District heating to replace an electrical installation

by Serra Ramon, Lourdes; Montañes Asenjo, Alba

Abstract (Summary)

This project has been developed at the company Gavlegardarna. The companyowns a large part of the buildings of Gävle and two of them are the objective ofthe project. Gavlegardana is highly concerned about the environment; for thisreason, they cooperate on the subject with the energy management from theirtechnical department.

Gävle is one of the Swedish cities where the DH (district heating) network isdistributed, arriving to most of the dwellings, industries and commercialbuildings. As DH uses environmentally friendly sources of energy,Gavlegardana is introducing it in its buildings.

Electrical radiators and boilers were installed in the buildings when the price ofelectricity was more affordable than nowadays. The price of the electricity canbe considered 1,23 SEK/kWh while the DH price is 0,45 SEK/kWh.

Consequently, this is another reason why the objective of the company at thepresent time is to replace electrical space heating systems by means of districtheating.

The energy balance of the buildings is analysed in order to study their currentenergy situation. This entails the consideration of heat gains and lossesinvolved. The heat gains of the building are the heat from solar radiation whicharrives at the building trough the windows, the heat internally generated (bypersons, lighting and other devices) and the heat supplied. The heat losses are composed by the transmission trough walls and windows, the infiltrations, the heat used for hot tap water and the ventilation losses.

An important part of the work required to calculate the energy balance hasconsisted of the collection and organization of all the data (areas, types ofmaterial, electrical devices, lighting, number of employees, opening hours...).This data comes from the drawings of the buildings provided by the companyand from the information gathered during the visits to the installation. In addition, the ventilation flows were measured in-situ using the tools provided by Theorells.

Gavle Energi, the DH distributor company, has been contacted in order to fixthe cost and other details related to the district heating connection. The heatexchanger models, selected from Palmat System AB, are TP20 for Building Aand TP10 for Building B. TP20 provides 100 kW of heating and 0,4 l/s of hot tap water and TP10 provides 50 kW and 0,31 l/s respectively. The capital cost is 187500 SEK which includes the heat exchangers and the connection cost.

As the secondary circuit is not currently installed because the existing system iscomposed by electrical radiators, the installation of the piping network in thebuilding has been designed. The radiators’ power is calculated taking intoaccount the need of heat in each room which is estimated as the transmissionlosses. This need of heat calculated is higher than the energy currently supplied which means that the thermal comfort is not achieved in all the rooms of the buildings.

In spite of using more energy for space heating, the change of heat sourceentails a lower energy cost per year. The selected radiators are from Epeconand the investment cost (including the installation) is 203671 SEK. The brand of the selected pipes is Broson and the investment cost of the total piping system is 66000 SEK.

The initial investment of the new installation is 457171 SEK, considering the DHconnection, heat exchangers, radiators and pipes. If the initial investment istotally paid in cash by the company the payback will be fulfilled in 6 years. Incase of borrowing the money from the bank (considering an interest rate of 5%), two possibilities can be considered: paying back the money in annual rates over 15 years or 30 years of maturity. The paybacks are 11 and 8 years respectively.

After designing the DH piping system in the buildings, estimating the total costs of the investment and studying the project’s feasibility by suggesting different payment options, some possible energy savings are recommended.


The first of the options refers to the transmission losses trough the windowswhose values’ are considerably high. Using a glass with a lower U-value, theselosses can decrease until 66% (with triple glass windows). Consequently, thepower required for space heating can also be reduced until 26%.

Regarding the ventilation, rotating heat exchangers are currently used, whichentails the problem of smells mixture detected by the users of the buildings. By changing them with flat-plate heat exchangers, the problem is solved and the efficiency is increased from 66% to 85%. The new heat exchanger cost is340387 SEK and it has a payback of 10 years.

Bibliographical Information:


School:Högskolan i Gävle

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:district heating thermal energy engineering termisk energiteknik


Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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