District heating networks have the potential to drastically reduce energy usage, so investment by governments has been steadily increasing in recent years.
Sometimes referred to as ‘central heating for cities’, these networks link homes and offices to a single heat source, which eliminates the need for individual boilers and can make for much more efficient domestic and commercial heating systems.
In the below video from 361 Consulting, Design Consultant Iain Kyle talks about his experience with district heating schemes and the unique challenges they bring. Rules and guidance are updated all the time, so keeping up to date is essential.
Behind the Scenes
For the customer, operation of the heating system is simple. An interface unit is the only piece of equipment they’re likely to see and the only real difference is in how energy usage is broken down on their bill. Behind the scenes, however, designers come up with intricate strategies to centralise plant and help building owners make the most of their investment.
“While there is a big capital investment, your overall running costs, your efficiencies and your diversities all reduce, meaning you’re a lower energy user,” says Iain.
District heating systems often evolve throughout the design process, as plans for the buildings themselves change. This was certainly the case for the largest network Iain has worked on to date, as he explains in the video.