What is district heating exactly? It is the use of a centralised boiler to provide heat to a number of buildings using a network of pre-insulated pipes used to deliver heat in the form of hot water or steam, is also better known as district heating. This application uses either a heat only boiler, or the heat from a combined heat and power (CHP) plant.
There are various advantages of district heating schemes when considering heating a number of buildings. If you would rather jump straight through to some of our successful case studies of the scheme, then feel free to browse the luxury complex at Soho Member's Club, the country estate at Mornacott Farm, or the stunning wedding venue, The Great Barn, and not forgetting the private estate at Higher Combe on our case studies section.
Biomass per se offers CO2 savings of 96% and fuel cost savings of 50%-80% versus fossil fuels. District heating schemes, as they increase in size, become progressively more cost effective over individual boilers.
A district heating scheme can be split into zones, with clusters of houses and buildings supplied by a single boiler, enabling large savings in installation and operating costs, as well as providing flexibility in multiple site options and operations.
Where the installation can be on a scale of 50-400kW, large energy savings can be multiplied across multiple units, buildings or zones.
Where a single boiler serves more than one 'property' (i.e., with more than one Council Tax Account), the installation is deemed as commercial and eligible for 20 years of payments from the commercial RHI, which has been available since November 2011.The Domestic RHI was launched on April 9, 2014 and include projects where a single biomass boiler serves a single domestic property.
The Guntamatic range of biomass boilers have low emissions which meet the tougher maximum emission levels that were introduced on September 23rd 2013. They will specify maximum emissions of 30g/GJ particulate matter and 150g/GJ nitrogen oxides. This will be an accreditation criteria for entry into the Renewable Heat Incentive.
The Energy and Carbon Emissions Category carries the greatest overall weighting in Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) projects of all the factors at 36.4%. Including a biomass boiler with 96% lower emissions than oil, in a community district heating scheme can be beneficial to a new build development.
Biomass district heating allows commercial landlords to easily monitor heat usage via heat meters. The actual heat usage within each building or flat can be separately measured, and delivered heat accurately and easily billed for.
Within a district heating scheme, a centralised boiler sends hot water to other buildings. A Consumer Interface Unit (CIU) in each of these buildings give all of the control and features at the point of use as with a full boiler system, but in a far simpler package. They are also pre set and designed to conform to RHI regulations on meter placement. This forms the basis of easy measurement or billing for heat used.
With combustion only occurring in a single point within a group of several buildings, the occupants or tenants in each are given a safe environment in which to live or work, with no annual safety checks, carbon monoxide alarms or health and safety provisions or appliances at the point of use.
This makes biomass district heating advantageous for use in care homes, social landlords, hospitals, schools or any other applications where the owners, Energy Services Company (ESCO) or maintenance provider may have a legal duty of care and safety to building occupants.
In addition, district heating offers a range of administrative benefits, time and cost savings, as well as huge potential maintenance and servicing advantages.
Remote meter reading and heating control by web based applications or GSM are possible, as are remote diagnostics to ensure reliable operation. This can provide landlords (who have multiple tenanted properties) with ease of management, particularly if their properties are in different geographic locations. This can offer time and financial savings from not having to travel to remote locations.