TRANSITION ROADMAPS AND GUIDE

Read the six pilot area Transition Roadmaps and learn how to create a Transition Roadmap for your own region

Guide to Creating a Transition Roadmap

Find out how to research and create a district heating Transition Roadmap for your own region and the various considerations this involves

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South Dublin Transition Roadmap

This document promotes the adoption of district heating in South Dublin through highlighting and supporting actions for South Dublin County Council to tackle the main challenges in the deployment of district heating networks in the region

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Aberdeen Transition Roadmap

This roadmap explores the future development of district heating in Aberdeen city and modification of the existing network to meet 4th generation characteristics, examining existing opportunities and potential barriers

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Plymouth Transition Roadmap

Plymouth’s Roadmap builds on previous heat mapping work, exploring sources of waste or renewable heat. It explores where 4th and 5th generation district energy approaches can be applied.

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Kortrijk and South-West Flanders Transition Roadmap

This strategic plan describes the necessary steps to roll-out 4th generation district heating systems (4DHC) in South-West Flanders. It outlines priorities for action in the near, medium and long term.

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Heerlen and Parkstad Limburg Transition Roadmap

This Roadmap to 2040 describes strategies for long-term transition and the planned timeline of scaling up the Mijnwater district heating and cooling grid to serve the Parkstad Limburg conurbation

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COMING SOON: Boulogne-sur-Mer Transition Roadmap

This roadmap will outline Boulogne-sur-Mer’s Transition Strategy, including the expansion of its ‘Liane’ DH network and the improvement of both its ‘Liane’ and ‘Chemin Vert’ networks

Guidance for Cities and Towns

Find out more information on how to get started and what to consider when developing your own district heating network

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Useful Resources

A Guide for Public Sector Organisations

on developing district heating in North-West Europe

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A Guide for Energy Companies

on developing district heating in North-West Europe

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FAQs

District heating is a network of highly insulated pipes that delivers heat from a central energy source to provide space heating and hot water to multiple buildings connected to the network. The network carries heat by pumping hot water to the end-user, and this hot water is not used directly by the customer but is rather used to heat each customer's own water supply via a heat exchanger. It has the flexibility to combine multiple locally-available, renewable and low-carbon heat sources and it can also recycle waste heat produced from activities such as electricity generation or industrial processes, which would have otherwise been lost to the atmosphere or waterways.
The most important consideration when developing a district heating network is the heat demand density, i.e. areas which have buildings with high heat demand that are in close proximity to each other - this demand can be either from existing or planned buildings or a mixture of both. Areas with a heat demand density of greater than 150 TJ/km2 are considered to be feasible for developing a DH network. The second consideration is the heat supply. Utilising an existing heat source such as an industrial waste heat source may further increase the feasibility of a project, however, developing a new heat source such as gas CHP may also be feasible. The final area to consider is any physical constraints, e.g. river or rail crossings, which can impact the cost of the network and reduce its financial viability.
District heating schemes operate all across Europe. The European Heat Index shows that the majority of Europe is within +/- 20% of the average European heat demand, and there are hundreds of district heating schemes operating effectively within this area. District heating also provides hot water for showers and etc. which is not dependent on external temperatures. This explains the use of district heating networks in areas where annual space heating requirements are low, such as southern Spain and Portugal.
No, district heating is not only for large cities. The heat demand density, which is one of the main indicators for feasible district heating networks, can be achieved not only in cities, but also in small towns and villages.
The following steps are suggested:
  1. Undertake heat mapping of demand and heat sources
  2. Identify and rank opportunity areas where new district heating networks would be best developed
  3. Include sections in planning policy to support district heating and the utilisation of local waste heat sources
  4. Carry out a feasibility study for one of the high-ranking opportunity areas to determine its suitability for district heating
  5. Develop policy to prioritise locating new high-density developments within or adjacent to the opportunity areas identified and future-proof these by adopting centralised hydronic heating systems with provision for future connection to a district heating network
Yes, home heating systems will operate in the same way as traditional hydronic heating systems where each heat emitter (radiator, under floor heating loop, etc.) will have temperature controls to allow room temperatures to be adjusted as required.
It is not difficult to connect existing buildings to a district heating network. In cases where the building has an existing boiler, this would be replaced by a heat exchanger, which would typically take 1-2 days’ work to complete. Heat exchangers are less expensive than boilers and require less maintenance, as they have no moving parts.    In cases where a dwelling is directly heated with electricity (e.g. through storage heaters), replacement of the electric heaters with a wet system is estimated to take 3 days.  Furthermore, in Ireland, district heating can comply with Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Energy – Dwellings) of the country’s Building Regulations more cost-effectively than other common heating technologies such as building-level heat pumps, with a capital cost saving of 50 - 60% for a typical apartment.