District heating, also known as a heat network, is a distribution system of insulated pipes that takes heat from a central source and delivers it to a number of domestic or non-domestic properties.
In Scotland district heating networks only provide around one per cent of Scotland’s total heat demands. Compare that to Denmark where they provide heat to 63 per cent of Danish households, and Finland where it accounts for 50 per cent of Finland’s total heating market, and it is clear there is room for improvement.
As Heat Networks can be run from renewable sources or waste heat sources, they have the ability to reduce emissions and thus help Scotland to reach its climate change targets.
So why do we not see housebuilders embracing these systems?
There are two key factors restricting their use: the significant capital cost required up front, and the lack of regulation which has made them unpopular with consumers and investors.
The Scottish Government is the first within the UK to take steps to address the current concerns with district heating by publishing the Heat Networks Bill.