About district heating

District heating is produced in one or several central production facilities and distributed to various buildings through underground pipelines.

District heating is a safe and reliable form of heating, with little environmental impact. It is often produced in combination with electricity, which reduces environmental impact.

District heating allows the use of waste heat that is captured in places where a lot of it is created, such as in electricity production and waste incineration.

Traditionally, a district heating consumer may buy district heat only from one supplier. District heating is viewed as a natural monopoly in most countries. Local district heating markets are often state-regulated and district heating companies are not allowed to make a profit. District heat­ing companies in some countries are allowed to earn a profit, although the prices charged must often be approved by a government authority.

Dominant heating method in Nordic countries

The position of district heating on the heating market varies between countries, based on traditional differences and control instrument design. In parts of northern and eastern Europe, approximately 50 per cent of all households are currently heated by district heating. It is the dominant heating method in all Nordic countries (except Norway). Where district heating is available on a local heating market, it often has a market share of over 90 per cent.

District heating distribution

A variety of energy sources – including biomass, waste and natural gas – can be used as fuel in a district heating plant. Biomass is used in the above illustration as an example.

Last updated: 2013-10-01 16:55