Heat demand profiles of buildings' energy conservation measures and their impact on renewable and resource efficient district heating systems

University dissertation from Västerås : Mälardalen University

Abstract: Increased energy performance of the building stock of European Union is seen as an important measure towards mitigating climate change, increasing resource utilisation efficiency and energy supply security. Whether to improve the supply-side, the demand-side or both is an open issue. This conflict is even more apparent in countries such as Sweden with a high penetration of district heating (DH). Many Swedish DH systems have high share of secondary energy resources such as forest industry residuals, waste material incineration and waste heat; and resource efficient cogeneration of electricity in combined heat and power (CHP) plants. When implementing an energy conservation measure (ECM) in a DH connected building stock, it will affect the operation of the whole DH system. If there are CHP plants and the cogeneration of electricity decreases due to an ECM, and this electricity is valued higher than the fuel savings, the consequences of the ECM would be negative. These complex relationships are investigated by conducting a case study on the Eskilstuna DH system, a renewable energy supply system with relatively high share of cogenerated electricity. Heat demand profiles of ECMs are determined by building energy simulation, using recently deep energy retrofitted multifamily buildings of the “Million Programme”-era in Eskilstuna as model basis. How implementing ECMs impact on the DH system’s heat and electricity production under different electricity revenue scenarios has been computed and evaluated in terms of resource efficiency and CO2 emissions. The results show that different ECMs in the buildings impact differently on the DH system. Measures such as improved insulation level of the building’s envelope, that decrease the heat demand’s dependence to outdoor temperature, increase the amount of cogenerated electricity. While measures such as thermal solar panels, which save heat during summer, affects the absolute amount of cogenerated electricity negatively. Revenues from cogenerated electricity influence the amount of cost-effectively produced electricity much more than the impact from ECMs. Environmental benefits of the ECMs, measured in CO2 emissions and primary energy consumption, are quite small in DH systems that have high share of forest residual fuels and electricity cogeneration. The consequences can even be negative if ECMs lead to increased need of imported electricity that is produced resource inefficiently or/and by fossil fuels. However, all studied ECMs increase the relative amount of cogenerated electricity, the ratio between amount of cogenerated electricity and the heat load. This implied that all ECMs increase the overall efficiency of the Eskilstuna DH system.

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