Method for Assessing Heat Loss in A District Heating Network with A Focus on the State of Insulation and Actual Demand for Useful Energy

The goal of this paper (2020) was to evaluate heat loss and the demand of district heating (DH) in the context of the fourth generation DH concept using a data-driven approach. The heat loss profile was calculated with GIS Zulu© (software (, Politerm, LLC, St.Petersburg, Russia) using eight various states of insulation, detailed information on thermal conductivity, internal heat transfer coefficient, and geometry of the concrete trench.

There is a strong correlation between the heat sold and the average annual outdoor temperatures. The outstanding episodes are extremely rare, and the difference in the overall pattern is elusive. The results of the annual heat production and annual heat loss analyses were compared using three different estimation methods.
The new method was the only one that showed a positive effect after the complete modernization of thermal insulation. The actual proportion of heat loss is much higher at 16%, while the actual heat delivery is less than anticipated at 85–86% only. The trend of the normative approach is correct but cannot determine changes in network heat loss due to aging.

The method focuses on the effects of the state of insulation and actual supply temperature levels. The transition to smart energy systems includes strategic and progressive energy planning, as well as new pricing rules and tariffs. Thus, the method presented is the first step in the transition towards the fourth generation DH networks.

Authors: Chicherin, S.; Mašatin, V.; Siirde, A.; Volkova, A. (Tallin University of Technology)

Keywords: supply, temperature, correlation, fourth generation district heating, heat loss(es), low-temperature district heating, heating networks, outdoor conditions

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