Open Access

Life Cycle Assessment of Low Temperature District Heating System in Gulbene Region

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Environmental and Climate Technologies
SPECIAL ISSUE OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE TECHNOLOGIES PART I: The Green Deal Umbrella for Environmental and Climate Technologies


New district heating system technologies have arisen in the last years to deliver economic and environmental benefits to residential and commercial buildings. The extensive ranges of equipment, energy sources, temperature profile configurations, size of the network, energy demand, and many other intrinsic variables, make it difficult to identify if a determined district heating option is potentially better than another in environmental terms. As for the economic evaluation, there are several tools decision-makers can rely on to assess environmental performance. The main challenge is to provide a holistic point of view for which lifespan and complexity of implementable, new technological systems can be an obstacle. For this reason, in this paper, a Life Cycle Assessment is performed upon a technical evaluation of several district heating configuration options for the Gulbene region in Latvia, where DH systems in most of the assessed parishes are already operating under medium temperature regimes, also known as third-generation district heating. The goal of the study is to understand the environmental impact of moving from the current DH system to a low temperature one. Results show a considerable environmental benefit if low-temperature profiles, combined with the use of renewable energy sources are adopted in the current DH systems. A hotspot analysis is also performed showing the use stage is the one carrying most of the burden across the project’s lifetime, followed by infrastructure construction; also showing that the refurbishment of buildings does not play a major role in the total environmental impact contribution.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, other