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Newsletter #5 - December 2016

"The best way to predict the future is to create it" - Abraham Lincoln said. Within City-zen we have a strong vision about that future : a city free of fossil fuels. That’s what we want. And that’s what we are creating. Not by talking about it but by ‘simply’ doing it. And along the way we learn because learning-by-doing is our motto. 

In our #5 newsletter you can read all about how we are creating a fossil free city. For example by using cold from water as a source for sustainable energy. Or by experimenting with home batteries to store solar power. And about how to make monumental buildings futureproof. This newsletter is meant to share our learnings so everybody can benefit of what we are doing in Amsterdam and Grenoble. Feel free to contact us anytime if you want to know more. Enjoy reading our stories !

Cooling homes by using cold from the river : in Amsterdam it's done

“In The Netherlands, we know about pumping water. We’ve been doing it for hundreds of years. Aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) also is common in The Netherlands. Both techniques aren’t new. Combining these two proven technologies is however what makes the comfort cooling plant in our Houthaven district innovative.”

Jannis van Zanten, project leader heat at AEB, explains when asked about the sustainable cooling project in Amsterdam which was co-financed by City-zen.

Waternet and Sanquin join efforts to use cold from drinking water infrastructure for cooling

Beginning of November, an innovative City-zen project in Amsterdam Nieuw-West was officially kicked off : blood bank Sanquin and water company Waternet started constructing a connection to the main piping system of the drinking water infrastructure. This connection facilitates the use of cold from the drinking water infrastructure. A project that creates a win-win situation for both parties, saving costs and the environment.

Beta version of award winning game The Age of Energy live !

"The last couple of months have been hard work, but the new artwork and numerous playability upgrades have definitely been worth it" Gerben Kijne (Clicks and Links)

The Age of Energy, the award winning game designed to make it fun to start saving energy at home, is now available for public beta testing in Android. Head to to download your copy today and don't forget to leave your comments on the forum.

Citizens say yes to home battery project in Amsterdam

It turns out that Amsterdam’s district Nieuw-West is home to many energy pioneers. Within a month, 37 people with PV panels have signed up for a pilot project with home batteries that lets them store (or sell at a favourable time) their surplus solar energy. 15 more have shown serious interest in participation.

Outside Nieuw-West, in other districts of Amsterdam, 55 people have signed up to be on a waiting list in case of an empty spot.

Serious role playing game GO2ZERO for energy decision makers ready to GO !

Amsterdam Smart City’s Annelies, Rick and Colette were invited to take place in the very first test session of the serious role playing game Go2Zero, developed by City-zen’s partners Delft University of Technology and DNV-GL.

Colette after playing the game: “It turns out being a local energy supplier isn’t easy! Playing the game gave me many valuable insights. One major thing I’ve learned is that winning, in my case pushing local energy supply forward, meant working together with all stakeholders involved. Whether I liked or not! This was fun and insightful!” 

Sustainable energy hot topic with houseboat owners in Amsterdam

It turns out that many people living in houseboats on the Amsterdam canals and surrounding waters have an above average interest in sustainable living. A great number of them have turned their homes in super energy-efficient floating houses.

How to make a monumental post war building futureproof ?

Housing cooperation Eigen Haard took up the challenge to renovate the Airey buildings in Amsterdam New West successfully : their model is now widely adopted by others.

The renovation of these prefab buildings is hardly straightforward : the minimal dimensions required tailor made solutions and in depth strenght calculations were needed before PV panels could be applied to the roof safely. Now that the first tenants are returning to their homes before Christmas 2016, other housing corporations are starting to replicate this renovation strategy.

What legal and financial barriers do we face in the transition towards clean energy in cities ?

A city operating entirely on clean energy. Sun, wind, biomass or geothermal heat… in theory it’s possible. But what about real life? How do we integrate new energy solutions in existing buildings, systems and, last but not least, the lives of people? What are the legal and financial barriers?

Based on the 20 City-zen demonstration projects, the Amsterdam Centre for Energy at the University of  Amsterdam, DNV GL and La Metro (the City of Grenoble) are working together to analyse the legal and financial issues the energy transition faces. They will publish their first findings in December of this year and a final version will appear in summer of 2017.

Spotlight on Elise Le Goff, project manager at CCIAG, Grenoble's heating company

In general we tend to publish more on the technologies and processes of our City-zen innovations than about the people behind them. However those men and women are the ones we can often learn most from ! What are their experiences and lessons learned? Therefore this time, we put the spotlight on Elise le Goff, project manager at CCIAG, Grenoble’s district heating company.

"For City-zen, CCIAG is involved in three main projects : the design and operation of an innovative low pressure loop of district heating, as an extension of the high pressure one ; the dissemination and sensitization links to this innovative solutions and the participation to Vivacité, platform of mutli-energy monitoring which will integrate DH consumption."

World sustainable energy days
1 to 3 march 2017 - Wels (Austria)

The World Sustainable Energy Days (WSED), one of Europe's largest annual conferences in this field, offer a unique combination of events on sustainable energy. The event makes an important contribution to awareness raising about renewable energy and energy efficiency.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement N 608702