The Celsius Initiative: a European project that lives on

Though Celsius has come a long way from when it started as a European project under the 7th Framework Programme in 2013, we are still based on the premise that cities and districts are in a key position to take the lead in the evolution toward a carbon neutral Europe. In great part due to the Green Deal, the environment in which we operate has also considerably changed. The heating and cooling sectors are now recognised for their key contributions to having flexible and robust energy systems in cities.

Having grown from a project into an initiative, today, Celsius is a collaboration hub for actors working with cities in their energy transition through the deployment of smart and sustainable heating and cooling solutions. Our purpose is to accelerate the energy transition through the deployment of smart and sustainable heating and cooling solutions in cities. This is done through continuous knowledge sharing via the Celsius Toolbox, regular newsletters and webinars; supporting replication of innovative solutions, policy work with European Institutions and hands on support for cities through the Celsius forerunner groups (CFG).

Our philosophy is “do not re-invent the wheel” there are already many smart and proven solutions available, actors with vast experience in the field. So instead of starting from scratch let us build together on what has already been done.

Knowledge sharing & promoting innovative solutions

There is a wide array of projects developing ground-breaking solutions across Europe. Weather it is something that has never been done before or adapting and replicating a proven solution somewhere new – they generate precious knowledge that can be very beneficial for all cities in their energy transition. It is key that this knowledge gets shared and promoted among cities and interested stakeholders to accelerate the energy transition and deepen the impact of what is already being done. With this in mind, the Celsius Initiative works with continuous inspiration and knowledge sharing from its network of cities and projects across Europe and throughout the world.

With a long-term perspective the Celsius Toolbox assembles ground-setting articles and reports from various projects and initiatives, organised around four main categories: Business & Finance, Policy & Planning, Stakeholder Engagement, Technical Solutions.

To make sure we also address the latest developments in the Celsius network, each month we focus on a different topic covered in the newsletter and webinar which are published and hosted in collaboration with partner projects. The topics are picked based on the interest expressed by our member cities. Click here to receive invitations to our upcoming events and newsletters.

Policy work with European institutions

Having the right technical solutions is a great first step, but it will only take cities so far if they do not have the right policies. Often times, developing and implementing policies that favor sustainable thermal networks is the greater challenge – whether it be at a national or European level. These policies can range from what is considered a sustainable energy source, such as residual heat or waste incineration, to creating heat zoning plans that incentivise buildings to connect to the district energy network.

Because we are stronger together, the Celsius Initiative has always strived to give cities a voice in Brussels through consultations and bring forward a joint approach between cities. For example, the recently published “Cities Manifesto for Fossil-Free Heating and Cooling” outlines what cities have expressed they need from the EU and Member starts to implement the Green Deal and accelerate the heating and cooling transition.

Hands-on support for cities

Built on a demand-based peer-to-peer approach, the Celsius Forerunner Groups (CFG) bring together representatives from different cities who share common challenges around a given topic. these city representatives can be any actor deploying heating and cooling solutions at a local level: city officials, publicly owned energy companies, community-based organisations, or other.

Together the city representatives decide what topics they would like to discuss with guest experts who share their knowledge and experience in a round table discussion format. The purpose is to promote cross-border collaboration and exchange, working as sounding boards for cities to facilitate the planning and implementation of smart and sustainable heating and cooling solutions.

The five forerunner groups are:

Financing: helping cities connect with investors to finance their heating and cooling projects. This group is organised in collaboration with the Smart Cities Marketplace.
Waste Heat: facilitating waste heat recuperation from urban environments.
LTDH: supporting cities with mature district energy networks transition to 4th and 5th generation systems.
Fossil Free: removing fossil-fuels as energy sources in district energy networks.
Cooling: deploying efficient and sustainable cooling systems.


We look forward to continuing this work and expanding the Celsius network. Together we can make this happen!

For more information, please e-mail

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News Celsius in Review – Summer 2021