Planning tool for buildings & districts

Disadvantages of 5GDHC networks

5th generation district heating and cooling networks have certain disadvantages compared to conventional heating networks. Learn more about the advantages of 5GDHC networks here.


  • The system control of 5GDHC networks is more challenging, since heat pumps (and, if necessary, circulation pumps) are installed and operated decentrally in the buildings.
  • The mass and thus volume flows in 5GDHC networks are higher compared to conventional district heating networks. This is the result of the small temperature differences across the evaporators of the decentralized heat pumps and the resulting smaller temperature differences between the warm and cold pipe of the network. However, it is advantageous that plastic pipes are cheaper compared to conventional steel pipes. Therefore, larger pipe diameters can be selected for plastic pipes for the same cost. Since the pumping work decreases with the fifth power of the pipe diameter, 5GDHC networks do not show significantly larger pumping work than conventional heating networks.
  • The heat transfer stations (substations) in the buildings are more expensive, as they include heat pumps.
  • Although a large number of 5GDHC networks have already been built, there is often a lack of planning and operating experience.
  • By connecting to a heating network, customers are tied to the heating network infrastructure for the long term.
The nPro tool is the first software tool specially developed for planning 5GDHC networks.

Advantages of 5GDHC networks

In addition to the challenges associated with 5GDHC networks, this technology offers many advantages and opportunities. The central advantages of 5GDHC networks are discussed here.


  1. Buffa et al.: 5th generation district heating and cooling systems: A review of existing cases in Europe, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 104:504-522, 2019.

This might also interest you

nPro software

Plan your energy system with nPro!


We inform you about new tool features and services.