Dublin is to lead an €11.5m project to develop district heating across North West Europe, which will bring capital funding of over €1.5m to support South Dublin County Council (SDCC) in developing Dublin’s first large-scale public district heating network.

The HeatNet project consists of 14 partners across five countries, including the Dublin energy agency Codema as lead partner, and South Dublin County Council. The initial project will connect to the council’s headquarters at County Hall and Tallaght Hospital. The district heating system will save SDCC up to 8,900 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 1,700 cars off the road.

Tallaght Hospital will play a major role in supporting the project, with potential for other businesses and buildings to also link up with the heating network as it rolls out.

District heating utilises waste heat from sources such as electricity generation through a network of insulated pipes. It can typically provide space heating and hot water to residential and commercial buildings far more sustainably and economically than traditional methods using individual gas or oil boilers.

The HeatNet project will promote the roll-out of the most advanced form of this technology, known as Fourth Generation District Heating. This integrates heat, electricity and energy storage to achieve an overall smart energy system, combining high energy efficiency, high shares of renewable energy and waste heat resources.

Gerry Wardell, Director of Codema, said: “Up until now, waste heat from the generation of electricity has simply been dumped – mostly into Dublin Bay – but HeatNet presents a great opportunity to go straight into a 21st century energy system.”

SDCC’s county architect Eddie Conroy added: “We see district heating as the key to lowering carbon emissions in Ireland’s heating sector. By linking up with other public sector organisations such as Tallaght Hospital, we can make an even greater contribution towards meeting our national and EU targets.”

HeatNet will also include Dublin City Council as an associate partner, and the project will support the feasibility of other district heating networks in the Dublin region. Set to run until 2020, the project will receive European Regional Development Funding through the INTERREG North West Europe programme