About the Heat Network Exchange
The Heat Network Exchange has been developed to meet some of the needs of the heat network (district and communal heating) sector identified during Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Heat Network Exchange aims to help and bring all the services required to design, build, operate and maintain heat networks in one easy to find place.
In the early days of the pandemic the joint industry government sector response identified that there could be supply chain shortages of skilled competent people and critical equipment as a result of the implications COVID-19 brought to businesses and households. This could be a result of shielding, self-isolating, sickness or other restrictions. Such supply chain shortages could pose a risk to the delivery of heat and hot water to customers, which often includes hospitals, care homes, and social housing.
The Heat Network Exchange further aims to provide a useful source to the sector on the path to Net Zero and the significant growth expected over the next decade.
The importance of heat networks
Heat networks play an important role in decarbonising heat to meet Net Zero by 2050. Meeting this legal commitment will require virtually all heat in buildings to be decarbonised, and heat in industry to be reduced to near zero carbon emissions. Presently, heat is responsible for a third of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Heat networks are a crucial aspect of the path towards decarbonising heat. In the right circumstances, they can reduce bills for consumers, support local regeneration and can be a cost-effective way of reducing carbon emissions from heating.
There are currently over 14,000 heat networks in the UK, providing heating and hot water to approximately 480,000 consumers. Heat networks can deliver heating, hot water, and/or cooling from a central source or sources to a wide range of buildings including domestic dwellings, public buildings, businesses, factories, sport facilities, hospitals and universities. They are uniquely able to unlock otherwise inaccessible large-scale renewable and recovered heat sources such as waste heat from industry and heat from rivers and mines. Heat networks currently provide 2% of UK heat demand and the Committee on Climate Change estimated in 2015 that with government support, they could provide 18% of heat demand by 2050 in a least-cost pathway to meeting carbon targets. This emphasises the importance and potential of heat networks to meet carbon targets and reach net-zero.