How Warsaw’s district heating system keeps the capital cleaner than Kraków

An article by The Guardian on Warsaw's potential for a sustainable energy transition

The almost complete destruction of the Polish capital during the second world war allowed for the construction of an enormous network of heating pipes, which can be much more efficient than thousands of individual home boilers. 

The reconstruction of Warsaw during the Communist rule lead to the construction of a so-called district heating system, a centralized infrastructure of pipe lines that, when fueled with more sustainable resources might mean a leap in the energy transition of Poland. Despite the country’s low ranking in most environmental charts, the district heating system already contributes to Warsaw living up to London or Berlin standards of relative clean air.

District heating systems are favored among environmentalists for the opportunity they provide to scale up energy transition. Therefore Denmark recently constructed a similar system. However, the infrastructure alone in Warsaw is still the largest of its kind in Europe. If only it were to be fueled with renewable energies!

“it’s simply not a magic solution, a silver bullet,” said Meri Pukarinen, head of the climate and energy unit at Greenpeace Poland.

Its potential environmental benefits will depend on the will power to substitute the now so frequently used fossil fuels such as coal, with a more sustainable alternative.


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