City-zen: Comfort Cooling residential buildings in Houthaven district

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City-zen partners Westpoort Warmte and AEB have developed a plant which enables the use of cold from the adjacent river IJ for cooling of buildings in the Amsterdam Houthaven district.

City-zen was an international consortium, a program stimulating learning-by-doing in Grenoble and Amsterdam between March 2014 and November 2019. The results can be found in a booklet or in detailed reports.

What is the goal of the project?

About ten years ago the City of Amsterdam decided the Houthaven district had to become a 100% climate neutral area. The entire energy demand of the new-build homes, offices, school and other buildings had to be as sustainable as possible, based on the principle of ‘trias energetica’. Back then the city believed cooling would be in high demand for comfortable living. So it decided that all newly-build apartments had to be connected to a central cooling system. That’s how the idea for the comfort cooling system – a plant pumping cold water out of the river IJ in winter and storing the cold for cooling apartments during hot summer days – was born. In addition the apartments were connected to the city heat system in which heat is generated by the waste-to-energy plant AEB.

What is the result of the project?

Combining the sustainable cooling and city heat system, every home in the Houthaven district emits 80 % less CO2-emission than apartments using a boiler and air-conditioning. But, more importantly, it creates comfortable living.

Who initiated the project and which organizations are involved?

The District Heating and Comfort Cooling network are operated by Westpoort Warmte. AEB delivers heat. The Comfort Cooling project is part of City-zen, an European funded Smart Cities and Communities project with 23 partners. City-zen focuses on energy transition. Demonstrations take place in Amsterdam and Grenoble.

What is the next step?

The cold plant is operational and the cold distribution network is in place. The first buildings in the district, an elementary school, is connected to the cold network and the first reactions are promising. In 2015 the first dwellings in the Houthaven district have been delivered.

Up to 300 dwellings will be connected yearly, until the Houthaven district is completed in 2021, with 2000 dwellings in total. The cold and heat grid will be developed in tandem.