Eight things for cities to consider when planning district heating networks

Sustainable heating and cooling solutions are all the more considered a requirement for cities in order to reach otherwise unattainable climate targets. With proven solutions being showcased all over the globe, the challenge of decarbonising heating and cooling is no longer a question of if, but rather of how it should be done.

In March 2020, the UK Local Authority District Energy Vanguards Network hosted an inspiring seminar and workshop exploring the challenges for Local Authorities that are considering district energy. With the insights from the UK branch of the Swedish company FVB, we outline a few take-aways for when cities are planning for heat networks.

Considerations when planning a district energy network

Cities are becoming increasingly pressured to take responsibility for their proportionate share of the national climate targets. In this regard, decarbonising heating is most often one of the major challenges for Local Authorities, for which district heating networks have been identified as key in achieving the targets. After the Vanguards event, Valeria Khnykina, from the UK division of the Swedish company FVB, shared her helpful reflections on what Local Authorities should consider when planning a district heating network. The full document can be found to the right for download –>

Key considerations in summary:

  • Find potential anchor heating loads:
    Who are the large consumers of heat and how can we connect them early on?
  • Find local heat sources:
    Are there any natural or waste heat sources for potential connection?
  • Metering of existing gas/electricity supply used for heating:
    How can we use existing data to properly plan for district heating demand?
  • Heating system assessment:
    Are there buildings with inefficient heating solutions that would benefit from connecting to the network?
  • Wet heating systems:
    Can we make buildings planned for future connection ready by ensuring wet heating systems?
  • Heating system optimisation:
    Can we optimise the already fitted heating systems either with digital or physical solutions?
  • Flattening of space heating consumption:
    Should we consider different operational techniques to optimise heating usage?
  • Sharing the plans and creating a positive attitude to district heating with potential connections:
    How can we engage with the local community to facilitate future connections?

For more insights to Swedish best practices for district energy, we refer you to District Energy by Sweden: Best Practice Guide. Further reading on the topic of key steps for cities to district energy can be found in the report from UNEP, District Energy in Cities, which is also found to the right to download and is a recommended read for cities and developers looking to decarbonise heating and cooling.


Sweden is at the forefront of decentralised heat networks technology. Our aim for “Sustainable Heating & Cooling by Sweden” is to facilitate knowledge-sharing between British, French and Swedish stakeholders and develop and encourage environmental and economic best practice.

To find out how we can help you and your organisation, please contact our London-based “SHC” team. We can introduce you to leading consultants, suppliers of technology and services who will be pleased to share know-how of the development of heat network solutions.

Get our newsletter