people hired
thanks to the induced employment
generated by Hera in 2017
million euro
Investments in innovation and
digitalization. 13 projects in smart city,
circular economy and 4.0 utilities
of reused soil
in projects implemented in 2016
and 2017

District heating: a response to safeguarding air quality

District heating is a service involving the sale of heat for customer home heating and domestic hot water. It is an alternative system to traditional autonomous or condominium-based boilers which makes it possible to concentrate the production of heat in central installations, which are more efficient and better controlled than home boilers. From these installations, the heat, in the form of hot water, is brought to customer homes through a distribution network made of insulated piping. The heat then feeds the heating systems of homes via non-polluting heat exchangers.

District heating provides a solution to air pollution problems in cities by replacing home boilers, which are sometimes fuelled by gas-oil or fuel oil, with high-efficiency heat production methods that use renewable energy, or energy recovered from other production processes. Besides providing an advantage for the environment, district heating allows customers to have greater safety and lower operation and maintenance costs, while maintaining the freedom to independently adjust the temperature of their home.

Furthermore, by continuing to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy or recovered energy, significant energy-environmental improvements have been achieved in the Group’s district heating plants.

During 2017, there were two new factors:

  • the cogeneration of Forlì Centro Logistico entered the scope of the production plants of the TLR Directorate;
  • the TLR WTE Forlì network was connected to the thermal energy supplier FCS (Forlì Città Solare).
Environmental advantages of district heating
  2015 2016 2017
Primary energy saved (toe) 33,031 33,776 37,450
Nitric oxide avoided (t) 309.5 296.4 300.9
Carbon dioxide avoided (t) 156,407 129,153 125,684
Sulphur oxide avoided (t) 289.9 278.2 295.6

Calculated as the difference between a traditional system (existing boiler park comprising 65% natural gas-powered boilers and 35% diesel boilers with an average seasonal yield of 75% (source: Comitato Termotecnico Italiano, 2009), and the national electricity grid) and Hera’s district heating systems for the quantities of energy (thermal and electric) produced by Hera. Excluding AcegasApsAmga. The emissions factors of the national electricity and thermal grid were updated in 2016.

In 2017 the plants operated by Hera achieved a primary energy savings of 37,450 tonnes of oil equivalent, an increase of 11% compared to the savings of 2016, (+3,673% toe).

Sources used for district heating (2005-2017)

As for the sources used for district heating, the percentage of thermal energy produced with gas boilers has gone down from 58% in 2005 to 30% in 2017.

Sources used for district heating (2017)

As for the sources used for district heating, the percentage of thermal energy produced with gas boilers has gone down from 9.5% compared to 2016.

District heating data
  2015 2016 2017
Thermal energy sold (MWh) 490,085 487,896 499,144
Volumes served (thousands of m3) 20,127 20,396 20,935
Housing unit equivalents served (no.) 83,861 84,987 87,231

The housing unit equivalents served were calculated on the basis of an average apartment volume of 240 m3. Excluding AcegasApsAmga.

The thermal energy sold increased by 2.3% in terms of volume compared to 2016, while the volume served increased by 2.6% compared to 2016. The results for 2017 confirm the strategy pursued to strengthen and develop district heating with an increasing share of renewable and assimilated sources: in fact, in 2017 the supply of thermal energy from renewable or assimilated sources increased significantly, reaching a portfolio value of 70% of the energy used.

Housing unit equivalents served per area (2017)