The climate change impact of a heat network is a product of the network’s whole life – from design to operation. According to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), there will be planned regulation for heat networks and a limit will be set on carbon emissions from heat networks. Furthermore, it is predicted by the CCC that around a fifth of heat will be distributed through heat networks by 2050.
How a heat network performs in terms of carbon emissions is a function of how it operates. That, in turn, is largely dependent on its design. As such, for a heat network to perform well, reducing carbon emissions must be a key focus point for all stakeholders throughout the network’s life cycle.
- Be lean as the best way to reduce emissions is to reduce energy use;
- Include low carbon sources as less carbon in means less carbon out; and
- Reflect maximum contribution from low carbon technologies whilst defining systems that have minimal long-term cost impact.
On the other hand, operators must seek to optimise controls thereby minimising energy use, maximising contribution from low carbon sources, and reduce heat losses while remaining competitive on heat charges.
Realising the full benefit of a good design and ensuring a heat network is operated optimally is highly dependent on proper installation and commissioning. Underpinning all of this is the need to get early engagement from heat networks experts across all stages of a project.