What Are the Latest Innovations in District Heating Networks?

With the goal of Net Zero by 2050 looming, the way we heat the built environment must undergo considerable change. More pressingly, the Future Homes Standard is set to phase out gas boilers and impose stricter efficiency standards across the residential sector by 2025. It’s with these agendas in mind that developers must look to move away from fossil fuels in heating and hot water applications.

As low carbon alternatives emerge, district heating systems are one such solution set to play a pivotal role. Historically powered by gas or combined heat and power (CHP), district heating now benefits from a variety of renewable energy sources. As such, heat pumps, solar thermal energy and even waste heat may be used for heating water.

Heat sources are not the only innovations to be aware of when it comes to district heating. The future also holds significant developments when it comes to system components. Underground heating pipe networks are integral for the supply and transport of hot water to each building. Here, REHAU’s heat network solutions stand as innovative products for meeting sustainability and energy efficiency requirements.

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RAUTHERMEX underground pre-insulated pipe offers excellent thermal insulation with PU foam and a superior lambda value of 0.0199W/mK. This is thanks to a combination of special process technology and fine-pored PU foam. Systems can benefit from optimum efficiency as the district heating pipes maintain minimal heat losses during operation. RAUTHERMEX Plus is also available, which provides thicker insulation for up to 20% lower heat loss in more demanding projects.

Due to its bonded foam structure, the product doesn't require compensation for thermal expansion. This makes installation a quick and simple process. Pipe coil lengths reach up to 570m to allow for long stretches without detriment to flexibility. At the same time, corrosion-free materials ensure a high degree of durability throughout the design.


In projects where adaptability is key, RAUVITHERM pre-insulated flexible pipe presents the ideal solution. Its corrugated outer jacket delivers low bending forces and small bending radii for robust design and superior flexibility. This enables installers to navigate extremely complex connections and space constraints in heat networks.

Designed with a multi-layer composition and low thermal conductivity, pipeline heating systems are granted high thermal insulation. RAUVITHERM is available in pipe coil lengths up to 330m, which are 50% longer than similar products on the market. Extensive measurements reduce the need for couplers and enable high laying speed. 

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PP-R District Heating Pipes

PP-R can be easily combined with RAUVITHERM and RAUTHERMEX PE-Xa solutions to achieve polymer connections across the entirety of district heating pipework. Polymer material suits lower circulation temperatures, providing lowered heat losses while making installation simpler. 

The product itself is up to 37% lighter than steel, allowing for easier handling. Furthermore, no expansion bends are required which generates savings during installation.

Another stand-out feature is durability. PP-R has excellent corrosion resistance that negates leak detection requirements and boasts an over 50-year lifespan at 70°C and 9.5 bar.


When carrying out pre-insulated pipework connections, RAUTOOL serves as a simple and easy installation device. The use of compression sleeve technology here means hot works are not required.

Combining RAUTOOL with RAUVITHERM’s renowned Everloc joining system, contractors can benefit from straightforward installation, proven over 850,000,000 times to date. Simple visual inspection verifies a proper connection, in what is truly a ‘fit and forget’ approach to installation. 

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Engineering progress

Enhancing lives

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