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IEA DHC Executive Committee Publishes District Heating Network Generation Definitions

By District Energy posted 02-15-2024 09:04




District heating (DH) generations provide a classification for DH systems that has been widely discussed in various papers [1,2,3,4]. In general, a later generation of DH makes it easier to integrate renewable energies, reduce network losses and decrease the carbon footprint of district heating. However, it is key to note that a later generation is not necessarily better than a previous one in terms of contributing to the mitigation of climate change. 

To find the best configuration of a district heating network for a specific case, a thorough multi-criterial analysis is required. Relevant criteria for selecting DH in regard to minimizing the contribution to climate change can be greenhouse gas emissions, resource exergy consumption [5] and life-cycle costs.

In this short document, the IEA DHC Executive Committee (IEA DHC ExCo), which at the time of writing represents seventeen nations [6], provides a simplified definition of the different generations of district heating networks as of 2024. These definitions can be used if scientific definitions such as in [2] cannot be applied based on the available data.

Read the Report