Use of smart meters as feedback for district heating temperature control

Hjörleifur G. Bergsteinsson, Torben Skov Nielsen, Jan Kloppenborg Møller, Sara Ben Amer, Dominik Franjo Dominković, Henrik Madsen

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Smart meters implemented at the end-user in the energy sector create the opportunity to develop data-intelligent methods for district heating systems by using a large amount of fine-granular heat consumption time series from end-users. The current state-of-the-art methods for temperature control in district heating systems rely on predefined critical points in the network and a set reference temperature curve that expresses the minimum forward temperature as a function of the outdoor temperature at the end-users. The critical points are used to ensure that the consumers’ supply temperature requirements are met all times. To predefine the critical points at the network, the location of the lowest temperature in the grid needs to be identified at any point in time. Since the lowest temperature often varies over time, one must have a set of critical points in a district heating network. This paper proposes a method to estimate the temperature at an artificial critical point for the network using time-wise quantile estimation using smart meter data at end-users. This novel approach eliminates the need for physical critical points in the net or sensors in wells and creates the possibility of changing the critical point location if needed. The benefits for the provider of using smart meters as feedback, makes the measurement wells redundant and flexibility of the location. The location of low temperature areas in the network can change overtime hence the flexibility of being able to change where the feedback is located. The proposed method to replace the well measurements to provide feedback for temperature control at the production site groups a predefined set of smart meter readings together for each point in time. The grouping is done to have reliable measurements from each smart meter device, excluding some of the meters when a faulty reading occurs. The set of acceptable readings is used to estimate the street pipe’s temperature using the estimated quantile of the forward temperature. The approach is tested on two demo cases. The first demo consists of smart meters to estimate the forward temperature of the main street pipe. The second demo uses three smart meters at large apartment buildings as feedback for the control. Initial results show that the estimated temperature of the network can replace the well-measurements which traditionally are used as feedback for temperature control and give a better and more flexible control.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy Reports
Pages (from-to)213-221
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event17th International Symposium on District Heating and Cooling - City Campus, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Sept 20219 Sept 2021


Conference17th International Symposium on District Heating and Cooling
LocationCity Campus
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • District heating
  • Temperature control
  • Smart meter data
  • Quantile estimation
  • Estimated network temperature


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