photograph of many train tracks, running side by side. Nothing else is visible except the train tracks and earth between them.

When it comes to district heating and cooling networks, is it possible to minimise heat loss, integrate energy storage and renewable energy sources, and supply multiple low energy buildings? The HeatNet NWE project aims to introduce 4th generation DHC (4DHC) – a low-temperature distribution system – in North West Europe. Here are six guides from the project.


The HeatNet NWE project has developed and tested six local district heating and cooling networks (DHC) in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. The concept introduced – 4th generation DHC (4DHC) – requires the development of new institutional and organizational frameworks.

Several guides have been produced within the project. They are aimed at energy companies, public sector organisations, DHC authorities/ developers, building owners, end-users and other relevant stakeholders interested in low carbon district heating. Six of the guides are described and linked below.


1. Developing District Heating in North-West Europe
– A Guide for Energy Companies

This guide introduces 4th Generation District Heating and Cooling (4DHC). Its content is intended for energy companies, not only those operating District Heating and Cooling networks, but also traditional energy companies which may be interested in new business models.

Read the guide HERE.


2. Developing District Heating in North-West Europe
– A Guide for Public Sector Organisations

This guide shows the environmental, economic and social benefits of the 4th generation of District Heating and Cooling, as well as gives guidance to public sector organisations willing to develop DHC. English, Dutch and French versions are available.

Read the guide HERE.


3. Procurement Guide for 4th Generation District Heating and Cooling

This procurement guide aims to assist local authorities or developers wanting to develop a 4th generation district heating and cooling system (4DHC) – more specifically on how to reach out and access carefully selected multiple service providers, qualified expertise and develop good projects.

Read the guide HERE.


4. Guide to home and building energy management

Energy management of houses and buildings is a key component of the 4th generation district heating and cooling concept. It is possible through a set of different technical solutions that allow monitoring and controlling the operation and performances at the network and building level. This guide is for 4DHC developers aiming for an energy-efficient network as well as building owners or users who want to make the most of the network.

Read the guide HERE.


5. Guide to Integrating 4DHC with Energy Efficiency Retrofitting

This guide helps stakeholders across NWE overcome barriers to implementing 4th Generation DHC (4GDHC) solutions in existing buildings which are undergoing retrofitting. It outlines the key advantages and disadvantages of connecting buildings to 4DHC rather than other individual heating solutions, and includes a cost comparison of these options, so that stakeholders can see why they should consider a DHC connection when retrofitting a building.

Read the guide HERE.


6. Guide to Heat Mapping

Heatmaps are a valuable tool for urban planning and energy planning of a geographical area; they help locate energy sources and needs and to connect them, to design infrastructure and to plan refurbishment in an area.

Read the guide HERE.




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Toolbox Business & Finance Transition strategies for delivering low carbon district heat: 6 guides to put you on the right track