Some years ago, the most common heating systems in apartment blocks were centralized or independent. Both these solutions have advantages and disadvantages.
Centralized Heating Systems
The installation cost of a single plant is less than the sum of many single-family plants, also the maintenance and control costs will be shared equally between all buildings. Not to mention the fact that the central boiler has a life longer than the individual boilers. The thermal power that must be installed to heat a building with one central boiler is less than the sum of many powers that are needed for independent systems; as a result, the relative energy consumption is less than in centralized systems. In addition, the thermal efficiency of a single central boiler is better than many individual boilers.
Some disadvantages of this system type are: the unequal distribution of costs, because it is not possible to determine with accuracy and precision individual consumption and the difficulty of managing its own comfort.
Independent Heating Systems
It operates independently the temperature, so you can turn off the boiler when absent, or adjusting the thermostat, lower the temperature, pointing out that the apartment still receives a partial heating free, thanks to the heat coming from the neighbouring flats. You only pay for the fuel that is consumed, and then, thanks to a more responsible management of heating, almost always a cheaper bill. Last but not least, the long discussion between the flat owners on the level of heating costs and their balance will disappear.
Disadvantages are: installation costs, maintenance costs and total emissions higher than building fitting centralized systems.
The centralized plants with a consumption metering system are the new and more efficient alternative to the two solutions just presented. This system combines the advantages of the centralized system with the independent one, but doesn’t have drawbacks.
Consumption Metering System
A consumption metering system guarantees the opportunity to manage independently the thermal requirements of each unit.
The boiler is always unique for the building, then the maintenance and control costs shall be equally distributed to all flats.
In this case the boiler is not inside the flat, so it’s possible to have any size and have greater security. In addition, with individual meters, the division of the costs of heating is based on what actually consumes each flat owner. In this way, it is possible to lower the use of fuel (between 10% and 30% per annum) and consequently a reduction of harmful emission in the air saving the environment.