What is District Heating?
District energy systems produce hot water at a central plant. The hot water is then piped in insulated pipes to individual buildings for space heating and domestic hot water heating. As a result, individual buildings served by a district energy system don’t need their own boilers or furnaces The district energy system does that work for them, providing valuable benefits including:
- Improved energy efficiency
- Enhanced environmental protection
- Safer operations. There are no combustible fuels or oil storage tank hazards
- Ease of operation and maintenance
- Comfort and convenience for customers
- Decreased life-cycle costs
- Decreased building capital costs
- Improved architectural design flexibility
- Lower fire risk and potentially lower insurance costs
As mentioned in the introduction section, to make the centralized hot water, you need a heat source that creates it from burning something (i.e coal, oil, biomass, or natural gas), or capturing it from some other process. This can create additional advantages in the area of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, if the heat is generated from a non polluting source. In the case of Juneau District Heating, we have a “zero carbon” load since nothing is burned. We will be getting our heat from seawater We also will be getting the electricity to run the pumps and equipment from the Sweetheart Lake Facility which is a 100% renewable hydropower operation, which also burns nothing.
In fact, this unique joining and synergistic combination of innovative technologies will result in an estimated avoidance and displacement of 166,003,411 kilograms of carbon emissions for Juneau which is the equivalent of replacing 8,488,033 gallons of #2 diesel fuel currently used in Juneau every year. Not only is this good for the environment and the air that you breathe, but it provides Juneau with the long term energy security that is independent and immune to the short term and long term fluctuations of fossil fuel prices.