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This paper discusses the opportunities and challenges of implementing District Heating (DH) in Canada, with focus on the network design and operation. We selected for case study an urban area in Ottawa. First, we proved that the medium-temperature DH (70°C ≤ Tsupply ≤ 90°C) had better energy delivery performance than high-temperature DH (Tsupply > 100°C), decreasing the heat loss by approximately 40%. The low-temperature networks (Tsupply < 60°C) achieved even lower heat losses, but they required additional capital investment. The implementation of low-temperature DH should be considered, thanks to the capability of including more renewable energy and excess industrial waste heat. Next, the simulations show that DH can be implemented to supply present heating loads with medium temperature DH, and operate in the future at low temperature, after energy saving measures have been implemented in the buildings. Areas having linear heat densities greater than 3 MWh/(m.yr) could economically be supplied by DH. Areas with linear heat density below 1.5 MWh/(m.yr) are considered not practically feasible with the current energy market situation in Canada. The paper discusses critical issues and quantifies the performance of design concepts for DH supply to low heat density areas. DH is a fundamental energy infrastructure and is part of the solution for sustainable energy planning in Canadian communities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012


  • District heating, Renewable energy, Network design, Low-temperature, Energy efficiency
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ID: 9783736