How do modern heat networks work?

What are modern heat networks?

Modern heat networks, known as fifth generation or ambient loop heat networks operate at low temperatures between 10oC and 30oC. One benefit of this low-temperature operation is that multiple water-source heat pumps can be used on the network.

They can use the network as a heat source or a heat sink, depending on the demand for heating or cooling.

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Applications for modern heat networks

These new heat networks are ideal for multi-use buildings, where there might be retail stores, offices or a gym on the lower levels, with apartments above. Cooling systems in the offices or gym will eject heat into the heat network which circulates to the apartments above.

Each apartment has its own heat pump that can raise the temperature of the heat supplied from the network. This can be used for both domestic hot water and space heating.

Mitsubishi Electric has developed the Ecodan Hydrodan water-to-water heat pump to make the design and delivery of fifth generation heat pumps easier to achieve.

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Are fifth generation heat networks environmentally friendly?

Generally, a property that is connected to a heat network will use between 35%-45% less energy than a conventional gas boiler system equivalent. This is mainly down to one system heating several properties or offices, rather than multiple individual boilers using energy to heat individual units; which inevitably means that more useful energy is produced, and less fuel is wasted heating up individual boilers.