Aligning district energy and building energy efficiency

BPIE supported the UN Environment Programme and the City of Belgrade, as part of the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) Initiative under the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative, by exploring the synergies between aligning principles and approaches for improved efficiency in buildings, through the renovation of existing buildings, and district energy systems.

While the focus is on the City of Belgrade, the aim of this report is to support all public authorities and agencies developing and implementing integrated approaches to both energy efficiency in buildings and district energy supply. It provides guidance to decision-makers in Belgrade, while presenting universal recommendations to align district energy and energy efficiency in buildings. Combining energy efficiency measures and district energy is often seen in the context of achieving deep decarbonisation in the most cost-effective manner. With high levels of energy demand savings on the building side through renovation, it can become more cost-effective to pursue sustainable energy supply options, like district energy based on renewable energy or excess heat, for the remaining energy demand. There are many benefits for owners and occupants of buildings, district energy utilities and public authorities that can be gained from combining and integrating the approaches.

Renovation programmes often target single buildings in a fragmented way and do no exploit the synergies between reducing delivered energy demand and primary energy demand. Shifting the perspective to a district system approach would help to capture interdependencies between supply and demand, which are traditionally treated individually. Combining the approaches to energy efficiency in buildings and the heating system on a district level can effectively match the supply and needs and thus avoid unnecessary investments and lock-in effects.

Examples of policy and financing approaches to district energy and energy efficiency in buildings are investigated, as well as the current approach in Belgrade. Potential business models and financing streams are also examined. Recommendations are made, following discussions with experts and stakeholders about the local challenges at a workshop on this topic in Belgrade in March 2018. These recommendations provide areas of focus for policymakers in Belgrade, as well as being applicable to other cities and regions wishing to develop and implement district energy and energy efficiency approaches.

The research continues the work done in BPIE’s “Renovating Belgrade” report, which outlines the renovation potential and approaches to increasing renovation activities in Belgrade.

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BPIE supports evidence-based policy making by providing data and knowledge through its reports, as well as partnering in several European projects.


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