Sustainable heating strategies & guidance for the heating transition

Sustainable Heating: Implementation of Fossil-Free Technology

The transition to sustainable heating for homes and community buildings is an immense, complex operation. It calls for thorough long-term planning and preparation by local authorities, builders, home-owners, etc. It requires robust, practice-tested tools and approaches for cities to mobilise, inform and facilitate local communities to make this change.  This WP delivers two essential, complementary building blocks for cities to make this possible. We will:

  1. Develop sustainable heating strategies for our partner cities. These identify scope, opportunities, actors, technology, resources and barriers and lay out a roadmap for the move to sustainable heating at city & district level.
  2. Generate comprehensive Guidance for local authorities and community groups on how to facilitate and accelerate the transition to sustainable heating of homes and community buildings. The guidance presents policy options, solutions and practical tools to tackle key barriers blocking his transition.

As result of this WP at least 200 additional cities, community groups are informed about SHIFFT Guidance. At least 15 additional local authorities and communities use this to develop local sustainable heating actions or plans.

City Co-creation Pilots: Creating the Sustainable Heating Transition with Local Communities

In the transition to a sustainable heating system home-owners & communities must make an essential contribution by investing in sustainable heating of their buildings. The need for this transition is widely recognised in society. Top-down actions are starting to drive this change (e.g. upcoming ban on oil-burners in BE). The actual bottom-up demand for sustainable heating solutions from individual home-owners and communities is still limited, even if early adopters are switching to sustainable alternatives like heat pumps & infrared panels.

This WP concentrates on working with local communities in a co-creation process to increase bottom-up demand for sustainable heating. In co-creation pilots in our partner territories we engage with different communities to:

  • learn what motivates members of these communities to adopt sustainable heating – are they driven by ‘green’ or monetary arguments or rather co-benefits like thermal comfort, a healthy environment or sense of community?
  • know and solve actual and perceived barriers – e.g. information, established habits, perceived complexity, financial needs?
  • identify and co-create the facilities and incentives these communities need to make the switch, like organising local heating cooperatives, group purchases, financial schemes, etc;
  • trigger investments by local communities in sustainable heating solutions.

We will apply & demonstrate various co-creation approaches and tools (e.g. heating ambassadors, energy cafes, local cooperatives) and analyse the effectiveness of these approaches as input for SHIFFT Guidance (WP1) that will be transferred to other cities (WP5). The co-creation pilots will use the pilot investments (WP3) as engagement and learning tools to demonstrate the potentials of sustainable heating to local communities.

This WP results in:

  • 4290 households involved
  • 3422 tonCO2/year emissions reduced

The EU Investment

Some Key Facts

5,701,122.43 €

Project Budget

3,420,673.46 €

ERDF Amount



10 Partners



End Date


Pilot Investments

Demonstration of Sustainable Heating Technologies

In this WP, we will prepare and deliver a series of investments in sustainable heating solutions in different types of residential and community buildings. These pilot investments will be delivered on buildings owned by SHIFFT partners and will be jointly planned, designed, implemented and evaluated by the partnership. The aim of this WP is to:

  • achieve a significant reduction in the CO2 emissions from heating of involved buildings;
  • demonstrate and compare a range of possible sustainable heating technologies and solutions for various residential and community building types, as input for SHIFFT Guidance for other cities to accelerate the transition to sustainable heating;
  • demonstrate the potential and underline the urgency of changing to sustainable heating at community level, to support the engagement and co-creation process with residents and local stakeholders in co-creation pilots at neighbourhood level in our partner cities.

Pilot buildings have been identified in coordination between the partners, to represent a range of complementary residential and community buildings in all 2 Seas countries. Each pilot investment involves different combinations of sustainable heating technology solutions at different scales of application.

The diversity of the pilots allows us to make a comprehensive analysis and comparison of these different solutions and building types in different countries. Based on this we can make robust recommendations for other cities and community groups for their future sustainable heating investments.

The pilots target the following types of buildings and sustainable heating solutions & technologies:

  • Residential, family homes – Heat batteries combined with insulation (Places for People / Norwich, UK)
  • Social Housing Mahatma Gandhi district – Combination of technologies [to be determined as part of pilot] (Mechelen, BE)
  • Community buildings, social hub, cinema, library, theatre – Heat supply network with wood-boiler (Fourmies, F)
  • Community building, hub for non-profits – Combination of technologies [to be determined as part of pilot] (Middelburg, NL)