Prospects for District Heating in the United States

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Science  11 Mar 1977:
Vol. 195, Issue 4282, pp. 948-955
DOI: 10.1126/science.195.4282.948


Large-scale district heating, using waste heat rejected by electric power plants and other sources, is presented as a means of reducing significantly the amount of fossil fuel consumed for residential and commercial space and water heating in the United States. Analysis of the technical and economic aspects of model district heating systems for nine U.S. urban areas shows that district heat service to residential and commercial consumers would be economically attractive. Projections of national service levels show that up to half of the U.S. population could be served by district heating at costs that are competitive with the present costs of imported oil and also with projected costs of new energy forms. An advantage of district heat over the latter is that it is a proved, simple technology.