Buurtwarmte, Netherlands

This project in Groningen will be one of the firsts in the Netherlands to replace the ‘traditional’ natural gas grid by a district heating network. It is one of the most advanced community-led district heating projects in the entire country.


The pilot is located in the North-Western part of the city of Groningen. Most of the houses were built in the 1960’s and 1970’s, therefore they are not very well insulated. Some homeowners have done energy retrofits over the past years, but most of them haven’t, so the energy required from the district heating network must have the capacity to heat both well and less insulated houses.  In order to replace the old heating infrastructure, all these individual households need to join in and participate into the new district heating project. Most houses are owned by elderly people that have been living in the community since the beginning but there are young people (even families with children) too. There are also houses that serve as student homes and that host up to 6 students.

Since the national and local government cannot force anyone to connect to the district heating network, the cooperative will have to foster the engagement and participation of the inhabitants. Preliminary financial calculations show that the project needs a participation rate of at least 70% of the community to be economically viable. 


Goal Number 01

Deploy a sustainable district heating network, substituting natural gas for more than 3.000 households

Goal Number 02

Get more than 70% of citizens in targeted neighbourhoods to join in

Goal Number 03

Organize local ownership of the collective heating system