The Ultimate Guide to Heat Interface Units (HIUs)

June 14, 2019


Heat Interface Units play a vital role in decentralised energy. They help improve energy efficiency and allow for more accurate energy control and billing for any energy used.

This article delves into everything you need to know about heat interface units and the benefits they provide multi-dwelling locations.

If you want to learn more about heat interface units, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Therma-Mech. Our expert team are on hand to help you leverage this innovative technology and make use of all the financial and environmental benefits they offer.

What is a Heat Interface Unit?

Heat Interface Units, also simply referred to as HIUs, provide central heating and hot water to individual rooms and dwellings within larger buildings, (for example, a block of flats). This gives individual residents and occupants better control over their heating and helps them receive more accurate billing.

HIUs deliver and record energy used for each individual dwelling or space.

Rather than every flat or space having an individual boiler, HIUs improve efficiencies by acting as a bridge between a central boiler system and each separate space. This replaces the need for each dwelling to have an individual boiler and helps benefit from generating energy in a shared location, instead of on an individual basis.

HIUs can be used in a variety of settings but are most likely to be seen in flats, public buildings, new building developments, and office blocks that are separated internally. This allows for more precise heat control within each area.

HIUs heat a space by transferring energy from the central system to the individual system.

HIUs are used within district heating systems, leveraging a network of heat distribution from a central energy generation plant.

HIUs usually come as either heating only, or heating and hot water capabilities. They can be installed both inside dwellings or outside a dwelling. Installing HIUs outside a dwelling can help landlords monitor energy consumption and carry out maintenance work without disturbing individual residents.

Heat Interface Units usually consist of:

  • Heat Exchanger
  • Pipework
  • Valves
  • Meters

Benefits of Heat Interface Units

The use of HIUs helps provide more accurate readings of energy use for individual users. This is particularly important for those in flats or social housing, where it has historically been quite hard to accurately measure energy consumption for each resident.

Residents would often use different amounts of energy and heat compared to their neighbours yet still get charged the same. This created frustration and a lack of responsibility to be energy efficient from individual users, as they weren’t benefitting from reduced energy consumption.

HIUs helps provide a clear measurement of energy use so each household can be billed appropriately.

HIUs also provide on-demand heating, removing the need for storage tanks and slower heating methods. Residents can benefit from fast heating, both for central heating and water.

There is also less ongoing maintenance requirements for individual dwellings, helping leverage economies of scale for any repair work.

Arguably the biggest advantage of HIUs reflects the wider advantage of district heating in which energy is generated and delivered in a much more energy efficient way. This carries with it all the environmental benefits of reduced carbon emissions and waste.

By improving the efficiency of energy consumption, HIUs and district heating offer a simple solution for a greener tomorrow.

District heating is not only more energy efficient, but it can leverage green and renewable energy much easier. On a local scale, energy generation plants can leverage a variety of sources, including renewables, resulting in cleaner emissions. Energy generation can also be adapted to local environments, e.g. leverage wind energy in windy areas, or solar energy in sunny locations.

Insulated pipework deliveries heat to individual homes, dwelling, or buildings, from a central location. This pipework helps provide the amount of energy required for each user.

The bigger the project, the bigger the potential benefits of HIUs and district heating. The more dwellings that are connected to the system, the more individual boilers are replaced and the system can leverage bigger heat generated techniques.

Districting heating does come with a bigger initial outlay in costs, but this is soon recovered due to the efficiencies over time.

Learn More with Therma-Mech

The effectiveness of district heating and HIUs largely depends on the design and installation of such systems. Failing to follow good design practice may lead to fewer benefits of the systems compared to alternative options.

Careful consideration in how energy is delivered to each space, and prioritising ongoing maintenance and checks, ensures the system creates the plethora of benefits it promises.

This is where our team here at Therma-Mech can help. We provide Mechanical and Electrical services on projects across the UK, specialising in District Heating, and regularly working in the Education, Residential, Commercial and Retail sectors. We can discuss your project and requirements and help offer the knowledge, expertise and professionalism you need to turn ideas into reality.

Our experience and knowledge of mechanical and electrical services mean we can ensure you get the most out of heat interface units, as well as district heating and other solutions.

From installation to servicing and maintenance, our friendly team are here to support you and your requirements.

Simply get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help.