Districlima Network

Location: Barcelona (Catalonia), Spain

Population: 5,474,482 [metropolitan area]

Climate: Mediterranean

Duration: 2002-2004

Sector: District Energy

Funding sources: Public sector & private

City networks: Covenant of Majors

Savings:  Barcelona has saved more than 50GWh in primary energy, which equates an annual saving of 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Solutions: A district heating and cooling network for use in heating, air conditioning and sanitary hot water [source].

Multiple benefits: The buildings connected to the network enjoy the elimination of health risks, the removal of cooling towers and other potential sources of legionellosis elements [source].

Districlima was formed in 2002 to perform, for the first time in Spain, an urban network of distribution of heat and cold for use in heating, cooling and sanitary hot water. In the beginning, the project was located in an area of Barcelona remodelled to host the Forum of Cultures 2004 (Front Litoral Besòs). The project includes the design, construction and subsequent operation, through a 25-year concession, of the main production central in Forum and the energy distribution network. In 2005 and following the award of a public competition, a second stage starts with the extension of the network to the 22nd technology district [source].

 Objective – To establish an urban network in a big population area from an efficient perspective that could follow these principles: lower energy consumption, job creation, CO2 emission savings, and a decrease in water consumption.

Solutions – The solution is characterized by an extensive network of pipes that provide cooling and heating services to the private residences and businesses located in the area. Moreover, the solution embeds a necessary ICT infrastructure that enables the correct functioning and management of the whole system. Therefore, Districlima can be seen as a solution integrating sustainable districts and built environment elements with an ICT infrastructure.

Funding – The overall expenditure for the construction of the system amounted to € 47 Mln. The solution is a public-private partnership where the beneficiaries of Districlima are Companies (SMEs or Large Corporations), Public Entities and Barcelona’s citizens.

 Innovation – What makes Districlima network unique is that it uses steam generated during the recovery of municipal solid waste carried out by TERSA (one of the shareholders) to generate hot and cold water (with absorption machines) for climatization, resulting in significant primary energy savings.

In addition, production equipment cooled by sea water, allowing to obtain yields in these machines to 4 times higher than conventional substituted equipment [source].

Success factors – Through public-private collaboration, it is possible to respond intelligently to the needs of the city, implementing a model and adding a new dimension in regards to the relationship between urban planning, building and energy.

Significant outcomes:

  • Due to the highly efficient nature of the system, Barcelona saves more than 50GWh in primary energy, which equates an annual saving of 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
  • The high efficiency of the system enabled 52% of savings in fossil energy.

Synergies with local policies:

  • The Energy, Climate Change and Air Quality Plan was developed by The Barcelona Energy Agency for the period 2011-2020 (PECC). This plan proposes cross-cutting and ambitious actions to respond to the commitment signed by Barcelona within the framework of the Covenant of Mayors of the European Union to reduce by 20% its greenhouse gas emissions associated with municipal activity by 2020;
  • The Climate Plan’s time-frame runs to 2030 and gives an integrated overview of the measures to tackle climate change. It also includes both short term (2018-2020) and medium-long term (2021-2030) objectives and strategic measures. It has 4 strategic axes: mitigation, adaptation/resilience, climate justice and the promotion of citizen action;
  • Strategy for the energy transition. The plan for the transition to energy sovereignty aims to reduce municipal energy consumption by 10% and increase electricity generation by 10% with renewables in the entire city.

Political alignment:

Marketability:  Currently, examples of replication of the same or similar systems adopted in Barcelona are located especially across Northern Europe (e.g. Helsinki). No cities in temperate climates have adopted a similar system so far. Besides the environmental conditions, a potential barrier could also be related to the initial high costs. However, the benefits overcome the costs in the long run. In order to reduce the initial capital expenditure, it is necessary to implement the solution during the urban regeneration or development of a densely populated area.

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Sector: District energy

Country / Region: Spain

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In 1 user collection: Good practices of cities

Knowledge Object: User generated Initiative

Published by: Districlima Network