Heat Networks

Reducing carbon emissions, at scale, through deployment of low carbon heat networks

Communities of scales and types from residential areas and commercial or industrial site estates through to whole towns and cities present a major challenge for decarbonisation. Heat and increasingly cooling energy demands are a key element of this. Community-scale heat and cooling networks offer the opportunity to reduce carbon emissions at scale, using proven engineering and delivery solutions. They also provide flexibility to enable the integration of new energy supply technologies over time.

What does district heating and cooling offer?

  • Reduction of carbon emissions at scale
  • Localisation of energy supply which can de-link costs from global markets, improves security of supply, and, provide the basis for a local or muncipal energy businesses
  • More efficient use of energy resources
  • Cost-effective solutions for both existing and new-build development
  • Reduced building-level maintenance and repair

In any specific location, various solutions will be possible from the most complex ‘5th generation’ solutions balancing multiple heat, cooling and power sources, to more conventional approaches based around large heat sources such Energy from Waste or centralised Heat Pumps. Other supply technologies such as Solar Thermal, Biomass and Waste Heat Recovery (e.g. data centres and industrial/commercial facilities) sites are also relevant.

heat recovery system schematic

Transition to a low carbon future

Needing to tackle major cost and security challenges alongside the challenge of climate change, the UK is at an inflection point for energy supply. The transition of heat supply will be a critical focus as we move from a fossil-fuel heating economy.

3% of heat is currently supplied by heat networks and this is anticipated to grow to circa 18% by 2050. This requires the emergence of new supply chains, activation of local actors – especially local authorities – combined with new regulation. Learning from countries that have achieved these levels of integration will be important.

District heating or heat networks are a key solution in urban areas in many countries around the world. The Nordic region has led the way for decades and have evolved many city-scale systems whilst increasing the use of renewable and waste heat. In Sweden circa 70% of primary energy used in district heating networks is renewable and in Finland approximately half of the population live in buildings with district heating, delivering annual carbon savings of over 8 million tons.

Bringing together UK and Nordic insight and expertise

As part of Granlund Group, one of the leading Finnish energy consultants and MEP design companies, Greenfield Nordic draws directly from the Nordic energy marketplace. Combined with our extensive knowledge of the UK delivery strategies, emerging regulation and funding solutions, we offer a comprehensive package of advisory support.

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