It’s all about making eco-friendly improvements for homeowners these days in a bid to keep energy bills to a minimum… and now it looks as though the government is actually trying to help us all out in this regard, by launching a £320 million funding scheme to create heat networks in various cities across England and Wales.
District heating, as this is known, is already a popular idea in places like Denmark, Scandinavia and the Netherlands, and it looks as though the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is now keen for these systems to be introduced in the UK as well.
So how does it work exactly? Basically, heat from a single resource is used so as to meet heating demand in towns and cities. Heat that would otherwise be wasted is captured and then redistributed, with any left over sent back into the network to drive down waste and carbon emissions.
Government figures suggest that these heat networks will actually be able to reduce heating costs by more than 30 per cent in some places, with cities able to recycle wasted heat from the likes of power stations, factories and the London Underground, pumping it back into homes and businesses to keep them warm.
This wave of funding will be invested in the UK over the next five years to build low carbon heating systems in England and Wales, with the networks also drawing energy from sources like biomass boilers, heat from below the earth’s crust and combined heat and power plants.
“Heat networks can significantly improve the efficiency with which heat is provided to our towns and cities, as well as helping to develop local infrastructure and reduce carbon. The new scheme will help us to develop viable reforms to make the most of the heat we produce and use it effectively to bring bills down for people across the country,” minister of state for energy Baroness Neville-Rolfe said.
If you want to see where these district heating systems have already been installed in the UK, check out the map compiled by The Association for Decentralised Energy, showing universities, hospitals and residential and commercial buildings that are already benefiting from such installations. Christie Hospital in Manchester is one such place, as well as Royal Bolton Hospital, Manchester-Royal Mills, Stretford House, Media City and elsewhere across the north-west.
Benefits of district heating include increasing fuel efficiency, lowering costs of energy generation, improving security of supply, using renewable heat efficiently so as to extend its reach, the efficient management of supply and demand of energy, and enabling the transportation and use of heat for a huge variety of different users.
If you’re keen to see this kind of system installed in your local area, why not get in touch with your local MP to see if there’s anything in the pipeline?
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