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District Heating in the United States


The article analyzed in this discussion is from the PBS NEWS HOUR website (Mingle, 2021). The author evaluates the use of energy for heating in most United States home and the fact that change is necessary for environmental preservation. The article examines the historical perspective of home and business heating in various US states and identifies this as an avenue for the release of greenhouse gases that, in turn, make the earth less hospitable. The author analyzes plans in place by various states to implement renewable and sustainable energy sources that are both affordable and environmentally friendly.

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Article Overview and Types of Thermal Energy

The majority source of heating for the last century in most US states has been gas. This energy source is responsible for over 50% of carbon emissions that endanger the environment and make the earth less hospitable for human beings (Mingle, 2021). The heat is for warming homes and heating activities in industries. Philadelphia, for example, has a gas supply system for various buildings that ensure the availability of gas to every dwelling. The state recently decided that it is unsuitable to continue using gas on account of the environment. The state came up with alternatives that include district heating systems. The state plans to use the already existing gas supply infrastructure that is already in place to provide other alternative fuels that will ensure environmental protection. The suggested forms of energy include geothermal power, electricity, renewable natural gas, and biogas. The new alternatives will be connected to buildings within the state just like gas was. Other states have embraced a similar initiative to Philadelphia’s. These include New York which has plans underway to exploit geothermal power sources and ensure efficient energy supply.

Energy Savings by Coupling Multiple Buildings Together

Mingle (2021) analyzes the possible cost of installing a district heating system. The cost of installing various district heating systems varies depending on the source of energy. Various energy sources require different infrastructural adjustments to the preexisting building. Running a heat pump would cost between $34 to $53 while running a renewable natural gas would cost $160 to $263. The variations in the prices indicate that some district heating systems are more sustainable than others for the state. Generally, the cost of setting up the district power system is the largest expense likely to be incurred during the entire endeavor. The cost of maintaining the system once they have been established is likely to be negligible due to the minimal demands and regular uninterrupted flow of power. The cost of these systems will also be low due to the minimal wastage of the power sources.

Relationship of the Article to Class Work

Content gained from this article about district power systems intricately relates to various concepts already covered in class. Mingle (2021) addresses the impact non-renewable energy sources use has on the environment and adds to the knowledge already gained on this concept in class. The article also addresses the costs of energy when the source is linked to various buildings and this connection is a crucial step in ensuring power is available for all people despite their socioeconomic status. The article also offers a brief background to the energy use in the US in the past and helps shape decision-making and an understanding of the necessary future endeavors that aim at providing both affordable and safe energy to the people of the United States.


Mingle, J. (2021). Cities confront climate challenge: How to move from gas to electricity? PBS NewsHour. Web.

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