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Towns across UK explore decentralized heating

More than two dozen local authorities across England and Wales are working to develop heat network projects that could help warm buildings more efficiently and cost-effectively.

The UK estimates that heat networks could realistically meet 14 percent of its building heating demands by 2030, and 43 percent by 2050. The city of London has already set a goal of 25 percent of building heat from decentralized sources by 2025.

Heat networks direct warmth to buildings from a central source via a system of insulated pipes. Networks can be powered by anything from energy from waste to heat from landfills.

A total of 26 proposed heat network projects are being funded by £1.9 million from the UK government’s Heat Networks Delivery Unit.

“In urban areas, people are often used to sharing their walls and their roofs with their neighbors — and it can make good sense for them to share the way their homes are heated,” said Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey. “This cash boost and support for local authorities will help supply low-carbon heat to a whole range of buildings such as multi-story apartments, office buildings and social housing – not only providing more efficient heat to buildings, but potentially bringing heating bills down too.”

A second round of funding is scheduled to be announced at the end of March.

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