Saving customers’ money and securing an optimal district heating system

Heat energy optimization

The roughest heat meter type on the market for large-scale consumers

Niels Ladefoged from Viborg District Heating Denmark is a living proof that there is always a better solution. He has for a number of years actively contributed to the research and development of the Kamstrup products by providing wishes, demands and his cooperation. And people listen to Niels Ladefoged who has been in the district heating business for more than 25 years and functions as a service technician in a meter park of 7,838 installations.

Niels Ladefoged has been with Viborg District Heating since 1996. In 2000 he laid the first stone of a total renewal of the meter park – a project which brought in Kamstrup as supplier of heat meters.

Large heat consumers deserve more

It was therefore only natural that Viborg District Heating in 2009 was

among the first to install the latest heat meter from Kamstrup, the MULTICAL 801, at their large consumers.

MULTICAL 801 stands out as the roughest meter type on the market. As well in relation to functionalities as in relation to design, this meter is tailored for the industrial and commercial segment that typically demands very robust equipment.

“MULTICAL 801 serves our large-scale customers just right,” says Niels Ladefoged. “This kind of consumers often has building automation and will benefit from drawing the heat meter and thereby the heat consumption into the control system. They have to account on a monthly basis for their heat consumption, and because this meter has room for two communication forms, they and we can both collect data from the meter, even

though they may read via LON to CTS and we read via radio.”

And then this meter has a backlit display – a small detail highly valued by Niels Ladefoged: “A meter like this is rarely placed where this feature isn’t helpful! The MULTICAL 801 energy meter suits our large consumers perfectly.”

So far, MULTICAL 801 has been installed at a handful of large-scale consumers.

Energy counselling

Of the 14 employees at Viborg District Heating two are working with energy counselling. Much of this counselling work is based on information from the heat meters. In Viborg, meters are read every month, and in case of deviations from the normal consumption pattern, the customer will receive a written offer of energy counselling.

“If we can lower the return temperature by just one degree, we will achieve a yearly saving of almost 30.000 Euro.” 

Niels Ladefoged, Service Technician at Viborg District Heating

All features exploited

More analysis data ensures better detection of deviations and minimisation of loss in the grid

As a matter of fact, Viborg District heating is one of those utilities that exploit all functions of the heat meters. The reason is simple: the more data you get to analyse, the better and quicker you are able to detect deviations and minimise loss in the grid. All meters in private households are therefore ordered with hourly logging depth so that consumption data can be analysed down to an hourly basis.

Tariffing lays the ground for savings

The goal is to achieve savings – in the operation and at the customers. Viborg District Heating has decided that all imposed energy savings must be obtained in the own grid which is why the whole system needs a trimming.

For a number of years the tariff function in the meters has been used for tariffing the return temperature as a means of financial incentive. This has

not only an effect on the customers’ energy awareness and economy, but also on the operation of the utility. “If we can lower the return temperature by just one degree, we will achieve a yearly saving of almost 30.000 Euro,” Niels Ladefoged explains; and he complements by giving an example of a large-scale customer who had to make an additional payment of 240,000 Euro because of too low delta T; but two years later when he had optimised his heating installations, he received an extra 107,000 Euro in return.

Private radio network

Viborg District Heating can effortlessly access the plenitude of consumption data because most of the meters in the grid are equipped with a radio module and read by the utility’s own radio network. “Originally the meters were equipped with a telephone modem, but the dependency of the tele provider was sometimes

an obstacle. Today we run our own radio based network.

The software for reading the meters, linked together in the radio network, is placed on Viborg District Heating’s own servers, and the utility handles the system itself. “I was in charge of implementing the system – an exciting, but also demanding process”, says Niels Ladefoged. “We are regularly expanding the system, and it therefore makes sense that we handle it ourselves. And once the meters are trimmed in, everything is running automatically without us having to intervene.”

The future will be sustainable

Viborg District Heating used to get all its heat energy delivered from Viborg Kraftvarme A/S (Viborg CHP), but there are new plans for the future. A plant for waste incineration is planned and expected to be able to produce what amounts to 50 % of Viborg District Heating’s heat sales.
Viborg District Heating, Denmark

Yearly heat sales ca. 200,000 MWh

293 km distribution system
7,838 installations
Ca. 500 large scale/industrial customers


- Total renewal of the heat meter fleet


- Radio based reading of all heat meters

- Operation handled by Viborg District Heating

Timeframe: 2000 and 2009

Contact for further information

Viborg District Heating (Viborg Fjernvarme)
Niels Ladefoged, Service Technician
Håndværkervej 6 
DK - 8800 Viborg 
Phone: +45 87 27 58 00
Industrivej 28, Stilling 
DK-8660 Skanderborg 
Phone: +45 89 93 10 00
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