The future of district heating

New government investment is hurtling district heating to the front of the queue for housing developers. Welcome Energy explores the traits now finally bearing fruit for this technology.

By Josh Ellison

1 September 2020

A phoenix rises

As the UK’s green new deal gains momentum and we see increased instability in energy markets leading to rising energy contract prices, a new challenge confronts housing developers: How can developers provide heating to their clients that is safe, cheap, reliable and sustainable? As of 2010 more than 2 million UK households were living in fuel poverty but, thanks to the governments’ new environmental focus, an old pariah might hold the answer. District heating has historically been characterised as a technology with potential in theory but hobbled by too many costs to be embraced wholesale. Since such a system would either require up-front investment when constructing a new development or challenging retrofitting of existing structures, many have remained deterred. Despite this chequered history, district heating is now making a comeback. It can provide low or zero carbon heating at a fraction of the price to consumers that a regular boiler would guarantee. As a result, the BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) is eyeing it as a potential catch-all solution for the UK’s heating needs.

District heating for all

The government has promised a new £40m district heating scheme for this year, showing no reservations about the technology’s potential. The scheme would see large-scale district heating installed in four major cities: Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool and London. Since district heat can use a wider variety of fuels than other common heating technology it is ideal for addressing building heating in the UK. Housing produces 40% of the UK’s carbon footprint comes from, 42% of that figure will come from heating in 2030. The potential for district heating to reduce CO2 on a grand scale, therefore, is profound. As a relatively new technology, district heating’s reputation has suffered due to a lack of solid regulation around its use. However, increased transparency surrounding billing, thanks to firms like Welcome Energy, means consumer trust is being restored as well.

“The framework has to ensure that consumer protection is key and take learnings from the energy sectors”


Laura Nell, Head of Future Retail Market Design at Ofgem

A warm reception

This is where Welcome Energy comes in. A sector previously famed by ambiguity surrounding costs for customers and firms is demystified under the Welcome Energy banner.

Welcome Energy provides an easy-to-use, transparent and competitive metering and billing service in full compliance with 2014 Heat network regulations.

Utilising remote monitoring and data capture means that the accuracy and consistency of bills is not subject to human error. We distribute bills to tenants quickly and efficiently to ensure total transparency and trust.

Find out more about Welcome Energy’s full metering and billing offering.



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