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District Heating and Cooling

Annex IX Project 01

The Research / IEA DHC Annexes / 2008-2011 / Annex IX / Annex IX Project 01

The Potential for Increased Primary Energy Efficiency and Reduced CO2 Emissions by DHC

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The basic idea of this research project is to make a serviceable method available to the public, which can be used to calculate trustworthy values of the indicators for “energy performance” for relevant energy chains involving DHC according to the EU Directive on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD)(1). This directive imposes from now on all EU/EØS countries to implement a system where the buildings shall have an energy certificate which shall express the “energy performance” of the building. To implement this directive in practice several CEN-standards are developed based on a mandate from the EU commission. One of the most central standards in this context is prEN 15603 (2) where the two main indicators of the energy performance are suggested to be; Primary energy and Production of carbon dioxide. The DHC concept has a great competitive potential in this context and it seem important to make the energy sector aware of that in an appropriate way.


The objective is to develop a documented method to analyse the potential for efficiency measures in the process of producing district heat and cold to buildings. The method will be demonstrated by calculating the primary energy factors and the CO2 emissions for selected case studies.

The overall aim is to illustrate the environment potential and the potential of saving primary energy by DHC and/or CHP systems in a transparent and understandable way to the energy society.

The expected outcome of the project will be:

  • A compilation of processes and efficiencies of DHC systems, including an analysis of the actual CHP plants.
  • A calculation method of CO2 emissions and primary energy use of DHC and/or CHP systems for the whole actual energy chains.
  • A number of case studies illustrating the potential of DHC compared to the selected reference alternative and the effect of possible improved systems on the CO2 emissions and primary energy usage.

Target audience     

The district heating and cooling suppliers will benefit from the results as the environmental benefits of DHC and/or CHP systems will be illustrated and the effect of efficiency measures on the amount of CO2 emissions and primary energy use will be recognised.

The usage of the method described in the project and the illustrative case studies will give input to energy policy makers in their promotion of the competitiveness of DHC and/or CHP systems.

All IEA-DHC countries can use the results of the project as the identified potential improvements of the energy process chains and the calculation method will be kept general with the aim of being internationally valid.

To compile the relevant information in this field in one report will be of great usage to the DHC sector; both the industry as well as the research community.

Work progress     

Start: the middle of 2008
Status: Finished

Contractors & subcontractors

  •     SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden (Project Management)
  •     KDHC - Korea District Heating Technology Research Institute
  •     SINTEF Energy Research, Norway

(1) DIRECTIVE 2002/91/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 16 December 2002 on the energy performance of buildings
(2) prEN 15603:2007: Energy performance of buildings – Overall energy definition of energy ratings