The EU climate strategy, including the European Green Deal, sets ambitious targets for the decarbonization of the EU economy, to be achieved mainly through the reduction of primary energy consumption. The building sector plays a significant role in this transition, as 50% of EU energy consumption is directly or indirectly linked to household demand for heating and cooling. To date, this is mainly provided by the means of fossil fuels. To improve the energy performance of existing buildings, taking advantage of an increased share of renewable energy to cover thermal demand becomes a priority in order to meet the target of climate neutrality by 2050. In the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, the environmental impacts of the production of heat and cooling on air quality and energy demand are significant. The region often has warm seasons where energy demand can increase significantly (for instance, energy demand for cooling increased by 23% in 2019 vs. 2018) and it is poorly provided with district heating and cooling networks.
The HEAT&COOL LIFE project aims to increase the number of district heating and cooling networks powered by renewable energy sources and/or waste heat recovery, in order to reduce the CO2 emissions of the building sector. This main objective will be achieved thanks to:
- a reduction in the heating and cooling demand of buildings already connected to district heating and cooling networks by going from a gain of 46,900 tons/year of CO2 from existing networks in 2017 to around 125,000 tons/year by 2026.
- due to an increase in the size of these networks by removing legal and economic barriers.
The project will also promote economic development and the rise in competence for stakeholders by massifying and replicating H&C networks at regional level and by creation of the conditions for an economically viable development of the district heating market along with building skills and in effect new jobs places.
In addition, actions are planned to replicate and transfer the governance model developed under HEAT&COOL LIFE to other areas or contexts.
Through this, the project will contribute to achieving the EU 2030 and 2050 climate targets and support implementation of the EU's climate strategy "A Clean Planet for all" (COM (2018) 773), the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2018/844/EU) and the Renewable Energy Directive (2018/2001/EU).
- Increase in the district heating and cooling networks powered by more than 60% of renewable energy from over 90 km in 2017 to over 230 km in 2026;
- Increase in the quantity of heating and cooling produced from renewable sources distributed by the district networks from 225 GWh/year in 2017 to 665 GWh/year in 2026;
- Increase in the savings of CO2 equivalent emissions of district heating and cooling networks from almost 47,000 tonnes/year in 2017 to 125,000 tonnes/year in 2026;
- Creation of 460 jobs in the regional sector by 2026, versus 200 jobs today, and 40 trained professionals.