District Energy holds a vast potential for energy efficiency in urban areas. This White Paper highlights the key elements for success in district heating and cooling. It covers aspects from regulation and planning, efficient production of thermal energy, to storage, distribution and end user solutions.
District energy is how value is created by supplying heating & cooling collectively instead of individually. Heat (or chilling) that has no – or very little – value in one place, becomes highly valuable by being transported to a place where it is needed. District energy is the system that takes care of this value creation. Heated or chilled water is used as a means of transportation. So in its simplicity, district energy is about moving water, with a valuable temperature, from the place of production to the place of consumption. The efficiency of the system is created in all three parts; creating heated or chilled water, avoiding heat loss in the distribution as well as effective connection and use on the consumer side.
District energy is feasible many places where there is a great need for heating or cooling, e.g. in industrial zones or densely populated areas. A big part of the initial investment in district energy is creating the infrastructure by laying pipes in the ground. Using high quality pre-insulated pipes ensures that this investment will last for decades and over time become a minor part of the total cost of running the district energy system. Proper installation, metering and heat regulation at the consumer end leads to hassle-free use and payment as well as a highly improved indoor climate for the consumer.
About this White Paper
This White Paper draws on competences built up through more than 100 years of experience with district energy in Denmark and around the world. It highlights some of the main learnings to consider when wanting to expand the use of district energy, such as the system, regulatory framework, planning, efficiency and flexibility of energy source, storage and future perspectives, by including relevant cases from around the world. Since a majority of the technology for district heating and district cooling is the same, we have chosen to predominantly use the term district heating, but similar solutions can easily be applied to district cooling instead.