Rotterdam implements energy transition
© Skitterphoto

Rotterdam implements energy transition

The City of Rotterdam in the Netherlands has implemented cost-effective ways of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.

One of its main strategies is to increase the use of district heating.

The port of Rotterdam’s waste incinerator and industries generates enough waste heat to supply one million households with hot water. With a population of 630,000, Rotterdam therefore has substantial potential for district heating to share residual industrial heat with homes, businesses, and institutions. The use of district heating is integral to Rotterdam’s plan to phase out natural gas and reduce carbon emissions.

Some 20% of Rotterdam’s homes are now using district heating, eliminating the emission of 182,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Under a provision to the Rotterdam Building Act in July 2007, any new buildings being constructed in an area that already has district heating must be connected to the system. Astrid Madsen, who manages the city’s district heating and cooling programme, said: “New buildings are not the challenge, existing buildings are.”

An estimated 80-90% of the buildings that will be standing in Rotterdam in 2050 are already built, Madsen added.

Rotterdam is not only working with other cities and its region to expand district heating, it is also internationally active. The city is part of an international district cooling and heating consortium known as CELSIUS. The consortium brings Rotterdam together with four other European cities with similar energy baselines – Cologne, Germany; Genoa, Italy; London, UK; and Gothenburg, Sweden – and 20 other partners that include energy companies, research institutions and universities. Together, they form a network of more than 50 cities, exchanging knowledge and experience.

The city is also pursuing various other initiatives to strengthen environmental education for its children, subsidise green roofs and facades to make the city more climate resilient, and replace conventional lighting in public spaces with energy saving light-emitting diodes (LEDs).