District heating

In cold, urban climates, city-wide district heating systems are key to the cost-effective use of environmentally friendly, low-carbon heat sources.

Avedøre Power Plant, Copenhagen, Denmark


Ramboll. Crispin Matson. Image courtesy of Paulina Sobczak Photography

Crispin Matson

Director District Energy
T: +44 20 7631 5291
Ramboll. Anthony Riddle. Image: Paulina Sobczak Photography.

Anthony Riddle

Associate Director
T: +44 20 7631 5291

As one of the world’s leading district heating consultancies, Ramboll has more than 30 years of experience from projects in more than 25 countries. Our services encompass all stages of planning, design, operation, maintenance and management; including technical, institutional, legal, as well as economic aspects. In recent years we have also actively engaged ourselves in several district cooling projects.

As cities aim to be carbon neutral, district heating and cooling systems become more important than ever. Our international market for these services is growing, not least due to a growing concern with climate change.

Hot water district heating

A city-wide, low-temperature hot water district heating system is key to any low-carbon city. The system is cost-effective and uses efficient, carbon neutral heat sources that would otherwise be wasted.

The heat sources derive from CHP plants with heat accumulators, waste-to-energy plants, geothermal plants, biomass boilers, large-scale heat pumps and large-scale solar heating plants.

Even for small settlements, district heating with thermal storage can be the key component of the most intelligent, cost-effective and carbon neutral heating for both existing and new buildings.

District heating steam and super-heated water

A special system for district heating, based on super-heated water or steam, is used mainly for industrial processes, but also in some cities and hospitals. Ramboll has extensive experience with these systems, including the design of pipe systems with a proven lifetime of more than 50 years. We also have experience in transforming these systems into more efficient, low-temperature systems.

Combined heat and power

At Ramboll, our great experience of energy production facilities based on a variety of fuels is combined with our experience of district heating transmission systems and low-temperature district heating systems. This helps us maximise the environmental, social and economic benefits for both investors and consumers.

We offer our clients all services that are necessary for establishing optimised CHP plants, heat accumulators and district heating systems – from planning, design and procurement to implementation.

Our experience encompasses a wide range of CHP plants, including waste-to-energy, biogas and biomass plants.

District cooling

Decentralised electric chillers in district cooling systems can often be replaced by less expensive systems that use cold seawater, groundwater or carbon-free thermal energy. Our experience in district cooling includes chilled water storage, district heating absorption heat pumps and decentralized cooling plants based on solar heating. Read more about our district cooling services

Heating installations in buildings

The efficiency of a city-wide heating system depends on its integration with low-temperature heating systems in buildings. We provide our clients with expertise in the design and operation of all facilities in the system, including building installations.

Read more about our sustainability services for buildings.

Hydraulic analyses

Hydraulic calculations and thermal analyses are prerequisites for correct dimensioning of utility supply networks, for new schemes as well as for expansion or renewal of existing networks. Ramboll has a team of engineers who perform hydraulic/thermal analysis on a daily basis for clients with  large and small schemes for both district heating and district cooling networks.

Ramboll has developed a system for stationary and dynamic hydraulic/thermal calculations. Read about System Rornet.

Asset management

Efficient operation and maintenance ensure high security of supply within the economic framework. Ramboll offers unique asset management consultancy based on a combination of expert knowledge of O&M theory and hands-on technical experience from district energy systems. Read about our asset management services.

Further information

Heat storage pits

In large district heating systems, a heat storage pit is a cheap energy source that can save peak loads and reduce the price of heating. Read our brochure on heat storage pits (online publication, opens in new window).

Publication: Integrated district heating in Copenhagen

The district heating system in Greater Copenhagen is one of the largest city-wide district heating systems in the world. This publication provides a map of the system and presents the stakeholders.
Read our publication on the district heating in Copenhagen (online publication, opens in new window).

Video: District heating – following the Copenhagen example

Supplying heat to more than 1 million people, the district heating system in Greater Copenhagen is one of the most sophisticated district heating systems in the world. Meet Project Director Jens Overgaard from Ramboll’s Energy division who will guide you through the system and show you how it is used as an inspiration for international projects.
Watch the interview with Jens Overgaard (opens in new window).

Publication: Community energy – Planning, development and delivery (USA)

Municipal leaders across the U.S. face economic, social, and sustainability challenges which local energy production can address. Drawing on the experience of communities in the U.S. and abroad, this IDEA publication guides community leaders on championing local energy projects.

Download Community Energy Guide for USA (online publication)

Publication: Community energy – Planning, development and delivery - Strategies for thermal networks (Canada)

District energy is well established in many Canadian cities. It provides reliable, efficient, affordable and clean thermal energy from locally controlled and highly efficient central plants. This Community Energy Development Guide is a guide to municipal leaders across Canada.

Download Community Energy Development Guide for Canada (online publication).

Publication: Community energy – Urban planning for a low carbon future (UK)

This joint TCPA and CHPA guide is designed to help stakeholders in the UK public and private sectors understand policy support for low and zero carbon energy solutions. Drawing upon best practice the guide demonstrates effective energy strategies and helps planning for the delivery of community energy.

Download Community Energy Guide for the UK (online publication)

Feature article about district heating

Cogenerating heat and electricity lowers costs and carbon emissions. One pioneering project will use the waste heat from the London Underground to produce district heating. Read more about it here.

Geothermal Energy

Read about our services on geothermal district heating plants (online publication, opens in new window).


Greenwich Peninsula Energy Network

Greenwich Peninsula Energy Network

Greenwich Peninsula is a new development consisting of over 10,000 new homes and commercial space. The development has a build programme of 20 years.

London from above

London Heat Mapping

Identifying decentralised energy opportunities in six different boroughs in London.


District heating system turns Bridgeport into model city for green energy

The implementation of a low-temperature heating and cooling system in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA, has made the formerly languishing city a frontrunner in clean and efficient energy production.

Køge Heat Distribution

Køge Heat Distribution Network

800 households in the Municipality of Køge will soon get access to cheap and sustainable district heating when the heat supply is converted to district heating.

Part of proposed district heating network with peak & reserve load plants

Bridgeport district energy project

NuPower Thermal LLC is developing a modern district energy network for the City of Bridgeport in Connecticut, USA.

Show more projects for this service


240 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NW
United Kingdom
Tel:+44 20 7631 5291
Fax:+44 845 299 1610

Mail: london@ramboll.co.uk

Company registration

Company registration

Ramboll UK Limited. Registered in England & Wales. Company registration no. 03659970. Registered office: 240 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NW

Other sites

Other sites