Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Actions are needed to accelerate the cost effective and energy efficient retrofitting existing, inefficient district heating networks.

Activities supported under this topic should replicate or develop successful technical, managerial, organisational and financial approaches and should lead to the initiation of concrete schemes that guarantee substantial primary energy savings and efficiency gains, including the use of renewable and residual sources of heat as appropriate. Proposals should engage and involve as necessary, those in charge of city networks, district heating companies, managers of buildings blocks, housing associations and other building owners/managers and end consumers. Proposals should also lead to the development of concrete regional or national action plans for the retrofitting of inefficient district heating networks.

As necessary, actions should consider interventions that are needed on the building side, e.g. retrofitting and / or modifications of internal heat distribution systems and system and end user controls. They should also take into account the evolution of thermal demand in the future due to improving building energy performance standards and increased rate of building renovations.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 2 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. This does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

District heating's share on heat supply in Europe is about 7.4%, with some Member States and Associated Countries having a much higher share. In order to preserve existing heating networks and to increase their efficiency, successful approaches to diagnosing and retrofitting inefficient networks, including sustainable business and organisational models, have to be widely promoted and disseminated.

Many systems are old and inefficient and run using fossil fuels. These systems often have poor maintenance, high customer heat costs and limited ability for user control undermining the image of district heating. The result is that a significant number of customers disconnect from district heating networks and install individual heating systems which do not always take advantage of the potential for efficiency gains. The retrofitting of these district heating systems can offer a cost effective approach to supplying efficient heat. Schemes can include city-wide networks or networks at the district/neighbourhood level.

Proposals are expected to demonstrate the impacts listed below, using quantified indicators and targets wherever possible:

  • Primary energy savings and GHG emission savings triggered by the proposed actions (compared to best available solution existing today), considering the different climate regions of Europe;
  • Increased share of waste/residual and renewable sources of heat;
  • Scale of the replicability potential of the proposed solutions;
  • Number of retrofitting approaches initiated by the project within its duration which are integrated in the regional or national action plans.
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