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Low Energy Districts

Low Energy Districts


Organizational, structural and governance aspects

Engage with political leaders in a systematic way

New tools for cities to more easily implement best practices, also allowing collaboration and transparency with citizens and partners from the beginning to avoid problems later in development

Virtual Power Plant (VPP) as energy community management, increasing interoperability between systems;

Giving residents the power to control their own systems


Legal aspects

Considering the renovations of buildings individually but the energy system at community level. IE if you want to use excess heat from sewage water, it is more efficient to do this with several buildings. IE2: in protected buildings it is not possible to install PV but it would be possible to use PV from nearby buildings


Economic aspects

CO2 tax and Electricity certificate system which gives extra costs if you use fossil fuels and incentives if you produce renewable electricity

Communication, co-creation and engagement aspects

Knowledge transfer - through the presentation of concrete results between lighthouse and follower cities

Work together - commission working closely with cities helps to understand their needs

Residents’ association and other groups that can share the benefits that would accrue from the low carbon systems:

  • Raise awareness among the people in the city on the importance of refurbishment. They need to be aware of the benefits, not only economic, but focus on the quality of life (thermal comfort)
  • “Showing off” successful pilot/demonstration which should be made visible
  • Organise site visits (touch + feel)



Sharing best practices between cities – access existing knowledge

How easy the technology is? How available it is?



Organizational, structural and governance aspects

Local energy management systems (EMS) for low energy districts can be very complex:

  • lack of standards and protocols à no turnkey solution
  • not yet economically feasible
  • privacy issues

Energy management is more complicated with increasing number of renewables

Legal aspects

Legal and policy framework for data protection and privacy are missing

Although legislation for self-consumption of electricity is more common nowadays, there is a lack of legislation for heating

e.g. In Sweden if you install more than 255 kW PV/ property you are seen as a producer and need to startup an energy company and pay taxes as such even if you are using the energy in your own organization

Data is available, it is difficult to access

Heritage and special protection of buildings is a problem to reach low energy districts

Abundance of regulations and authorized administrations in relation to planning of building renovations

For houses with different owners, ALL owners have to agree to measures that concern energy provision

impossibility to use public space for private facilities, such as biomass boilers, geotermal instalations, thermal exchangers

The energy regulations for buildings are on the building level. This is a barrier if you want to look at the energy system for a community. This is specially complex for energy balance by sharing with other buildings

Economic aspects

Low energy price and lack of business models for the low energy districts

Business model requires mass production and uptake to make this work long term


To stablish a fluid communication with electrical companies to Access the data from the Smart meters



Organizational, structural and governance aspects

Forecasting techniques for energy demand and production and storage capacity are nowadays critical to assure the feasibility and availability of energy in the grid

Virtual Power Plant (VPP) as energy community management, increasing interoperability between systems;

Legal aspects

Local political leadership can really drive change, need to engage with them in a systematic way

Aggregate data so the ownership and information of the dwellings remain anonymous.

Energy regulations that allow to look at the energy system for a community, using excess heat from nearby buildings: energy supply regulations on a community level

Economic aspects

Utilise standards to drive change and strengthen business cases

More stable subsidies

Change current business models in the sense that they should not be only based on profit but also on avoiding future costs and on other indicators: social, health etc.

Communication, co-creation and engagement aspects

More bottom-up communication and co-creation

More resources invested in communication/participation to accompany on the long term and increase the quality and move towards more participatory processes since the very beginning of the project

Ensure communication with grid operators from the very beginning of the processes


Develop other types of indicators/variables (not only related to energy savings, which in some cases are related with long payback periods)

Lesson identified at: