Upgrade DH

Upgrading the performance of district heating networks in Europe


  • Energy supply
  • Energy efficiency
  • District heating
  • Energy concept


  • Knowledge transfer
  • Development
  • Research
  • Technology transfer
  • Consulting


  • Public funding


05/2018 – 04/2021 (3 years)


1.99 m. EUR


The Upgrade DH project aims to improve the performance of inefficient district heating networks in Europe by supporting selected demonstration cases for upgrading. The results will be universalised to be replicated in Europe.


Horizon 2020


  • WIP  Renewable Energies (DE)
  • Steinbeis Research Institute Solites (DE)
  • Lithuanian District Heating Association (LT)
  • Salcininku Silumos Tinklai (LT)
  • JP Elektroprivreda BiH d.d. (BA)
  • AGFW-Projektgesellschaft für Rationalisierung, Information und Standardisierung mbH (DE)
  • University of Zagreb, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (HR)
  • COWI A/S (DK)
  • OPTIT Srl (IT)
  • Gruppo Hera (IT)
  • Euroheat & Power (BE)


The project Upgrade DH aims at improving the efficiency of existing distrct heating networks. Eight distrct heating networks in Europe are serving as demonstration cases and are supported during the modernisation process of heat supply, distribution and use from the first evaluation until the implementation phase. The modernisation includes efficiency measures, integration of renewable energies and coupling of the thermal and electrical sector.


The project includes following content related activities:

  • Creation of best practices on projects and tools
  • Assessment and diagnosis of demonstration cases
  • Local action plans and feasibility of retrofitting measures
  • Financing, business models and initiating investments
  • Regional/national action plans & European wide replication

Solites coordinates the assessment and diagnosis of demonstration cases and creation of local working groups. Eight existing district heating networks are analysed in this work package. The analysis is also performed by a local working group with a variety of stakeholders that is formed as part of the work package. Solites supports the analysis process of the local working groups and helps with expert knowledge to find suitable improvement measures. Furthermore, Solites supports the process of finding funding for the measures as well as during the implementation phase. Generally, Solites is providing expert knowledge in the sector of solar thermal heat supply as well as storage technologies and coordinates dissemination tasks as webinars.


  • The project shall initiate the primary energy demand reduction of 190 GWh/a and emission reduction of 77,000 t CO2-Equivalent
  • Increase of the share of excess heat by more than 6 % in the eight demo cases (currently  7 %)
  • Increase the share of renewable heat by more than 20 % in the eight demo cases (currently  28 %)
  • Development of regional/national action plans for modernisation of district heating networks
  • Replication of the suggested modernisation solutions throughout Europe by associations and the European Innovation and Technology Platforms (ETIPs)

Downloads and links

Carlo Winterscheid

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme

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