Hotting up: are heat networks about to take off in the UK?

By District Energy posted 05-24-2019 00:00

  

Isabella Kaminski, Engineering & Technology

Summary

Eighty per cent of space and water heating in UK homes is provided by standard boilers, while in Europe heat networks have proved far more efficient, Is the UK now ready to embrace this system to provide greener heating?

You might obsess about turning the lights off but, the truth is, electricity only makes up a tiny part of your carbon footprint. In fact, around 80 per cent of UK home energy use comes from heating space and water, and most of that is generated by individual gas boilers sitting in dusty cupboards. While that’s clearly an improvement on burning coal, it’s still a fairly inefficient system, dependent on fossil fuels, that needs to be tackled to cut the nation’s carbon footprint.

The UK’s heat sector accounts for about a fifth of national CO2 emissions, and the government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change has been highly critical of efforts to decarbonise it. In a recent report it recommends that new homes should not be connected to the gas grid from 2025. Instead, it says, they should be built on systems such as heat networks, where a group of buildings are linked to a central energy source through underground pipes.

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