Home District Energy News Remote-controlled district heating provides significant heat savings

Remote-controlled district heating provides significant heat savings

by Linda Bertelsen
Large multi-story residential properties

Large multi-story residential properties can save up to five percent of heating annually by implementing remote control for their district heating. This is demonstrated by a new pilot project involving, among others, HOFOR (Greater Copenhagen Utility), which benefits residents’ climate, supply security, and wallets.

The project, initiated by HOFOR, Danfoss, and the City of Copenhagen, involves 100 multi-story residential properties. The plan is to expand the project to include even more properties.

Through an intelligent online control system in the buildings, HOFOR has determined, based on various data such as weather conditions, property consumption, and the time of day, when it is possible to supply less district heating to the building without compromising resident comfort. In this way, the properties in the pilot project have, on average, saved five percent of heating annually.

The primary reason residents have not noticed a significant temperature difference is that materials like bricks and concrete in walls, floors, and ceilings emit heat. At the same time, HOFOR has temporarily reduced the supply of district heating to the building during specific periods of the day.

Expanding the pilot project to 700 properties

Area Manager for District Heating at HOFOR, John Halkjær Christensen, explains that the pilot project will now be expanded to potentially include up to 700 multi-story residential properties. The aim is to determine whether this approach can help HOFOR reduce peak-load production of district heating, which involves the use of oil and natural gas:

“With an intelligent control system, HOFOR can briefly lower the supply of district heating to the buildings and use it elsewhere in the system. By adjusting consumption in this way, it means that we need to produce less of the expensive and CO2-intensive heat production, which typically occurs in the morning and evening when many people use heat, for example, for bathing,” says the Area Manager, explaining that 85 percent of HOFOR’s district heating is CO2-neutral. The remaining 15 percent comes from waste heat and peak-load production.

Planning to expand to all multi-story residential properties, John Halkjær Christensen explains that if the concept successfully reduces CO2 emissions, HOFOR will aim to implement remote-controlled district heating in all approximately 10,000 large multi-story residential properties in Copenhagen. This could result in collective savings of up to DKK 60 million annually in heating expenses.

“Even though it will take time before all multi-story residential properties have online heating control, we have great confidence in remote district heating control. These savings, combined with new heat sources such as geothermal energy, heat pumps, waste heat, and low-temperature district heating, will provide us with a less CO2-emitting, efficient, and more secure heating supply in Copenhagen in a few years,” he concludes.

Translated from the Danish District Heating Association’s website