Frequently Asked Questions
Here you can find out more about District Heating schemes and the benefits of being connected to one.
What exactly is “District Heating”?
Here in the UK, heating tends to be generated on-site, in individual buildings. The most common sources of heat are gas boilers, electric heaters and oil-powered boilers. However, in many parts of the world it is common to use local networks to transport heat to consumers through insulated pipes. This process is called “district heating”.
In these cases, the heat source is not contained inside each individual building, but is generated locally at a combined heat and power (CHP) plant – reducing the losses normally associated with electricity or gas heating production. The heat is distributed to many consumers via a network of pipes, in a similar way to a domestic central heating system, but on a much larger, community-wide scale.
How is my home heated?
Heating and hot water is generated centrally and is distributed around the local area via a network of insulated pipes. This primary network links with the secondary network in your building which provides your heating and hot water.
Why is my home connected to a District Heating scheme? What are the benefits?
There are global, European and UK targets to reduce carbon emissions. One way of significantly reducing carbon emissions is to generate energy as close to the end users as possible. Using a district CHP plant allows electricity and heat to be generated and distributed locally.
As they are built on a far larger scale than typical domestic central heating systems, district heating schemes allow those participating to benefit from low-carbon technologies and economies of scale. More efficient generation of heat and fewer carbon dioxide emissions also help the environment.
As there is no gas supply or gas boiler in your home, your home is inherently safer, and you don’t need to pay for annual safety checks and maintenance of a gas boiler.
Who provides my District Heating scheme?
ENGIE operates the energy generation and distribution plant and systems in your area.
Where does my hot water come from?
The energy for your heating system comes from the combined heat and power plant (CHP) at an energy centre within your district heating scheme. The hot water from our network passes through the equipment in your home’s airing cupboard and is circulated through your home like a conventional central heating system.
The hot water in your home is fed by a heat exchanger, called a Heat Interface Unit (HIU). The hot water can be manually programmed to come on at certain times using a time clock-based programmer in your home.
Is the heat I receive enough to provide heat and hot water to my home?
Yes. Our heating network is a variable volume, low-temperature hot-water distribution system. It operates with a constant temperature differential, nominally with a flow temperature of 95°C (+15% under certain conditions) and a return temperature of 55°C.
Is District Heating ‘greener’ than conventional systems?
Yes. Developers of new homes are required by government planning policies to cut carbon emissions. They can do this by using district heating schemes, rather than traditional systems that require boilers in every home and miles of gas pipework. Our carbon emissions are a fraction of what they would be if conventional heating systems were installed.
Is District Energy subject to the same outside factors as buying gas for a traditional system?
Any price changes (one per year will be the norm) must reflect three main criteria: the wholesale price of gas, inflation, and the cost changes of labour and materials as measured by an index known as BEAMA.
We expect this to provide residents with a stable pricing structure, which will protect them against outside factors that have caused bills from traditional suppliers to rise sharply. These factors include fluctuating company profit margins and subsidies for green energy that are required by the government.