If you live in one of the countries where winters can be rather cold and where home require heating, then you might have heard about district heating. This type of heating is more popular in Europe due to the fact that there are many places on this continent with a dense population. In the UK, Vital Energi is one of the most renowned providers of this type of heating.
District heating is not a new method to provide hot water and heat to many homes in Europe. As a matter of fact, the technology has been present in Europe for more than 100 years and it continues to be improved as the years go by to provide the population of cities with better heating solutions.
Most district heating systems I am familiar with use the so-called cogeneration, or in other words combined heat and power (CHP). The sources of the heat can be anything from heat coming from waste incineration, to industrial waste, biofuel boilers, and finally waste from power production. As you can see, if not used by district heating this energy would otherwise be wasted. Recently, many new forms of energy joined the production of district heating and they include solar and geothermal energy as well as natural gas that further contribute into the district heating technology.
The main principle behind district heating is to create a network of insulated pipes that distribute water to various parts of cities as well as towns. Each building is usually connected to the system allowing for an easy distribution of water.
One of the biggest benefits of district heating is that the system allows to separately measure how much hot water has been used in every apartment or house, and then to bill the users accordingly. This is especially true in larger cities where there are many apartments that rely on this type of heating.
It would be best if district heating was used in all major big cities in the world. While it is very popular in Europe, many countries are yet to embrace all that it has to offer in the terms of the heating and cooling solutions.