March 4, 2019
Districting heating is a centralised heating system that uses insulated pipes to distribute heat to various locations within a network.
As dedicated specialists in district heating and a trusted partner to our clients and main contractors, our team here at Therma-Mech regularly provide high-quality above and below ground solutions on projects where our expertise and level of workmanship makes the difference. For information about how we can help, simply get in touch with us today.
This blog highlights what district heating is and everything you need to know about this innovative type of heating.
District heating, sometimes referred to as heat networks, is a type of heating system. It works by having a centralised location whereby heat is generated. This heat is then subsequently distributed to different locations/buildings within a network via insulated pipes in the ground.
The concept is simple. Instead of lots of individual homes or locations all having individual heating, everyone can benefit by using one larger system that provides heat for all the different locations.
In essence, districting heating is about economies of scale. Everyone can save energy and money by acquiring heat from a larger, central system.
By being connected to the network, heat is shared and used efficiently and only as required. Networks can vary in size and complexity, but the principles remain the same.
This can be utilised for residential buildings, commercial units and offices as well as public buildings such as schools, hospitals or libraries.
The concept of distributing centralised heat has been used for hundreds of years in some ways or another. However, it’s only recently that using this method has been used to support energy efficiency, helping reduce carbon usage and costs.
In the UK, there are over 17,000 district heating systems set up, illustrating the recent popularity in such schemes.
A Districting heating system is relatively simple. It requires 4 core elements:
An energy centre is where the heat is generated for district heating. Depending on the requirements and complexity of the network, the energy centre will require different specifications.
Here at Therma-Mech, we design and install energy centres for district heating, creating heat at a centralised location and distributing it to the desired locations.
These energy centres help achieve exceptional environmental ratings.
Insulated pipes are really important for district heating. The last thing you want is for heat to escape to the surrounding ground while being distributed around the network.
The pipe network needs to be designed in a way that promotes efficiency and reduces the risk of issues and problems arising.
Pipes tend to be either steel or plastic.
The heat exchanger is where the heat leaves the network pipes and enters individual homes/buildings. Heat is then transferred to the necessary areas within each location/building (e.g. radiators, taps, etc.).
For domestic use, each property would have a heat meter. This ensures energy usage can be tracked and monitored for each property to ensure they are billed appropriately.
For residential schemes, ensuring people are only paying for what they use is important. For private networks whereby there is one owner of multiple buildings, there may not be a need for billing/tracking energy use for each building.
District heating offers an array of benefits, including:
The potential drawbacks of district heating lie in the need for insulated underground pipes. These pipes must be properly insulated and designed effectively to ensure heat isn’t lost during this distribution from the central location to individual destinations.
As long as the system is designed and installed correctly, this potential loss of heat should never occur. But this does highlight the need and importance for district heating to be carried out by professionals and accredited teams who understand the various elements of the system involved. Incorrect installation or poor system design could lead to inefficiencies with this type of heating.
Here at Therma-Mech, we specialise in district heating projects. Our skilled and accomplished team deliver M&E projects across the UK, with experience in a wide range of complex projects that span over many different industries.
If you’d like to learn more about district heating and how we can help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your current heating requirements or looking to expand, our team can walk you through the whole process and ensure you feel happy with district heating and a plan moving forward.