TOM BURTON, CEng, MCIBSE
Lead Engineer, FairHeat
tom.burton@fairheat.com

Abstract

The UK’s 2050 decarbonisation objectives face unique complexities given that 80% of the buildings they will serve already exist, with many of these relying on heat networks to deliver hot water and space heating to customers. These networks are key for reducing carbon emissions by facilitating the centralised production and distribution of heat. However, following the HNOO and HNES Demonstrator programmes, DESNZ have identified a number of issues that consistently compromise heat network performance and which severely affect both the cost of heat and consumer experience.

This is due to a myriad of factors, including system design, installation methods, and maintenance practices. The fact that a majority of the buildings they will serve are already constructed poses an additional challenge. Ensuring these networks effectively integrate with existing infrastructure and perform efficiently is an essential task.

As heat networks are still a relatively new approach in the UK, there is a lack of general industry know how with regards to how to improve performance, particularly within the operator community. To address this, DESNZ commissioned FairHeat (in collaboration with Anthesis) to produce a Heat Network Optimisation Guide and series of explanatory videos for operators and M&E engineers detailing how to improve the performance of legacy systems.

This guide provides a standardised heat network optimisation philosophy by defining key principles, processes and minimum technical expertise for those undertaking optimisation assessments. The philosophy is centred on a KPI based approach, ensuring that occupant wellbeing, carbon and cost are fully quantified and assessed.