district heating

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District heating has become the favored method of heating of many cities in Europe. It has also risen in popularity and use throughout much of the rest of the world. District heating is actually more than 100 years old. It started in 1903 in Moscow, Frederiksberg and Copenhagen, all in the same year. 

District heating systems as a modern concept were designed and introduced in the 1980’s (with constant breakthroughs since then), with automatic control, remote monitoring and un-manned operations. The district heating concept binds together available heat sources, which otherwise would be wasted, for heating or to produce cooling.

A typical district heating installation consists of a highly insulated "heat main" of flow and return pipes distributing hot water (or steam) past all buildings which are connected. A junction point allows easy connection to each building, from which hot water can be taken from the main to a heat exchanger (heat substation) within each building. The heating circuit within the building is thus isolated from the heat main.

Temperature measurements of the flow and return lines, plus a flow meter (together forming a heat meter), allow the actual heat usage within each building, or even apartment, to be separately measured,  delivered and billed for accordingly. Remote meter reading, by a modern, secure web interface, or a drive-by, are both usually possible, as are remote diagnostics to ensure reliable operation. 

Many district heating networks also use cogeneration, or combined heat and power (CHP). CHP is the production and use of electricity and heat simultaneously from a given energy source. The sources for CHP (and district heating) typically are: natural gas (dominantly), coal, oil, heat from waste incineration, waste heat from power production, industrial waste heat and biofuel boilers. Solar and geothermic energy are sources of renewable energy that are also used in district heating/ cogeneration systems. The market has further developed through the use of natural gas in district heating networks.


For any modern city with a dense population, a district heating supply offers the most significant contribution to ensuring energy efficiency that's readily available. District heating is used in many cities (especially in Europe), but needs to be used more in major cities throughout the world.

Please see: Combined heat and power (cogeneration) - making the most of energy


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City planning committees around the globe are becoming more focused on the importance of using sources of renewable energy, rather than fossil fuels and other finite resources. Our goal is to teach our readers about eight of the greenest cities in the world. As you peruse this site, you will gain insight into the worlds of renewable energy, urban planning, green building and sustainable mass transit. For instance, you will learn about an example of a bus system, located in Curitiba, Brazil, that serves as a standard of efficiency for other metropolises throughout the world...


Sustainability Trends

Ideas for a Greener Home

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Use eco-friendly cleaning supplies
  • Favor cloth over paper products
  • Chlorine-free baby diapers/ wipes
  • Choose natural lawn care - stop using pesticides and synthetic fertilizers
  • Use biodegradable detergent and oxygen bleach
  • For clean, safe drinking water without all of the waste - use a water filter and a reusable bottle
  • Install low-flow toilets

Energy Saving Ideas

  • Use CFL or LED light bulbs
  • Use Energy Star labeled equipment
  • Turn off all home and office equipment when not in use
  • Turn off lights when not in use
  • Turn down the thermostat - lowering it by just one degree can reduce heating energy costs significantly
  • Avoid phantom loads (electrical equipment that still uses energy even after turned off) by using a power strip
  • Reduce your water heater temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees
  • Install double pane windows