Download

For a world in energy crisis, it is a sobering thought that 60% of all energy used in power production is lost. It is among the most wasteful industrial processes in existence – yet a simple solution is at hand.

Power plants run at an efficiency of 40%. However, this can be raised to 90% through the implementation of a District Energy system.

skyscrapers

A staggering 60% of the fuel used in power plants is wasted, lost as heat to the atmosphere. District Heating lets us reuse this energy effectively.

Read more
  • Economics of necessity

    It’s the story of our time – energy and the economy. Since the industrial revolution, economic development has been fundamentally dependent on fossil fuel. Yet the finite nature of these fuels, combined with the environmental threat they pose, means continued growth depends on reforming our energy system – quickly.

    Finding clean, sustainable sources of energy is of course central to reducing dependency on fossil fuel, and huge strides have been made in making renewable power more competitive. However, less well known is the fact that our existing energy infrastructure is needlessly inefficient and that there is enormous potential for gaining energy through recovery and recycling initiatives.

    Indeed, the adoption of renewable energy is meaningless unless accompanied by a wide-ranging improvement in energy efficiency. In other words, there’s little point in generating more sustainable energy if we continue to use that energy in an unsustainable way.

  • Broken pipe

    Recall the chilling pictures from 2010 of BP’s ruptured deep-water well pouring millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a fitting metaphor for power production. For every 100 mega-watts (MW) of electricity generated, 200 MW (enough to power 20,000 homes) pours out as waste. As industrial processes go, few are more inefficient. This wastage was accepted when fossil fuel was cheap and plentiful (and global warming relatively unknown). Today the situation couldn’t be more different or the need for change more urgent.

    Not much can be done to make power conversion itself more efficient. However, what can and must happen is to recover the energy (lost as heat) in this process and reuse it for other purposes.

  • Recycled energy

    Recycling heat in this way is the basic principle behind District Heating (or District Energy), a system for centrally supplying residential and commercial heating. The concept is to capture waste energy from power production and use it to heat water, which is then distributed via underground pipes to homes and buildings for heating purposes. The system can be used for cooling too by using recovered energy to power air-conditioning systems.

    The brilliance of the system is that it requires no “new” energy (fuel) to be used. Heating (and cooling) is provided simply by reusing energy that’s already in circulation – and often wasted.

  • Fuel plurality

    The engineering behind District Energy is remarkably simple and stable, making it highly flexible in terms of both scalability and compatibility with fuel sources. In fact District Energy networks can tap directly into renewable power sources such as wind turbines or biomass plants. In this way, it’s possible to provide heating and cooling for thousands of people using only renewable and recycled energy.

  • Carbon targets

    Recycling heat, through District Energy networks, opens the way to massively reducing carbon emissions, particularly in urban centres, where heat demand is most intense. These reductions are achieved without limiting economic and industrial output or endangering living standards. On the contrary, District Energy is widely used in some of Europe’s most advanced economies, where productivity and high living standards go hand in hand with real carbon savings: District Energy lets Copenhagen save 665,000 tons of CO2 annually, while Helsinki saves 1.5m tons per year.

    Reassuringly District Energy is able to deliver these benefits here and now. It is a proven, practical approach to controlled decarbonisation and meeting international pledges on emissions control.

  • Ecopolis

    By 2030 60% of the world’s population will live in cities; cities that consume 75% of the world’s energy. District Heating has a vital role to play in meeting that demand, while enabling the creation of ever more sustainable urban centres. Europe has an opportunity to lead the world in demonstrating that vibrant, prosperous cities are compatible with environmental preservation. The vision of an Ecopolis – a carbon-neutral thriving cosmopole – is within our grasp if we dare to reach for it.



map
Surplus energy
Renewable energy

Urban leaders are embracing a new vision for supplying energy to their cities, one that combines local renewables, cogeneration plants and district energy in one low-carbon network.

  • The Value Chain

    The basic principles behind District Energy are remarkably simple. At one end of the network is an energy source (often a multi-fuel CHP plant). Heat is then distributed via a network of insulated pipes to buildings. Here, the heat is redistributed via substations and controls throughout a building’s HVAC systems.

    the_value_chain
  • Scalability

    A District Energy network is extremely flexible and can be used to connect as few as 30-40 houses. This allows cities to grow an existing network as funding, planning and other opportunities become available. As a multi-fuel system, District Energy supports virtually all energy sources, making it future-proof to changes in the fuel mix and energy infrastructure of a city.

    scalability
  • Application

    At the end-user level, individual buildings are connected to the District Heating network. A substation and heat exchangers efficiently transfer hot water for room heating and domestic hot water (DHW) purposes into a building’s HVAC and DHW systems.

    application
  • Pipes

    Once generated, heat is distributed (as water or steam) to commercial and residential buildings via a network of pre-insulated pipes, consisting of supply and return lines. The pipes are generally installed underground, although overground pipes do exist. Heat storage systems can be integrated into the network to even out peak-load demands.

    pipes

District Energy isn’t a new idea, but it’s found new relevance in a world seeking practical solutions to decarbonisation. The latest generation of District Energy infrastructure (4G) enables city planners to vastly improve energy efficiency while creating a viable channel for accessing renewable sources. Safe, sustainable, scalable – District Energy is an essential component in achieving real carbon savings today.

District Energy (also known as District Heating and Cooling) is an extremely efficient, low-cost, low-maintenance system for heating residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Its greatest attribute, however, is that is also provides an effective solution to help address global concerns in regard to fuel shortages, rising fuel costs and the growing impact of our energy demand on the environment.

  • Flexible, Economic and safe

    A single District Energy network is able to provide heat to numerous end- users at the same time and even has the potential of storing energy through thermal storage facilities. One of the system’s greatest advantages is that it makes ingenious use of heat that is generated industrially – often in huge amounts – but is otherwise wasted. For example, a typical power plant may easily waste over 60% of the excess heat generated by its produc- tion process. When coupled with District Heating and Cooling, this energy can be harnessed and fed back into the heating network (a process known as “cogeneration”).

    District Energy is also extremely flexible, especially in terms of which fuel/energy sources it can use – and how many. New heating sources can be easily added without disabling the system or disturbing consumers – far more efficient than the current method of having to change individual heat- ing units in separate buildings as new technology comes onto the market. Because District Heating pipes have a longer life than a generating plant, networks can be put in place based on whichever heat supply technology is most economically, or politically, appropriate. With technology moving at a rapid pace, this also provides a simple framework to introduce new energy sources that may become available in the future.

    By their nature, District Energy systems also offer a safer alternative to conventional heating systems. Unlike central heating boilers, there is no need for a naked flame within the home, which means less risk of accidental fires. Also, the system does not require an individual gas supply, which can lead to dangerous gas leaks. Additionally, all high pressures and temperatures are confined to a central plant and network, shielding consumers from related risks.

  • Leading the charge

    As the financial, environmental and political costs of fossil fuels increase, District Energy allows a smooth development towards greener alternatives. In fact, this technology has already been adopted in some countries across Europe, where as many as half the homes are connected to a District Energy network. In certain European cities the proportion is even higher. In Helsinki and Copenhagen, for example, nearly 90% of all buildings benefit from District Energy, accounting for 49% and 60% of their heat supply respectively. In Sweden, 270 municipalities currently use the system, representing 50 TWh/year of energy consumption. Further afield, in Moscow, District Energy installations account for 66,000 GWh/year of energy use.

  • Now is the time

    There is hard evidence that District Energy is both economically and environmentally advantageous – and with CO2 emissions set to increase by 50% in the next 30 years, the time to act is now. It is estimated that if the current share of District Energy in the EU were to double, the following results would be achieved:

    • Lower import dependency of 4.5 EJ – or the equivalent of Poland’s entire energy supply
    • Energy efficiencies leading to a reduction of 2.1 EJ – or as much energy as Sweden uses in a year
    • Reduction of 400 million tonnes of CO2 per year – the amount that France produces from fuel combustion every year

    This technology can help lead the way towards a more eco-friendly society where the increased demand for energy is fulfilled by actually using fewer energy sources. Of course, implementation of District Energy requires a sustained political push, but the rewards are clear; “doing more with less” is not only the title of the EU Commission’s paper on energy efficiency it is a very realistic option.

District Energy Documentary Film

The swedish model

  • Since 1990, CO2 emissions from Swedish District Energy systems have been reduced by 60%; three times the targets mandated by the EU.

  • Dependence on fossil fuels for District Energy has been reduced from 80% to 3%

  • The Swedish Government estimates that the EU as a whole could meet its commitments to CO2 reduction simply by doubling the number of District Energy installations

Hot facts

  • In a District Heating system, heat energy that would otherwise be wasted is captured, stored and distributed to commercial, industrial and residential buildings through a network of insulated pipes as hot water or steam.

    The latest generation of District Heating technology makes use of a wide variety of energy resources, which typically include:

  • Boilers using conventional or renewable fuels such as biomass

  • Waste heat from industrial processes

  • Heat from power generation such as a Combined Heat and Power plant

  • Energy generated from municipal waste incineration

  • Natural heat sources such as solar, geothermal or wind

Cities are home to 80% of the EU’s population and are responsible for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions. They are at once the source of the problem and the solution. Fortunately, as more and more local authorities embrace their right and responsibility to take ownership of their energy futures, they are also an increasingly vibrant hotbed of vision and leadership.

District Heating not only offers excellent opportunities for re- ducing environmental pollution, but also for achieving the goal of saving energy. It is an extremely flexible technology which can make use of any fuel including the utilisation of waste energy, renewables and, most significantly, the application of combined heat and power (CHP). International Energy Agency

The inherently global nature of our climate and energy challenges has quite naturally led to a focus on resolving the problem via high-level international governance. Yet, while a meaningful global consensus remains a distant prospect, a new narrative, with a much more local flavour, has begun to emerge. It is increasingly clear that practical action on climate change will take place not in the conference rooms of the United Nations but rather in the cities where so many of us live and work. The concept of thinking globally and acting locally has never been more relevant.

Cities and counties looking for ways to cut energy use and save energy dollars can choose from a dizzying variety of alternatives. However, separate initiatives while important are not as effective as a comprehensive and integrated program. US Department of Energy
Read more
Cities are key to the EU’s objectives of 20% energy savings by 2020 and to developing a low-carbon economy by 2050, because 70% of the EU’s energy consumption takes place in cities. EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger
  • Planning For Success

    Sustainable cities do not just happen. They are the result of a thoughtful and coherent approach to urban development in which key elements of infrastructure such as energy, transport, buildings, water and waste management are considered not in isolation but rather as connected parts of a whole.

    Such a concerted approach requires hands-on leadership from local authorities with a commitment to making their city a cleaner, more environmentally friendly and more pleasant place to live. Most of all, it requires a plan.

  • Green District –District Energy

    District Heating and Cooling networks are an ideal fit in the heart of a green city or district. In dense urban environments, where heat demand is inevitably highest, they are the ideal means of exploiting locally available streams of renewable energy and surplus heat supply for a useful purpose. Such systems generate significant, provable reductions in primary energy consumption, cut CO2 emissions, and reduce the city’s reliance on energy imported from other countries or regions, all while providing citizens with the standard of comfort and reliability they expect.

Hot facts

  • Currently, over half of the primary energy in many countries may be lost as waste heat on its way to the customer. At current oil prices, this amounts to over €1,000 lost per citizen.

  • By 2020 the EU aims to reduce energy usage across Europe by 20% while at the same time boosting renewable energy to 20%

  • District Heating is able to capture the major part of surplus heat from power generation, allowing plants to reach efficiency rates of 90%.

  • Europe’s District Energy industry is already exporting its expertise around the world, especially to high-growth markets.

Leading thinkers from the world of politics, business, academia and activism cast their view on the forces shaping sustainable cities and the role District Heating can play.

image
Gerard Magnin,
Executive Director of Energy Cities

A city planning view

“District Heating allows a more efficient use of local resources – ranging from wasted heat to local renewables, as well as cogeneration. This helps local authorities to keep the energy money at home while providing a safer and cleaner environment for their citizens, allowing a higher quality of life for all.”

Read more
image
Pekka Sauri,
Deputy Mayor of Helsinki

A municipal view

“In Helsinki 93% of our dwellings are connected to District Heating – because this is the cheapest option. We use our waste and waste water to heat our city while also protecting the environment.”

Read more
image
Katja Gieseking,
Head of Sales,Stadtwerke München

A utility view

“By relying on District Heating rather than heating oil, we avoid 1.1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, an amount equivalent to that generated by all the cars in Munich!”

Read more
image
Niels B. Christiansen,
Chief Executive Officer, Danfoss

A commercial view

“Energy efficiency is a powerful solution in the short term, but it will also need to be part of a long-term strategy, simply because the demand for energy will rise substantially in the coming years. So although renewables will be more and more important as we progress into a carbon-free society, energy savings will always be an integral element in a green economy.”

Read more
image
Dr. Sven Werner,
Professor of Energy Technology at Halmstad Uni.
There’s a gap between perception and reality.

An academic view

“Most people think of energy efficiency as expensive and difficult. In reality, solutions can be simple and rather low cost. There are two dimensions to the challenge: one is the need to reduce CO2 through greater use of renewables, the other higher energy efficiency. District Heating can solve both these issues in urban areas.”

Read more
image
Britta Thomsen,
Member of the European Parliament
I heat my house with my kitchen waste.

A european view

“It is very important that Europe imports less energy to save money. Since energy is becoming both scarce and expensive, greater energy efficiency must be a priority and we are pushing for a strong, meaningful Energy Efficiency Directive. District Heating has a role to play in terms of improving efficiency and integrating renewable.”

Read more
image
Sabine Froening,
Former Managing Director of Euroheat and Power
€ 500 billion goes out of the chimney every year (in Europe).

A trade body view

“If you look at the European energy balance, about half of the primary energy going into the system is lost on its way to the end-user – mostly in the form of waste heat. The economic value of this (wasted) heat is close to €500 billion. By recovering some of that potential, there are huge economic gains to be made.”

Read more

The European Gree Capital Award rewards the efforts made by European cities to combat environmental issues. When compared back to back, it quickly becomes apparent that District Energy has played a central role in each winning city’s approach to sustainability.

intro
  • 2010 Stockholm

    Stockholm was a worthy first EGCA winner and has an unusually low carbon footprint for its size and 800,000-strong population. An increased market share for District Energy and changes in District Heating production have been the greatest contributors to greenhouse gas emission reductions.

    Stockholm in numbers:

    • District Energy covers 80% of total heating needs
    • 80% of the network is heated by renewable sources
    • Greenhouse gases have been reduced by 593,000 tonnes since 1990
    • District Cooling reduces emissions by 50,000 tonnes annually
    • Sulphur dioxide emissions have decreased by 95% since the 1960s
    stockholm
  • 2011 Hamburg

    With a population of 1.8 million, Hamburg is the 10th largest city in Europe. Its “train of ideas” campaign helped earn it the award by showcasing ambitious plans for addressing environmental problems, including improvements to its already extensive District Heating network.

    Hamburg in numbers:

    • Hamburg aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020
    • Its District Energy network is 800 km long
    • The system provides 4 billion kWh of District Heating per year
    • 19% of all households are supplied by District Heating
    • 50,000 additional households will be connected by 2020
    hamburg
  • 2012 Vitoria-Gasteiz

    Vitoria-Gasteiz is a shining example of environmental initiative. Never resting on its laurels, the city plans to create an “inner greenbelt” by restoring a buried stream under a central avenue and implementing more eco-efficient technologies such as District Heating and solar energy.

    Vitoria-Gasteiz in numbers:

    • Vitoria-Gasteiz has 284 days a year with good air quality
    • New buildings must meet criteria to reduce energy by 40%
    • Renewable energy production to increase by 460 GWh/year
    • Solar panels deployed to heat water for housing and municipal facilities
    • Improved use of cogeneration systems and geothermal energy
    vitoria
  • 2013 Nantes

    Voted TIME Magazine’s “most liveable city in Europe” in 2004, Nantes is fully committed to the fight against global warming. Its Climate Plan, adopted in 2007, aims to cut greenhouse gas and make better use of renewable sources – supported largely by extending its two District Heating systems.

    Nantes in numbers:

    • Greenhouse gases to be reduced by 30% by 2020 and by 50% by 2025
    • District Heating network to be expanded from 38 km to 114 km
    • The new District Heating network will heat 50% of houses by 2017
    • The District Heating system will be 41% supplied by waste
    • 49.5% of social housing on the network will receive a lower heating bill
    nantes
  • 2014 Copenhagen

    The beautiful city of Copenhagen is known as being one of the most environmentally advanced in the world. Its District Heating system sets the global standard and is even today being constantly upgraded to minimise heat loss and make better use of renewable sources such as geothermal.

    Copenhagen in numbers:

    • More than 98% of heat demand is covered by District Heating
    • A network of 1,500 km provides heat for 500,000 inhabitants
    • The system generates 50% less CO2 emissions than individual oil boilers
    • 1/3 of the heat generated is from biomass and waste incineration
    • A Climate Plan outlines initiatives to further reduce CO2 by 20% by 2015
    copenhagen
I am optimistic that we will reach our goal that by 2025 all customers in the city will be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy. Hep Monatzeder, Deputy Mayor of Munich

Not only is Munich the financial centre of southern Germany and home to some of the country’s most beautiful architecture, it is also a shining example of how renewable energy can be used to power an entire city. Today, with a €9-billion investment programme in renewable energy, including 200 million on the extension of the District Heating network, Stadtwerke München, the municipal utility company, aims to supply every customer with renewable energy by 2025, reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 and become the first German city to have District Heating that relies solely on renewable sources by 2040.

image
  • Setting the standard

    Munich is one of the few cities in the world that has taken global warming by the horns, introducing many green initiatives over the last few decades to reduce waste and make better use of its energy infrastructure, including renewables. For example, Stadtwerke München generates enough renewable electricity to power the city’s metro, trams and 800,000 private households; residents are encouraged to use either bicycles or electric vehicles (solar powered recharging points are found in many car parks); housing developers must adhere to strict ecological criteria and old municipal buildings must be renovated to an energy efficiency standard that is 30% stricter than the German federal standard

    image
  • District Heating system to be proud of

    Adding to its list of environmental accolades, Munich also boasts one of the largest and most effective District Heating systems in Europe. The network uses over 800 km of insulated pipes to distribute environmentally friendly heat throughout the city, powered by 4 billion kWh of annual waste energy from Munich’s power plants. It’s a highly efficient system; to put it in perspective, generating the same amount of heat energy using oil-powered household heating systems would require 450 million litres of heating oil, which would release approximately 1.1 million tons of CO2 into the air, the same amount as is generated by all of Munich’s automobile traffic in a year! It also stacks up from a financial point of view. Stadtwerke München is so confident of its ability to meet its end-users’ energy and comfort needs at a competitive price that it will not impose any obligation to connect to the heat network, preferring instead to compete with more conventional heating alternatives such as oil and gas on its merits.

    One of Munich’s new environmental goals is to become the first large German city with a District Heating system powered completely by renewable energy. It is an ambitious project, with plans to supply an additional 140,000 apartments with heat and, at the same time, save 300,000 tonnes of CO2 that would have been generated by conventional heating methods. One way the city is hoping to turn this vision into reality is by making use of a previously untapped renewable energy source – geothermal.

  • Tapping tHe eartH’s energy

    Using naturally heated water for domestic or commercial purposes isn’t a new idea. More than 72 countries benefit from geothermal energy, Iceland being the world leader (93% of its homes are heated this way, saving over US$100 million annually in avoided oil imports). One great advan- tage of geothermal energy is that it can provide heat on a continuous basis and, if needed, also generate electricity in a similar way to a conventional heat and power cogeneration station. Fortunately for Munich, the city is ideally located in the Bavarian Molasse basin, a huge underground reservoir of hot water with temperatures rang- ing from 80 to 140 °C roughly 3,000 metres below the surface, making it perfectly positioned to make full use of geothermal energy. Recent surveys show that the city has the potential for 16 geothermic wells and as a typical geothermal station can supply about 45,000 MWh of heat a year, Munich’s quest for a fully sustainable District Heating system is clearly not just a pipe dream.

  • A solar solution

    Munich has also started using photo- voltaic technology as another energy source to feed its District Heating system. Here, solar energy is collected during summer months via solar roof panels and either stored in special hot-water storage units or used imme- diately for washing, cooking, etc. by local residents. During winter, the stored water is pumped to the flats, where it is used for everyday purposes or additionally for central heating. Unfortunately, photovoltaic technology is relatively expensive and so this process is not yet widely used. However, as cheaper technology becomes avail- able over time, solar energy is expected to provide a substantial contribution to Munich’s heating needs.

  • It can be done!

    Munich has come a long way in its vision to become a truly sustainable city. It has invested a considerable amount of time, effort and money in environmentally friendly initiatives such as its extemporary District Heat- ing system, and it continues to do so.

    The ecological benefits are clear, however, it is already apparent that many of these investments are paying for themselves through energy cost savings over the longer term. The local economy has also benefitted enormously, having capitalised on development opportunities, creating a pool of local expertise that is now in global demand and bringing competitive advantages for the city as an increasingly attractive place to do business. It also makes sense for the customer. Stadtwerke München does not plan to impose any obligation on end-users to connect to the DHC network. Instead, it will focus on providing the highest standards of comfort at a competitive price in order to convince end-users to choose District Energy on its merits. Thanks to its foresight, vision and commitment, Munich is one of the world’s best examples of initiative in action.

GETTING CHP STARTED

chp-started

It is estimated that District Heating can decrease Europe’s energy consumption by 7%, cut use of fossil fuels by 9% and reduce CO2 emissions by 13%, while still supplying the same energy output. Surveys also show that one quarter of Europe’s population lives in areas that have the potential to be supplied by District Energy, or whose existing systems can be expanded.

Despite these compelling benefits, District Energy struggles to get the attention and investment it needs to make these statistics a reality. This is often due to misconceptions about the cost and complexity of implementing a new heating infrastructure or a lack of understanding about the many advantages this unique heating concept offers.

Read more

Hot facts

  • District energy in figures

  • EU energy wastage: €500 billion annually

  • Doubling DHC EU penetration: 404 million tons CO2 annual saving

  • EU heating bill: €14 billion saved by 2050

  • Payback time: 2-3 years

  • Job creation over the next 35 years: 220,000 jobs

We’re not starting from scratch

  • Today, 60 million people in Europe have their homes heated by District Energy and approximately 57% of the population lives in regions that have at least one District Heating system. By expanding existing networks this highly efficient technology can help us become energy independent – and protect our fragile environment.

  • Market potential

    Market penetration for District Heating in the EU is uneven and currently represents only 9% of the total heat demand. This share is still relatively small compared to its competitors (such as natural gas), which means there is a vast potential for expansion.

  • Wasted opportunity

    Less than 50% of waste incinerated in waste-toenergy plants is recovered as electricity or heat. Better technology and more plants are needed, especially as almost 100 million tonnes of nonrecycled waste is deposited in landfills.

  • No easy task

    As with any large-scale engineering project, District Heating presents certain challenges. These include logistical and structural difficulties in linking networks with utility suppliers, power plants and other potential heat sources; developing an effective metering and tariff system; minimising disruption when laying down new infrastructure; and replacing individual boilers with compatible District Heating units.

    Fortunately, with District Heating there is a lot of real-world experience available that can help illustrate how these challenges can be addressed, managed or even turned into advantages. It is also important to view these challenges in the context of the alternatives: our heating infrastructure is old, inefficient and built around fossil fuels. District Energy provides a proven path to make better use of our existing energy sources, reuse ‘waste’ energy and bring new renewable sources into play, all of which adds up to sound financial and ecological sense on a nationwide scale.

  • Significant payback

    A look at the bigger picture helps to put this all in perspective. The EU wastes a staggering €500 billion of potentially usable energy each year, which is where District Energy makes a crucial difference. Over the longer term, District Heating systems are proven to be exceptionally cost-effective through a combination of reducing costly energy wastage and lowering the amount of expensive fuel the EU needs to import to make up for its energy deficit.

    By doing so, District Heating systems would quickly pay for themselves and go on to deliver significant returns for the economy as a whole. In fact, at current energy import prices the direct socioeconomic payback is thought to be as little as two to three years. It is estimated that District Heating has the potential to reduce the amount the EU spends on heating by as much as 11% by the year 2050. That represents a huge saving of €14 billion if fuel prices remain as forecasted in the Energy Roadmap 2050 report. Even more importantly, implementing District Heating will also transfer money from energy imports to investments in distribution pipelines, CHP plants, geothermal, solar thermal, industrial waste heat and waste incineration. Not only does this all translate into major benefits for the environment (doubling District Heating across 32 European countries could save 404 million tons of CO2 a year, according to the European Commission), but a huge amount of local industry would be generated in the process, creating an estimated 220,000 new jobs over the next 35 years.

  • Joined-up thinking

    At a more local level, District Heating networks have the unique capability to build upon existing infrastructure, utilising the mesh of pipes and cables that already lie underneath cities. Developers do not always take this into account, missing valuable opportunities to combine investment with integrated planning initiatives or utility upgrades, such as new phone lines, that would help share costs and limit disruption. From an investor’s perspective, this can mean significantly lower capital costs and, consequently, a much more attractive investment opportunity.

  • A scalable platform

    Local and national governments need to balance a huge range of competing issues when budgeting limited public funds. Yet energy planning, at both municipal and higher levels, is fundamental to the growth and security of any industrialised economy. One of the great advantages of District Energy is that it can make a strong impact at a local level; it does not require nationwide upheaval. Where possible, towns and communities can themselves elect a more efficient and sustainable way to heat homes and manage natural resources. In this way, it is possible to implement District Heating both democratically and progressively, growing the network to include new cities and regions as benefits and savings begin to take effect.

  • The time is now

    With fossil fuel costs rising and supplies diminishing, the need to update our energy infrastructure is an unavoidable and inevitable fact. We need systems that accommodate fuel plurality and especially the incorporation of renewable energy. We also need to stop the wastage by recovering and reusing existing energy, regardless of source.

    To help achieve this, District Heating systems are becoming more commercially competitive to generate momentum with local authorities, investors and the general public. This has been driven by a deeper understanding of the advantages District Energy can provide, which in turn has led to exploration of how implementation costs can be lowered (via government grants and more integrated planning schemes, for example), how the system can generate a better rate of return for investors and how the benefits can be communicated to end-users. In spite of the challenges that District Heating presents in its initial stages, it remains the best answer to many of the energy issues facing us today. Its expansion and development will not only help us achieve greater energy efficiency, but will also make us less dependent on expensive energy imports, more economically competitive and a world leader in the fight against climate change.

For nearly 80 years, Danfoss has been making modern living possible through Climate & Energy solutions that cover a diverse range of everyday applications. Now more than ever, Danfoss is using its innovation leadership and engineering skill to create systems – including District Heating – that not only deliver superior performance but also environmental compatibility.

The founder of Danfoss, Mads Clausen, was a visionary entrepreneur who showed a great respect for natural resources. His belief was simple: on the one hand, that energy could be used efficiently with minimal waste; on the other, that money saved today is the best foundation for investments in tomorrow’s energy saving technologies. And history has proved him right.

Today, Danfoss products are used at the core of literally thousands of applications, buildings and projects worldwide, where they silently make a vital difference to efficiency, performance and the environment. More specifically, our technologies help make comfort and modern convenience possible through: cooling and heating domestic and commercial buildings; preserving and transporting food; controlling speed in electric motors; automating industrial processes; controlling hydraulics for construction vehicles; and supporting the production of renewable energy – as well as countless other applications. All while maximising efficiency and performance and reducing energy use and CO2

Today, District Heating supplies 9-10% of the European heat demand and reduces CO2 emissions by 113 million tons per year. However, annual CO2 emissions would decrease by 517 million tons if the use of District Energy in Europe was doubled and the reliance on renewable energy increased. Sources: 1) DHC+ Technology Platform (2009): District Heating & Cooling: A vision towards 2020 - 2030 - 2050.
Read more
  • A legacy of innovation

    Originating in Scandinavia, Danfoss has come a long way from its humble beginnings; we now employ 24,000 dedicated professionals and have 125 sales companies and 76 factories operating worldwide. By driving innovation to the core of climate and energy applications, we enable the development of sustainable commercial, domestic and natural environments, improving people’s living conditions and setting global standards for climate and energy optimisation.

  • A District Energy pioneer

    Launched in 1991, Danfoss District Energy (then called District Heating) has been at the frontier of defining District Heating engineering for almost 25 years. An independent division within the Danfoss Group, we are the world’s biggest supplier of District Energy substations, heat exchangers and automatic controls for applications within residential, public and commercial buildings. Our total solution approach, with local offices worldwide, enables us to offer a comprehensive range of systems from a single source.

  • A bright, sustainable future

    We have a vision for the future of modern living; a sustainable future where a better standard of living goes hand in hand with care of the wider environment. This vision drives our dedication to continuously improving the technologies and processes that make this future possible, not only for us but for communities across the globe.

District heating and cooling by Danfoss