There are already over 17,000 heat networks in place in the UK*, and nearly half a million connections to them, most of which are domestic customers. They are a particularly attractive option in dense urban areas and have been cited as a way of tackling fuel poverty while also reducing housing management costs.
The establishment of heat networks, which can vary enormously in size, means that cheaper, lower carbon sources of heat generation can be added over time without additional, later upheaval such as digging up roads, or making changes in people’s homes.
It’s important to make a distinction between district and community heating. Community heating is about supplying heat to a relatively small development of one or perhaps two buildings with multiple dwellings, such as a multi storey block or sheltered housing complex. District heating has wider objectives: distributing large-scale sources of heat over a large area and connecting multiple buildings in a heat network. Both community and district heating can be described as heat networks.