Skip to content


Creating Energy-Efficient District Heating Networks

Unit(s) of assessment: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning

Research theme: Sustainable Futures

School: School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment


Unlocking energy savings from the built environment to achieve environmental targets

Nottingham’s ambition as a “Smart City” is to reduce carbon emissions by 26%, and generate 20% of its energy requirements from renewable and low-carbon sources by 2020. Nottingham City Council aims to create a citywide heat network that will further enable the city to cope with climate change and build resilience to external energy price pressures.

To speed up the progress towards that 20% energy efficiency improvement, Nottingham needs to unlock the huge energy-saving potential in the built environment, and create a more energy-efficient district heating network.

Addressing the Challenge

Recycling unused heat to achieve energy efficiency

An innovative local low-temperature district heating (LDTH) network is being developed in Nottingham, supported by the REMOURBAN project, part of the EU Horizon 2020 Smart City and Community Lighthouse scheme. Researchers at Nottingham Trent University are investigating the possibility to recycle unused heat from the city’s existing district heating system and use it to supply heating and hot water to 96 flats.

The development is intended to make the system more efficient and more profitable. It will be the first time low-temperature heating has been used on such a scale in the UK. Simulations are underway to confirm the ability of the system to distribute heat with low grid losses. It will also test the potential to integrate the new thermal grid into the smart energy system using a novel wireless controller and valves to correctly adapt and balance the heating elements.


Continental collaboration

The NTU team is led by Dr Anton Ianakiev, who has expertise in the numerical modelling of heat and fluid flow. The research programme involves collaborators from Nottingham Energy Partnership, Solar And Sustainable Installation Engineers (SASIE) (UK), VEOLIA (Spain), Denmark Technical University, and Halmstad University (Sweden).

Making a Difference

Faster heating, even temperatures and reduced maintenance

The LTDH development in Nottingham will be the first substantial scheme of its type in the UK. The project will improve the quality of life for residents, who will benefit from an improved internal climate with faster heating response times, a higher level of comfort thanks to a more even temperature distribution, and a reduced need for maintenance.

Related staff