Across the U.K. local authorities are grappling with the challenge of decarbonising the heat used in their cities and dense urban environments. Almost all have declared a climate emergency and have targeted massive change by 2030.
For heat, this can only mean replacing natural gas for heating and hot water anywhere in these densely populated locations. Low or zero carbon heat networks can play a central role in making this happen.
If you want to learn more, join us for Comsof Heat Open Training- click here for more information and here to register.
If we were to deploy a heat network in the city centre of Glasgow we are talking about replacing 140GWh of fossil fuel heating every year. This will displace 31.5 kilotonnes of CO2. The Heat Vision 2030 project has estimated that this would cost around £250 million to make happen. This would deliver zero carbon heat for 60 years.
Other examples that have crossed our desk recently include Chelmsford, Medway, Worthing, Solihull, Barking and Bridgend. You can add any large city in the country to the list and you will find that hundreds of millions of pounds are being assigned to developing heat networks.
Interestingly though, the size and scale of these heat networks do not really match up with the stated goals. My understanding is that 90% of heat networks being funded today in the U.K. have a total CapEx of less than £20 million and there are perhaps a handful, maybe just a couple, with budgets that approach £100 million.
Now, the good thing (one of the many good things) is that heat networks, if planned correctly, expand. So, a project that focusses on 50 or so public buildings today can be designed and developed to incorporate thousands of buildings of all kinds over the course of time. Within 10 or 15 years the whole of Glasgow City centre could be heated by a low carbon heat network.
How can we plan for a zero carbon heat network? Well, one of things we need to do is imagine them.
We need to visualise and play with the size of the prize. We need to challenge our preconceptions. We need to be curious, we need to explore and we need to be ambitious.
Then, we need to be realistic. We need to start incorporating data and information to start building models that we can play with. We need to start developing scenarios that we can share and that can be used as platform for collaboration.
This is where Comsof Heat comes in.
Comsof Heat is a heat network mapping tool that follows the Heat Network Development Unit (HNDU) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) design and development process. Comsof Heat is applicable from the heat mapping and maser planning stage through to detailed project development.
COMSOF works at any scale from dozens to thousands of buildings. It requires fewer man hours to provide more detailed scenarios that are easier to scrutinise and improve.
Multiple scenarios can be calculated and visualised in a workshop setting. These scenarios can be compared against different feasibility, planning and finance criteria at the same time.
As such Development, Technical and Executive teams can collaborate on developing scenarios and compare different, detailed energy strategies.
If you want to learn more, join us for Open Training- click here for more information and here to register.