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City-ZEN Site Grenoble

Country & City

  • France
  • Grenoble


Contact Information

As a major player in the Local Climate Plan since 2004 and as a Covenant of Mayors’ member since 2008, the city of Grenoble is committed to reducing energy consumption, encouraging the use of renewable energies, promoting social solidarity, setting up alternative forms of transport and developing environmental, architectural and urban quality. The main objectives of the Grenoble Local Climate Plan, launched in 2004, and revised in 2009, remain the reduction of local greenhouse gas emissions by factor 4 by 2050.

Between 2005 and 2010, energy consumption decreased by 5,4 % and greenhouse gas emission were reduced by 18 %. The final energy consumption per inhabitant in 2011 was 19.7 MWh. To go further and turn Grenoble into a true smart city for its inhabitants, the municipality has launched the Éco-cité project in the north side of the town. Eco-cité is gathering private and public stakeholders around demonstration projects for which political decisions have already been taken in the fields of mobility, building and energy.

The overall objective of the City-zen project is to transform the Éco-cité area into a positive energy and carbon neutral district through retrofitting private co-owned buildings and social housing, creating a low-temperature heating and cooling network, and to develop a territorial monitoring system to monitor and manage all energy flows in order to save energy and assess the systems’ and policies’ efficiency.

*Information regarding the technical and financial performance will be available at a later stage.

The total CO2 emission savings amount to 10 900 tonnes per year.

Best Practices

Best Practices



Although the City-zen demonstration projects take place in the frontrunner smart cities of Amsterdam and Grenoble, the project’s focus is sharing its knowledge and experience with other European cities, not only by demonstrating to others how it can be done in the Netherlands and France but by going ‘glocal’ – combining specialist global expertise with local stakeholder energy and knowledge of the context and lifestyle on location. This is achieved by a unique methodology called the City-zen Roadshow. Over a 4-year period, the City-zen Roadshow team will visit 10 cities that are seeking expert guidance on how to become more sustainable and move towards energy neutrality. The team will help these cities and their neighbourhoods to develop a sustainable agenda or, in other words, a sustainable City Vision.

The roadshow spends 5 days in each hosting city to deliver energy and urban design workshops in which all local stakeholders are welcome and encouraged to join and to take ownership of the final outcomes. These outcomes will allow each city’s resources, people, knowledge and renewable energy potential to be directed effectively over a realisable timescale that will meet their energy transition. The process starts by identifying a neighbourhood’s urban lifestyle and energy challenges. Then, on the final day of the event model, a definitive sustainable City Vision is presented to the city that responds to all levels of their built and natural environment.

The City-zen Roadshow team has so far visited Belfast (United Kingdom), Izmir (Turkey), Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Menorca (Spain). The team is currently in preparation talks with Seville (Spain), Roeselare (Belgium) and Klaipeda (Lithuania).


*Further information regarding the technical and financial performance will be available at a later stage.

The interventions being implemented in Grenoble within the City-zen project are:

Energy efficiency in buildings

  • Retrofitting the building envelope
    • 363 dwellings are to be retrofitted with the objective of reaching the level of current thermal regulation for new buildings, leading to a saving of 9600 tonnes of CO2 per year.
    • Experiment with specific supporting actions to ensure the achievement of co-ownership retrofitting (non–technical drivers)
    • Involvement of end-users or the so called consumer focused renovation to prevent the disqualification of their dwelling, to increase comfort and health and control the energy expenses
  • High-performance new buildings
    • The new buildings are designed to be energy-efficient with a CO2 reduction target of 1300 tonnes per year.

Energy systems integration

  • District heating and cooling
    • Adapting the grid’s heat to this new energy-efficient building’s needs, by designing a low pressure district heating loop in order to avoid heat losses compared with the traditional district heating in Grenoble
  • Waste heat recovery
    • Improvement of the overall district energy efficiency by connecting the loop to a heat recovery system from sewage water coupled with heat pumps
  • Thermal storage
    • Demonstration of seasonal storage solutions with dry geothermal boreholes
    • Centralised phase change materials storage to help meet peak demand for heating
    • Solar thermal generation, coupled with PCM storage solutions
  • Neighbourhood energy management system
    • Demonstration of smart management of various energy and water flows, providing an optimised and rational use of local resources
    • Demonstration of a multi-utilities vision through an innovative multi-energy real-time territorial monitoring system, with a user-friendly approach
  • Smart electricity grid
    • Implementing innovative solutions to optimise the electric system