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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Influence of building heat distribution temperatures on the energy performance and sizing of 5th generation district heating and cooling networks


This paper investigates the energy performance and sizing criteria of 5th generation district heating and cooling (5GDHC) networks as a function of the heat distribution temperature in the building systems connected to the district network. An energy simulation model of a 5GDHC network was developed in Modelica for a case study located in Denmark. Calculations were carried out for four different building heating systems. Simulation results show that reducing the heat distribution temperatures from 70 °C to 23 °C leads to around 40% annual electric energy savings (from 10.4 kWh/m2 to 6.2 kWh/m2) for the operation of the heat pumps. Heat distribution temperatures of 23 °C cause higher water mass flow rates through the network, leading to annual electric energy consumption for the circulation pumps that are almost doubled (from 0.16 kWh/m2 to 0.3 kWh/m2) compared to the reference case at 70 °C. Furthermore, the paper discusses how the results obtained from the Danish case study can be generalized and applied to other cases using a simplified mathematical approach. It is found that about 1.5% of electric energy savings can be achieved for each temperature degree reduction in the heat distribution system.

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