There are a range of benefits to using district heating networks, which first became apparent back in the 1970s when a fuel crisis hit some European countries that were heavily reliant on oil. The energy crisis was a wake up call for many countries when oil prices almost quadrupled, forcing homes to have no heating and businesses to be operating on reduced hours through the winter of 1973.
Countries like Denmark now have over 60% of their properties supplied via district heating networks to reduce costs, lower Co2 emissions and reduce the reliance on fossil fuels.
In a CHP (combined heat and power) station the heat released during electricity generation is captured and used to heat homes and offices, making CHP power stations between 70-90% efficient. Waste heat from other sources in a town can also be harnessed to further improve the efficiency of the district heating network.
As a result of the cost savings in energy prices for consumers, combined with reduced Co2 emissions, the UK government is now trying to increase the number of households connected to district heating network with funding available for local councils to conducts feasibility studies and installations.
A number of UK local councils are now realising the benefits, both from a resident perspective by way of lower energy costs, and also the benefits to businesses that can save considerably by relocating to premises supplied by district heating.