Decarbonising cities – Local resources first!

Last week, we held the final conference of the Hotmaps project “Heating and cooling planning for greener cities: local resources first”.

The event took place entirely online to avoid any health risks, but it included different plenary and parallel sessions to keep it lively and more engaging for the participants. Around 70 people remained online all the time.

After a short welcome, Lukas Kranzl (Hotmaps project manager for Technische Universität Wien), presented the toolbox and identified how different stakeholders involved in heating and cooling (H&C) planning can use it in their everyday work:

  • City planners: as a data-driven decision making tool; as a support to develop Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans and engage with stakeholders, allowing to speed up the process
  • Consultants: as a source of open data and source codes that you can  use for your own tools; as a calculation tool to perform studies for your clients, and a way to more easily work abroad as if offers data for EU 28;
  • Utilities: as a tool to identify potential areas of interest for projects and to easily perform pre-planning studies to be sent to potential customers; as a platform to share common data with your stakeholders;
  • Researchers: as a resource centre for data and methodologies to produce knowledge, and a development platform for further projects.

Access the introductory presentation here

Q&A with Hotmaps pilot areas

The first round of parallel sessions was organised in form of a Q&A: the participants had the chance to learn more about the local H&C strategies developed using Hotmaps by the European pilot areas involved in the project – also Signatories of the European Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. They were also provided with more detailed information on the data collection process to create the Hotmaps’ database.

You can access the presentations below:

Cities going gas-free: visions and models

The plenary discussion around the theme of gas-free cities was moderated by Judith Neyer from Urban Innovation Vienna. Paul Fay, Energy Manager for the Municipality of Frankfurt, presented the city’s goals and strategy. Frankfurt’s masterplan aims at reducing demand by 50% and becoming carbon neutral by 2050. In order to get rid of fossil fuels, Frankfurt aims at extending its district heating (DHC) network and increasing the use of excess heat (for instance from datacentres). Thanks to the Hotmaps toolbox, they found out that this was the cheapest combination of intervention for them. Producing renewable heat seems to be cheaper than deep renovation of buildings, despite the fact that 75% of them will have to be retrofitted. However the problem of supplying peak heat demand in winter remains. Covering peak heat demand without fossil fuels  is still a challenge! Solutions could come from thermal storage and low-carbon gases.

Download the presentation by Frankfurt’s Municipality

Els Struiving presented the very successful energy initiative launched by residents of the Paddepoel district in Groningen (the Netherlands). This area was heavily affected by the earthquakes induced by natural gas extraction. In 2016 they launched the renewable energy community Paddepoel Energiek and together with partner organisations they created Buurtwarmte (“DistrictHeat”) to provide local and  renewable heat to 500 households: “Creating positive examples of sustainable heat is crucial for the success of the heat transition…Hotmaps could be used to allow residents of a certain area to give insights in the strategic choices and opportunities the planners are facing. That will help gain common ground later in the process”.

Julien Joubert from Energy Cities gave an overview of local authorities’ needs and expectation from the soon to be published EU Strategy for Smart Sector Integration. Energy Cities is asking for a local integration based on district heating and cooling and thermal energy.

Access the presentation by Energy Cities

Heating & cooling planning

The second round of parallel sessions allowed the participants to go more into the details of heating and cooling planning at local, regional and national level. The Thermos tool was also presented: this planning tool could be used in combination with Hotmaps, to go further in the planning and support the development of DHC networks.

All presentations are accessible below:

Hotmaps: what next?

A concluding plenary session provided more information on the future of the Hotmaps toolbox after project life. According to Jakob Rager from our Swiss partner CREM, a follow up project called EnerMaps will be based on and expand the Hotmaps’ open source database, but the Hotmaps project team is currently analysing the possibility of creating a more stable structure to continue working on the toolbox while keeping it online and accessible to the public. As explained by Stavros Stamatoukos, Project Adviser at the European Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises, the European Commission is not going to support the creation of addition planning tools; instead, they intend to provide resources to make tools such as Hotmaps accessible and work on their market uptake.

More information

Hotmaps toolbox

Hotmaps wiki

Hotmaps videos