Summary report: A common approach for sustainable heating strategies for partner cities

This report provides a high level summary of a more detailed SHIFFT report which can be accessed via the SHIFFT project website: A Common Approach for Sustainable Heating Strategies.

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, distribution system operators, builders, homeowners, and communities. It requires robust, practical, tested tools and approaches for cities to mobilise, inform and facilitate local communities to make this change.

The common approach is designed to help cities develop a low carbon heating strategy. Its purpose is to help avoid replication of work and overcome some of the complexities in enabling a transition to low carbon heating in homes and community buildings. At a high level, we suggest that a sustainable heating strategy sets out a vision for how to decarbonise heating for a city, with clear goals and a plan for how to achieve these goals, including a roadmap. The common approach SHIFFT has developed is based on literature reviews, practical experience, and two partner workshops.

The common approach framework is based on a step-by-step process that considers barriers and opportunities across technologies, people and policy/regulation. The framework will assist in the process of identifying heat supply & demand, whilst identifying opportunities, actors, technologies, resources and barriers for decarbonising heat in a local area. The SHIFFT framework recognises the need for thorough long-term planning and preparation by local authorities, builders, households, communities and wider stakeholders and highlights best practice, tested tools and approaches so that cities can mobilise, inform and facilitate local communities in the transition to low carbon heat.

Co-creation Webinar Minutes & Report

This is a summary of the cross-border co-creation webinar focused on the sustainable heating transition on April 3rd 2020, organised by Delft University of Technology and University of Exeter.  The webinar was part of SHIFFT (Sustainable Heating: Implementation of Fossil-Free Technologies), an Interreg 2 Seas project, running from 2019-2022, to assist cities in the development of low carbon heating strategies. The webinar covered insights from collective heating pioneers and neighbourhood platforms, as well as several ongoing pilot projects. The webinar also focused on how co-creation can be applied in times of social distancing, by using novel online tools, such as participatory value evaluation, developed at Delft University of

With 78 registrations and at times 64 participants, the webinar was very well attended.

A Common Approach for Sustainable Heating Strategies for Partner Cities

Executive Summary

SHIFFT is an INTERREG 2 Seas project promoting cross-border cooperation between four European countries: the Netherlands, France, Belgium and the UK. The main objective of SHIFFT is to stimulate the adoption of low-carbon heating technologies in existing buildings, through a number of routes:

• helping to develop city strategies in four municipalities;
• producing guidance to help cities develop low carbon heating strategies;
• providing knowledge and best practice to run co-creation processes to ensure communities and stakeholders are involved in the transition to low-carbon heating;
• delivering a number of exemplar low carbon heating projects.

This report sets out some initial work by the SHIFFT team to develop a common framework approach to help cities to create low carbon heating strategies. A common approach can help cities avoid replication of work and overcome some of the complexities in enabling a transition to low carbon heating in homes and community buildings. At a high level, we suggest that a sustainable heating strategy sets out a high-level vision for how this shift will be achieved, with clear goals and a plan or policy on how to achieve these goals, including a roadmap. Drawing on a literature review and practical experience, during two workshops, the SHIFFT partnership has composed a list of key components for sustainable heating strategies. SHIFFT suggests that a sound sustainable heating strategy should:

• offer a clear goal (e.g. carbon- neutrality by 2050) with sub-goals and timeframe (e.g. 2025, 2035);
• develop a roadmap to achieve these goals;
• be co-created by citizens, technical experts, politicians and other stakeholders, so that the strategy developed will be socially legitimate;
• indicate techno-economic feasibility of sustainable heating technologies and solutions and describe under which conditions these technologies are feasible;
• not stand alone but be embedded in other local policies (e.g. climate plan, spatial planning, building regulation);
• build on and feed into heating policy at regional, national and international level (i.e. EU);
• support and steer sustainable heating projects on a district and building level;
• not simply allocate the costs to other domains (e.g. air quality, energy poverty);
• be customised to local conditions;
• be in line with legal and institutional requirements.

State of the art report for Co-creation Approaches and Practices – with a special focus on the Sustainable Heating Transition

Executive summary

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” (African proverb)

The transition to sustainable heating systems (e.g. district heating systems, heat pumps, solar thermal systems, in combination with thermal insulation) is an essential element of an effective response to climate change. But it requires more than technological innovation alone. It entails a system-wide transition that covers both technical and social components, and addresses the supply, distribution, and demand sides of local energy systems.  Heating is a fundamental aspect of the human need for shelter in our climates, and therefore a significant social, cultural, economic, and psychological phenomenon as much as technological.  Heating reaches far into people’s homes and private lives, not just workplaces or leisure contexts,
involving everyday habits and negotiations between building occupants and family members. Heat is a cultural service that cannot only be seen through the lens of economic efficiencies and return on investments. Providing heat is a key aspect of social life (e.g. entertaining guests) and seasonal cultural practices (e.g. wintertime cosiness). In the transition to sustainable heating, homeowners and local communities therefore form essential parts of the system. Their contribution to this transition by deciding to adopt sustainable heating technology for their homes and buildings is key to making it happen and co-creation provides spaces for citizens to share what heating means to them and for stakeholders to build these insights into their programmes for change.
However, residents and home/building owners are generally considered hard to reach and persuade to make investments, and to let go of currently unsustainable heating systems and adopt those that are more sustainable.  This matter is challenging for a myriad of reasons and cost is but one of them.  Despite the urgency to lower carbon emissions there is currently a limited market demand for sustainable heating solutions, particularly among building/homeowners in (existing) dense urban areas. Given the urgency of climate change and pressing socioeconomic issues there is a need to develop, implement and test incentives that target home/building owners to make investments. One promising solution is co-creation with citizens and local stakeholders.

This report clarifies the different meanings for key terms used in co-creation by taking stock of the growing vocabulary used in different approaches to public participation: by defining and comparing different terms and how they have been used. The report describes the challenges, as well as the benefits, of co-creation as well as the importance of managing expectations, power relationships, and sharing responsibility.

Co-creation is an intervention which actively involves citizens and stakeholders in making decisions about issues that affect them. The benefits of co-creation, when done well, include helping to deliver sustainable heating solutions in a timely and efficient way, increasing a sense of empowerment and citizenship as well as contributing to building trust between stakeholders and urban communities.  Through the process citizens and stakeholders share power and responsibility with a view to improving the social legitimacy of decision-making. This means working together in equal, reciprocal and caring relationships to create a more holistic understanding of context and exploring shared responsibilities for energy transitions.