District heating and cooling grids cover the generation and distribution of thermal energy in district networks. Smart district heating and cooling grids aim to improve the management of energy demand. Such networks are optimised through the use of new technologies including heat meters and heat substations (heat exchangers). New energy control functions of substations include monitoring and control via the internet or digital radio. At the consumer end, in hot water and radiator systems, new devices such as variable-speed radiator pumps may be required.
These systems, supplying predominantly residential buildings and districts, are able to de-couple fluctuations in the heat demand of buildings from the network conditions – in other words, they smooth demand peaks – without perceptible changes in comfort. This allows the network’s heat demand to be stabilised, energy efficiency to be improved, and heat (or cooling) loss in the supply network to be reduced by up to 20%.