Cost calculation tool for heat network feasibility

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Until now, insight into the estimated costs of a heat network has been difficult to obtain owing to insufficient information. Consultancy and engineering firm Witteveen+Bos, contractor Heijmans and software specialists The People Group have developed a calculation tool for creating fast and reliable cost estimates. Output from GeoSmartDesign Heat, software for parametrically designing heat networks, provides the basis.

Municipalities increasingly see heat networks as a promising, preferred option for providing sustainable heating. Understanding the breakdown of investment costs and identifying potential complications are important aspects of the feasibility studies required for these networks.

Supply chain integration

In practice, cost estimates are too often based on a combination of outdated assumptions, incorrect margins and overly generous or double mark-ups, in part due to insufficient transparency and/or oversight of the entire system’s cost breakdown. The estimates which result are unreliable and negatively affect the identified feasibility of a heat network.

For producing realistic cost estimates, supply chain integration is essential. Witteveen+Bos, Heijmans and The People Group have made this integration possible with the cost calculation tool. This new tool makes use of current, proven data and incorporates knowledge from Witteveen+Bos as consultants and Heijmans as a contractor. Software specialists The People Group have ensured that the tool is further enhanced with output from GeoSmartDesign Heat.

Transparent cost breakdown

GeoSmartDesign Heat provides the cost calculation tool with the bill of materials[H1]  for a heat network. This offers an accurate oversight of the exact distribution of costs, providing municipalities with better guidance on how to allocate these to stakeholders or departments (e.g. for replacing pavement). Because both consultant and contractor are working on a heat network using the same methodology, design and cost estimate, costs can be saved and the design lead time reduced.

Available now

In the near future, the cost calculation tool will be further automated or, alternatively, incorporated into GeoSmartDesign Heat, enabling quick and accurate analysis of multiple heat network scenarios. GeoSmartDesign Heat will also be expanded to include additional cost-determining objects, making the output even more accurate. The heat network calculation tool is available now to anyone working with GeoSmartDesign Heat.

Casper Hügel (energy consultant – Witteveen+Bos): ‘The collaboration with Heijmans and The People Group ensures knowledge and insights are pooled, leading to better estimates and more accurate oversight of the various cost items and underlying assumptions. This makes it possible to better determine the feasibility of a heat network.’

Berend Doedens (senior adviser, energy transition – Heijmans): ‘In order to produce effective cost estimates, knowledge on works execution needs to be integrated early on. In sharing knowledge on carrying out district heating projects, Heijmans is helping produce more realistic business cases. As a result, fewer projects stall due to excessive costs and the energy transition is accelerated.’

Viktor de Haan (business developer – The People Group): ‘Our collaboration has led to the costs – and, as a result, the benefits – of heat networks being identified faster. Our ambition is to optimise this further with as many users as possible. GeoSmartDesign Heat allows you to design faster and calculate better!’

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