UKDEA Media Release

The UKDEA welcomes views on need for more efficient design of heat networks

6th August 2013

The UKDEA welcomes the views expressed by Huw Blackwell in this month’s CIBSE Journal on the need for more careful and efficient design of district heating systems to avert high levels of network heat losses.

Writing in the August 2013 edition of the Journal of the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), Huw Blackwell highlighted the importance of careful design and insistence on better long term performance in averting high network heat losses saying:

‘Without careful design, district heating systems can lose unacceptable levels of heat through their vast network of pipes. We need to educate clients to look beyond low capital costs and demand better long term performance’

As district heating networks are often large, the effects of failing to design an efficient system are magnified leading to high network heat losses and operational costs which will ultimately be paid for by the consumer. The increased focus on reducing capital costs by private-sector developers of new heat networks often comes at the expense of efficient design and long term operational efficiency. According to Blackwell, issues that lead to operational inefficiencies include:

  • poor system insulation and lack of insulation continuity,
  • poor pipework layout which could increase the length of pipework ultimately leading to increased distribution losses,
  • lack of accurate metering which makes it difficult to determine the operational efficiency of heating plant and how the heat is being distributed,
  • poor initial commissioning and the subsequent lack of seasonal commissioning, which makes it difficult to detect high operational costs at the earliest stages,
  • poor pumping and flow control,
  • high, fixed operating temperatures, but low temperature differences resulting in reduced primary plant efficiency and a potential increase in pipework losses.

Welcoming these views UKDEA chairman Simon Woodward, commented:

‘The UKDEA has long advocated the efficient and careful design of heat networks as a means of attaining long term operational efficiency and reducing high operational costs, ultimately benefiting the customers of the low carbon district energy schemes’

The UKDEA hopes that current and future developers and operators of heat networks will not only place importance on the reduction of capital costs but also on the efficient design and long term operational efficiency of their networks to reduce both network heat losses and long term operational costs. To that end, the UKDEA is currently looking into the development of technical standards, with the hope that wide industry acceptance will make good standards the norm.

The article which this media release refers to can be read here: http://www.cibsejournal.com/


Notes to Editors:

The partners, owners and operators of the largest district energy schemes in the UK have aligned themselves in the creation of the UK District Energy Association (UKDEA); with the aim of not only promoting district energy as a means to deliver significant carbon savings, but also to establish a direct link between the Government and the industry's small market base.


The Association is a not for profit, non-trade association of companies and public sector organisations involved or interested in district energy schemes of all sizes, from village scale, community based 'micro district energy' schemes to city wide district heat energy networks.

Still in its infancy, the UKDEA has attracted leading players in the industry, with the UKDEA’s Full members comprising of 15 major organisations:

  • Birmingham City Council
  • Brookfield Utilities/GTC Limited
  • Cofely District Energy Limited
  • Coventry City Council
  • ENER-G Switch 2 Limited
  • Enviroenergy Limited
  • E.ON Energy Solutions Limited
  • Leicester City Council
  • Newcastle City Council
  • Newport City Homes Limited
  • Shetland Heat, Energy and Power Limited
  • Southampton City Council
  • SW Energy Limited
  • Thameswey Limited
  • Veolia Environmental Services Limited

Together, these 15 organisations represent the: Birmingham, Coventry, Exeter, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newport, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Shetland, Southampton and Woking District Energy schemes, together with a number of schemes in London including Olympic Park and Stratford City, Metropolitan Kings Cross, Bloomsbury Heat & Power, Whitehall, Hatfield, Dalston Square, Greenwich Millennium Village, Barbican Arts Centre, Guildhall, Bastion House, Ontario Tower, Pan Peninsula, Baltimore Wharf, Wapping Lane, High Point Village and London Central Markets.

The UKDEA also has 39 very knowledgeable Associate Members, including international members, sharing and contributing information to our district energy knowledge base.

UKDEA Key Facts:

Together the UKDEA members represent:

  • Over 120 MW of low carbon generation plant (CHP, biomass, EFW etc)
  • Supported by over 600 MW of conventional back up boiler plant
  • Delivering over 700,000,000 kWh of heat each year
  • Across energy networks which, if combined, would extend for more than 200km

Through Full and Associate membership, the UK District Energy Association's aim is to represent current and potential owners, developers, consumers, partners, operators, product suppliers and interested parties of District Energy schemes throughout the UK.

The UKDEA welcomes new members. Be part of our district energy information sharing loop and apply for membership of this forward thinking Association today.

For more information or membership details contact:

Chris Tanner 

Secretary & Administrator for the UKDEA

Thames Head Wharf,
Tetbury Road,

Office: 01285 770615       Mobile: 07773 457941

Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Website: www.ukdea.org.uk