implementing eight new route maps in district heating networks (DHN).

That’s the findings of a new report, which has mapped eight innovative solutions that could see cost reductions of up to 40%.

DHNs supply heating and hot water to homes and businesses and have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions and deliver cost benefits using low carbon heat, waste heat from power stations and large scale heat pump deployment as well as reduce reliance on imported gas.

According to the report commissioned by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and led by AECOM in partnership with Total Flow, close to half of the UK’s existing heat demand could be connected to heat networks “in an economical manner”, however only 2% of buildings are currently connected.

The new route maps include establishing a District Heating Knowledge Centre to co-ordinate research, training and encouragement of innovation, adopting alternative routes, either on the external wall of buildings or within loft spaces or cellars and providing contractors with more accurate survey and design information prior to work on site.

The funding required to take the route maps through to commercialisation, excluding industry contributions, has been estimated to be around £10 million over four years.

Nicholas Eraut, ETI Project Manager at Energy Storage & Distribution said: “Effective heat networks are already deployed in many regions of the world and deliver large quantities of heat, particularly to areas of high demand.

“However, at present only 2% of UK buildings are connected to district heat networks and the high initial capital investment and long timescales for installation are key barriers to the wider scale deployment of district heat networks… We believe that whilst industry can fund many of the activities required, central government is best placed to support the route maps in areas where commercial investment is likely.”