Comfort cooling residential buildings in Amsterdam Houthaven district

Sustainable district heating and comfort cooling for newly built apartments in the Amsterdam Houthaven district.

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Location : Amsterdam district Houthaven

Project team :  Westpoort Warmte, AEB

Progress / Due date : in progress (cold plant operational and cold distribution network in place / 2020

Replication : this project can be applied anywhere where river cold is available.

Contacts : Klaas-jan Mauritz (on LinkedIn)

The project

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.

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.

The result

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.

[In Dutch] An article by Duurzaam Nieuws, Houthaven

De aansluiting op stadsverwarming, waarvoor Afval Energiebedrijf Amsterdam (AEB Amsterdam) de warmte levert, vormt het voorlopige sluitstuk van de duurzame energievoorziening in de toonaangevende wijk, die nu helemaal energieneutraal is. [2018, August 7]

–  –  -> Amsterdamse wijk Houthaven combineert duurzame warmte en koude

Interested to know more about this project? Read all about it here or contact one of the involved partners.



  • The Project

    A city operating entirely on clean energy. In theory, it's possible. But in real life? How to integrate new solutions in existing buildings, systems and people's lives? What are the technical, economic or social barriers? And how to overcome these? That's what we've learned by doing in 20 projects in Grenoble and Amsterdam.

  • Our Activities

  • Achieved Impacts

    • 20 innovations in Grenoble & Amsterdam
    • 35,000 tonnes CO2 saved per year
    • 76,000 m² renovated residential buildings
    • 10,000 dwellings connected to a Smart Grid