What is District Heating?

District heating systems use a central heat source and distribute this heat through super-insulated pipes to the customer. This makes district heating a convenient and sustainable way of heating buildings and water. District heating schemes are completely fuel-agnostic, meaning that many multiple heat sources can feed into the network. This is good news for driving competitive heating costs, for security of supply, and importantly, for low-carbon heat.

A Low-Carbon Heating Solution for Ireland

Ireland’s heating sector faces huge challenges in terms of decarbonisation – we are almost completely reliant on gas and oil, yet in Dublin, power plants and large industries are releasing huge amounts of waste heat into the atmosphere and we have a large amount of untapped geothermal and solar thermal opportunities. In fact, there are enough waste heat and renewable sources to heat the equivalent of over 1.6 million homes in Dublin!

District heating provides an innovative, local-level solution that allows us to decarbonise heat while also integrating more renewable electricity.  District heating systems create a local-level heating (and, if required, cooling) network, which delivers low-carbon heat to residential, commercial and public buildings.

The system installed in Tallaght uses heat exchangers to transfer the heat from the primary heat network to the secondary heat installation inside the building, without needing to change the current system in the building.

These systems are widely used across Europe, and supply 90% of all heat in sustainable cities such as Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Picture of Heat Works Energy Centre and Amazon Data Centre.
Photo courtesy of Fortum
Photo courtesy of Fortum

What is Waste Heat?

Waste heat is the heat energy (e.g. bi-product of industrial processes and data centres) that is not put to use and escapes into the atmosphere.

By capturing or recycling this waste heat through a district heating system, it allows this waste heat to be used efficiently to heat the buildings connected to the system. In Dublin alone, there is enough waste heat and renewable heat sources to heat the equivalent of over 1.6 million homes.