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Ltd. “Salaspils Siltums” supplies heat to the heat meter of an apartment house – the border of ownership. Authorized representatives (house managers) elected by the residents of the house are responsible for further distribution of heat energy to hot water and heating and redistribution to apartments. According to the house’s calculation methodology, the house manager shall perform the distribution as mentioned above of the consumed heat energy, issue bills, perform collection work, and pay to “Salaspils Siltums” for the house’s heat consumption for the previous month by the 20th.
Maintenance and upkeep of the internal heat supply system (that belongs to all the residents of a house) are also incorporated into the house manager’s duties. Residents pay the house manager for all these and other home maintenance works.
According to the heat energy supply service tariff calculation methodology, the district heating company calculates the heat energy tariff. The methodology has been developed by an independent state institution – the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The heat supply company submits its tariff calculations together with all documents justifying the costs for approval to PUC. PUC checks the reasonableness of expenses, the accuracy of calculations and approves the heat energy tariff.
Paragraph 15 of the Methodology states: The draft tariff does not include debtors’ costs (provisions for doubtful debtors).
Bills for heat in similar houses might vary greatly, even though the price (tariff) of heat in the city is the same for everyone. Payment for heat depends to a large extent on the amount of heat consumed. The amount of heat consumption depends on what indoor temperature residents choose to receive and on how much heat loss the building has. By significantly reducing heat losses to a building, heat bills are usually reduced by a third or even a half. Some insulated buildings in Salaspils have reduced their heat energy consumption considerably. In the section “Thermal energy consumption MWh by months” on the website of Ltd. “Salaspils Siltums”, you can compare the monthly heat energy consumption for each house and see how much different the heat energy consumption is in similar houses (renovated buildings are marked in green).
Currently, in Salaspils, in houses where heat is produced in their natural gas boilers, one MWh of heat produced costs at least 30% more than heat from Ltd. “Salaspils Siltums”. It is most affected by the higher price of natural gas with lower consumption and lower fuel efficiency. The centralized heat supply system allows to diversify fuel, invest in cogeneration or heat production from renewable energy sources. This procedure significantly reduces the unit cost of heat by choosing the most advantageous source of heat production.
In the past, during the Soviet times, there was a norm that at an average daily outdoor temperature of +8 degrees, the house must be connected to district heating. For several years, such a norm no longer exists. The heat carrier in Salaspils is hot water and LTD. “Salaspils Siltums” supplies heat all year round. This means that the residents decide to connect or disconnect from the heating of the house. The exception is heating main repair works, which are notified about in advance.
Since August 2011, Ltd. Salaspils Siltums has been consistently working to reduce the heat tariff. The company’s significant expense items that are included in the tariff are fuel costs, administrative costs and heat losses. Heat losses occur in both tracks and buildings. As the buildings built during the Soviet times of the company are obsolete, the self-consumption of heat energy is high. To increase the energy efficiency of its production and administrative buildings, the company started building insulation works in April 2013. Thus, we plan to reduce heat consumption by 65%, which will reduce the company’s expenses and will ultimately be reflected in the tariff reduction.
Each apartment that disconnects from the district heating system in an apartment house, in fact, receives at least 15% of the necessary heat energy from the surrounding flats. Energy audits of homes show that the detached apartment, depending on location in the house, receives 15% to 40% of the required heat energy. Part of the house’s heat goes to the common areas (basement, attic, stairwells), which should also be paid for by the apartment, disconnected from the joint system. As a result, the rest of the residents also partially pay for the one who has detached from the heat supply. Also, the uniformity of the heat supply of the rest of the house is disturbed.
During the last two years, Ltd. “Salaspils Siltums” has been working hard to replace the district heating mains. The new industrially insulated heating mains have much lower heat losses than the old type of duct and surface runways. Unfortunately, the world has not yet invented super-technologies that 100% prevent heat loss on the mains. Depending on how deep the heating mains are laid in the ground, the inevitable heat energy losses are visible on the surface (snow melts in spring). The groundwater level often determines the optimal depth of the route. By attracting European Union co-financing, strict requirements are set to reduce heat energy losses. Ltd. “Salaspils Siltums” has fulfilled all the conditions completely and has received EU support.
Unauthorized replacement of the radiator causes serious disturbances to the overall heating system of the house. Replacement of heating radiators in the apartment is possible only by agreeng it with the house manager.
The heating system is jointly owned. Any interference with the heating system is a change that can adversely affect the heat supply and the radiators may remain cold. Therefore, coordination is always necessary: a professional engineer will assess how the planned changes will affect the overall condition of the system and give his opinion accordingly.
In Salaspils, more than half of the multi-apartment houses use outdated, direct connection heat supply systems that are connected directly to the supplier’s heating networks and in which the supplier’s heat carrier circulates.
Replacing the old system with a modern automated one will increase the overall efficiency of the system. This will make it possible to regulate the temperature in the house, reduce heat consumption and avoid unnecessary costs. The more new types of heating substations in the city, the higher the level of security, the better the overall efficiency of the district heating system and, as a result, the lower tariff.
The temperature of the heat carrier in external networks is automatically regulated by the heat producer depending on the outside air temperature. In turn, the temperature regulation in the heating unit of an apartment house is provided by the house manager (its plumber or another person responsible for the heat supply in the house).
Residents are advised to agree on the desired heat temperature in the house by submitting a decision of the apartment owners’ association to the house manager. However, we observe that there is often no such decision and the house manager adjusts the heating unit at his own discretion.
A thermoregulator is a device that is equipped with a thermostat that can be adjusted to ensure comfort in the room. It measures the room temperature and changes the heat supply to the radiator according to the set desired room temperature. If the room temperature reaches the set temperature, the thermostat will shut off the heat supply to the radiator.