Will the DH market contribute to the building decarbonisation?

District heating systems can increase resilience and energy access thanks to their ability to improve the management of electricity demand, reduce the risk of network overloading and adapting to the fossil fuel prices variability obtaining a cost-effective building decarbonization solution for all stakeholders.

1. Public Sector support

Public sector is developing its own environment strategy, based on the District Energy (DC & DH) support, because it could play an important role in the cities objectives to deliver clean, secure and cost effective heating. 

2. Combination of Cooling & Heating strategy

When this situation occurs, they sum the cooling and heating production energy using the same electrical energy absorbed, resulting in a very efficient system with a COP way higher than any cooling or heating system. 

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3. Energy grid coupling

The optimal way to operate a DH network will be employing an energetic mix that allows obtaining lower energetic costs depending on the yearly or daily electricity cost. The best way to promote decarbonisation strategy will imply the increase of the weight of renewables energies in the total mix.


4. Digital technologies

The target of a District Heating plant is to reduce the client’s heating costs with a large centralized plant that provides a better performance than small individual ones. Collect, save, sort and analyze data represents a complex process that has to be developed in a fast and efficient way in order to provide valuable information to the District Heating plant management team.

5. Large centralized & decentralized systems combination

All District Heating networks need to be considered as singular projects depending on several factors that could affect to the project viability:

  • Local heat sources availability close to the network
  • Electricity cost and renewable energies
  • Public and private involvement and access to funds
  • Local or country environmental regulation
  • Network future potential extension and modifications

6. Thermal Energy Storage (TES) integration

Another way to promote energy savings will be reducing the heating production size combining Thermal Energy Storage (TES) in the DH network. “The best energy is the energy that is never used”. Several studies reinforce the idea that a TES installed in a network will reduce up to 60% the District Heating total size. TES technologies will directly reduce the CO2 footprint and electrical demand from the grid too. 

Reducing emissions in the energy sector is essential for climate change mitigation and for meeting emission objectives. District heating has a potential to contribute to the operation of future low-carbon energy systems and building decarbonization with a large share of renewable energy sources due to its flexibility to integrate different energy sources and more efficient use of resources maximizing the benefits of cogeneration and the economy of scale. There are different strategies & trends in which district heating can contribute to the overall process of the worldwide transition energy market. 

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For more information on this topic and the district heating market:ARANER district energy experts 

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