A positive business case

Anticipated improvements are: a 40 % reduction in water losses, zero engineer call-outs, and a short payback period

AffaldVarme Aarhus, the district heating supplier in Denmark's second-largest city, switched from mechanical to electronic meters about 15 years ago. The company was therefore aware that many meters would soon be due for replacement when the metering situation was mapped out in Aarhus Municipality four years ago. Here calculations showed that two thirds of the meters would have to be replaced within a few years.

“So we decided that we might just as well make the changeover in the most intelligent way and replace all 53,500 meters,” explains Erik Brender, project manager at AffaldVarme Aarhus.

Less water wasted and lower costs
Water losses in the pipeline network will be

a priority area with the new heat meters.

At present AffaldVarme Aarhus loses about 285 cubic metres of water per day.  According to Erik Brender, the Project Manager, all those cubic metres amount to a lot of money in a year. However, when the new remotely read meters are installed, AffaldVarme Aarhus will be able to reduce the waste appreciably – benefitting both its bottom line and the environment.

Thus the intelligent heat meters will have a far greater effect than simply calculating consumption.

Fewer spot checks needed with electronic meter controls

Together with remote meter reading, AffaldVarme Aarhus is introducing electronic meter controls. Explained briefly, that means

the heat meters check their own measuring precision by means of two identical flow meters and three temperature sensors. This system was invented by Kamstrup, and tested by the independent DELTA Institute and approved by the Danish authorities (DANAK).

Electronic meter checking means that the district heating plant only needs to select three meters for spot checks, no matter how many meters the district heating plant has.

In this way AffaldVarme saves the costly annual process of sending engineers out to thousands of meters to carry out tests and replacements. In the same way, consumers are saved from engineers' visits, which will be stopped two years after installation is completed.

“We expect to be able to reduce the waste to about 160 cubic metres a day, which will save us around 1.6 million kroner a year. It all adds up to a positive business case, and we expect to recoup the investment long before the end of the expected 16-year lifetime.”

Erik Brender, project manager at AffaldVarme Aarhus

Consumers can access their own data

Kamstrup is system operator and at the same time supplies meter data and surveillance of the system for leakages

For AffaldVarme Aarhus the installation of remotely-read heat meters means access to specific customer data, which will enable the heating supplier to plan production down to the last detail. Among other things, the new meters will supply data about

  • litres per hour

  • here-and-now temperatures

  • errors

  • leakages

  • bursts or breaks within two minutes

“The new meters also allow consumers to gain better insights, as they will have access to their own data. From now on it will be far easier for them to see where they can save on

their energy consumption,” Erik Brender points out.   

The district heating supplier is planning to share the large quantities of data regularly on the Open Data Aarhus website odaa.dk, where it will be freely accessible to anyone who is interested. The idea is that in this way AffaldVarme Aarhus and Aarhus Municipality can supply entrepreneurs and inventive business people with data which could be the starting point for developing new apps and technologies.   

Excellent collaboration

Collaboration between Kamstrup and AffaldVarme Aarhus has run very smoothly, and according to Erik Brender the meter project will be

implemented jointly.

“This is being run as a 'we project'. If there is anything in the contract that we do not agree on along the way, I sit down with Kamstrup's project manager, so that we can agree together on a proposal for the management,” explains Erik Brender.

A second tendering round for the remaining meters, totalling about 30,000, is planned for early 2015. Installation is expected to take 20 months, and when it is completed, AffaldVarme Aarhus will have the most technologically advanced and efficient district heating supply on the market.
District heating Aarhus, Denmark

  • 53,500 district heating connections
  • Automated meter reading
  • System operation by Kamstrup
  • Leak surveillance
  • Electronic meter control

Time frame: 2012-2017

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