Dublin District Heating System

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What is District Heating?

District Heating (DH) are thermal energy networks that distribute hot water or steam through insulated dual (supply and return) pipe lines to serve commercial, residential, institutional and industrial energy needs for space heating, hot water, space cooling and industrial purposes. DH systems allow heat energy as distinguished from fuel to be bought and sold as a commodity.

DH systems offer advantages in terms of higher energy efficiencies, reduced consumption of energy resources and are fully compatible with European and National policies and objectives for carbon dioxide reduction, energy efficiency, security of energy supply, sustainability and competitiveness.  DH can also offer capital cost savings and reduced operating and maintenance costs to commercial and residential customers.

Dublin City Council District Heating Corporate Policy

Dublin City Council has previously committed to progressing a Dublin District Heating System, initially focused in the general area of the Dublin Docklands and Poolbeg Peninsula in numerous plans and reports.

  • Dublin City Development Plan 2011 – 2017
  • Dublin City (Draft) Development Plan 2016 - 2022
  • North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) Planning Scheme 2014.
  • Dublin Waste to Energy Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Planning application.
  • Climate Change Strategy for Dublin City 2008 - 2012

Reports on District Heating for Dublin

In 2006 and 2007, engineering consultants carried out a feasibility study for the development of a Dublin District Heating System.  This feasibility study was partly funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and is called “District heating for Dublin Feasibility Study July 2008”.

A brochure for the “Dublin District Heating System” was published by the City of Dublin Energy Management Agency (Codema) and gives a very good outline of what is District Heating and how it works.

Dublin City Spatial Energy Demand Analysis – June 2015” prepared by Codema, which shows 75% of Dublin City has heat demands suitable for DH.  This is important as heat demand mapping is always the first step and best practice in planning for DH and is recommended by all EU/UNEP guides to DH.  It also shows that DH feasibility is not confined to the Docklands.

In 2005 Codema, on behalf of Dublin City Council, began the process to develop the “Dublin City Sustainable Energy Action Plan 2010 - 2020”.  Dublin City Council has taken the initiative to produce the Action Plan in order to reduce Dublin’s carbon footprint and to become an energy-smart and efficient city.  The Action Plan sets out and evaluates how we can reduce energy consumption in areas such as planning, transport, residential and commercial buildings, while incorporating the use of renewable energy.

Investment to date

DCC has already invested in elements of a district heating network in Dublin.


Widening, at design stage, of the Liffey Services Tunnel (marked in blue above) close to the East Link Bridge to accommodate district heating pipes.

Photo of District Heating pipe laying courtesy of RPS Consulting Engineers

Installed infrastructure (in blue) under the new LUAS (Line C1 to the Point Theatre) Mayor Street Upper and the surrounding area to accommodate district heating.

Other works by Developers


A new road is being constructed alongside the 3 Arena (Point Theatre) under Planning Number DSDZ3630/15, District Heating pipes are being installed as part of these works.

Where do we go from here?

DCC has engaged the services of a Danish district heating consultant which is currently preparing a recommendation regarding appropriate business/commercial delivery models and the role of Dublin City Council, if any, in the ownership, delivery, operation and maintenance of each of the following:

  • heat generation / source
  • heat distribution network
  • heat supply to customers

The consultant is also completing a high-level review of engineering options for the delivery of district heating, developing engineering options to a strategic / feasibility level of detail, identifying project risks and making recommendations as to how these risks could be addressed in future designs.

Following a recent advertisement towards the end of 2018 on the E-tenders’ webpage, which sought views from the market on the project, we are currently finalising recommendations on the most appropriate Business Delivery Model Strategy.

Technical Details for Developers

The Technical Details for Developers document outlines technical specifications which can be used as a basis to be compliant with the planning condition to be district heating enabled.  They provide a guide to the installation requirements of all developments, including the specific standards to adhere to.

Some relevant links

Information updated April 2019

For more information

Dublin District Heating System, Technical Services Division,

Block 2, Floor 4, Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8.

Email: ddhs@dublincity.ie