District Heating On The Way For Stoke-On-Trent!

It certainly looks as though the way forward for keeping businesses and properties warm here in the UK is a district heating model, similar to what was introduced in Denmark back in the 1970s – which has proven to be incredibly successful at both using less energy and driving down household bills.

According to the Stoke Sentinel, a £52 million district heat network will be in operation for 13 blocks of flats in Stoke and Hanley come the year 2019, with nearly 1,000 council flat tenants set to benefit from the scheme.

It will involve geothermal energy being extracted from below ground and then distributed to both houses and businesses using water pipes. Not only will this development reduce carbon emissions but also protect people against future changes in fossil fuel prices.

“Stoke-on-Trent is being developed as the UK’s hotspot for low carbon district heating and our plans have significant backing from central government. We are putting ourselves firmly at the centre of a growing UK sustainable energy industry.

“For the first phase of the scheme, we are looking to focus on council-owned blocks of flats, where we can provide commercially sustainable heat to a large number of residents through a single connection,” Terry Follows, cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, was quoted by the news source as saying.

District heating really came to the fore back in 1973 when oil prices skyrocketed and many countries, that were dependent on oil, suddenly found themselves in serious trouble. Denmark was certainly one of these, with the vast majority of its oil being imported. Following a very hard winter indeed, the government decided to reduce its dependence on imported oil, making heavy investments in energy efficiency, renewables and district heating ever since.

Now, new research from Aarhus University has revealed that Denmark has a historically low real consumption of energy where heating is concerned. The study concluded that increasing energy requirements in building regulations, for example, have had an especially positive effect – for example, between 2006 and 2011, heating consumption in single-family households dropped by 25 per cent.

Associate professor Steffen Petersen of the Department of Engineering at the university said: “We can see a clear correlation between the age of the buildings and the actual energy consumption, with a very significant decline starting with houses built in the 1950s. This means that we now have an empirical overview that makes it possible to document the impact of historical energy-saving requirements in the building regulations.”

The UK certainly seems to be inspired by developments of this kind. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy recently launched the first stage of a £320 million scheme intended to facilitate the deployment of district heating networks around the country… so hopefully we’ll all soon be able to enjoy reduced energy bills and a smaller carbon footprint!

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