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 in an area comprising mostly of privately owned dwellings. In the neighborhood Selwerd-Zuid a heating network is being installed for more than 200 houses. Together with a working group of residents in Selwerd-Zuid, an attractive and sustainable offer is made to connect to the heating district.


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, individual households need to join in and participate into the new district heating project. A lot of 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. In this area energy poverty plays an important role. For this reason, helping citizens with saving energy is also an important aspect in this neighborhood.

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. A participatory approach to the heat transition is going to be possible thanks to national subsidies: Selwerd-Zuid is one of the neighborhoods in the Netherlands that are part of a knowledge and learning program.


Goal Number 01

Get more than 60% of citizens in targeted neighbourhoods to sign a declaration of intent to connect to the sustainable district heating network.

Goal Number 02

To have all citizens who signed the declaration of intent, signing a contract to connect to the district heating network.

Goal Number 03

The residents that are connected have a say in the decision making on the collective heating system.