Skip to main content
Covenant of Mayors - Europe
News article4 July 2024

The importance of heat mapping: a look back on EUSEW 2024

Decarbonising heating in cities starts with knowing one's heat through comprehensive heat mapping and planning. This year at EUSEW, we launched our campaign during a session on this crucial topic with insights from the EU to local level.

Covenant of Mayors at European Sustainable Energy Week 2024, session on heat planning

Heat mapping plays a crucial role in cities’ journey towards sustainable heating in cities. This was the focus of our recent session at European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), “Exploring the Heat Map: Inspiring Approaches to Sustainable Urban Heat Planning”, co-organised with the Smart Cities Marketplace and the European Energy Award. 

Our new campaign, the Cities Heat Detox, launched at the event, underscores the transformative potential of cities in achieving decarbonised heating and cooling solutions, starting with the essential step of heat planning. The session drew a full room of engaged participants and featured insights from local leaders and EU policymakers.  

Heat Mapping: A Critical Tool for Sustainable Urban Planning

The urgency of decarbonisation calls for comprehensive mapping to identify opportunities and challenges specific to each territory. Heat mapping is essential in identifying areas with the highest energy consumption and potential for energy savings. By visualising temperature distributions and energy use across different urban areas, cities can identify and define actions more effectively.  

This process is not just about understanding current energy use but also planning for future needs, ensuring that the transition to sustainable heating and cooling is both efficient and equitable. Effective heat planning must consider the unique characteristics of each area, from dense urban centres to rural regions, ensuring that no community is left behind.

As our campaign outlines, knowing one’s heat is a first crucial step for a successful “Cities Heat Detox”.

EED Recast

The European Union’s EED recast is key in driving local transformations of heating and cooling, with more ambitious targets and new requirements for cities of over 45,000 inhabitants to develop heating and cooling plans, encompassing 1300 cities across the continent.  

However, a recently published EU tracker, which assesses the state of play of local heating and cooling planning across EU Member States, unfortunately shows that most countries lack appropriate regulatory and support frameworks for municipalities to start with this first and essential step of a successful “heat detox”. Specific conditions must be developed for

Claudia Canevari, Head of Unit Energy Efficiency, Policy and Financing Directorate-General for Energy, emphasised the importance of integrating private financing to support these projects, highlighting that public funds alone are insufficient for the scale of transformation required.

Collaboration and Partnerships

International collaboration and partnerships are critical in advancing heat mapping and sustainable energy practices, as was outlined by Christian Jorgensen from the Danish Embassy in Berlin. His experience leading the Energy Governance Partnership between Germany and Denmark has shown him that knowledge exchange between front-runner cities and countries is helpful in disseminating best practices and innovative solutions.  

Our Cities Heat Detox campaigns aims to contribute to this exchange and create a fruitful discussion, as well as potential partnerships, among cities, countries and stakeholders on local heat decarbonisation.

Practical Approaches to Heat Mapping

The session also gave the floor to various local leaders and practitioners, who highlighted practical approaches to heat mapping by showcasing concrete examples of sustainable heat planning.

  • Rapid heat planning in Latvia: With high energy consumption for heating, Latvia's accelerated heat planning aims to eliminate reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels. Trust from citizens and reliability from energy providers are crucial for success.
  • Regional solutions in Karlsruhe, Germany: Karlsruhe's regional approach supports both urban and rural municipalities, demonstrating that effective heat mapping can benefit a wide range of communities. Simplifying the framework to engage private capital is necessary to scale these efforts.
  • Vienna's Heat Action Plan: Vienna's comprehensive approach includes testing areas for district heating (DH) and initiatives to encourage residents to connect to DH systems. This plan is part of a broader effort to phase out gas and transition to cleaner energy sources.
  • Expanding DH in Kozani, Greece: The municipality of Kozani in Greece is expanding its DH system to cover a wider area, integrating digital governance to enhance energy planning and implementation.

Addressing Key Challenges

The session also addressed several critical challenges in sustainable heat planning:

  • Accessibility for low-income households: Ensuring that clean energy solutions are affordable and accessible to all, including low-income households, is essential for equitable energy transitions.
  • Attracting rural areas to DH projects: Strategies to attract rural areas to DH projects include demonstrating the long-term cost benefits and reliability of DH systems compared to other heating technologies.
  • Competition between heating technologies: Balancing the competition between DH and other heating technologies requires clear communication of the benefits and incentives for adopting DH.
  • Incentivising adoption of DH systems: Effective incentives are needed to encourage inhabitants to transition to DH systems, including financial subsidies, awareness campaigns, and showcasing successful implementations.

Moving Forward

To help cities facing these challenges, the “Cities Heat Detox” campaign aims to raise awareness, inspire and empower local governments to phase out gas in their heating systems. The year-long campaign will do so by showcasing successful examples and promoting useful resources for cities to undergo comprehensive heat planning and adopt collective solutions, such as decarbonised district heating.

Subscribe to the campaign to stay tuned and learn from other cities here!  


More information

Rewatch the full session here.

Speakers of the session:

  • Claudia Canevari, Head of Unit Energy Efficiency, Policy and Financing Directorate-General for Energy
  • Gudrun Heute-Bluhm, President of the European Energy Award
  • Christian Jorgensen, representing the Danish Embassy.
  • Ina Berzina-Vieta, Managing Director of a heat supplier in Latvia.
  • Georgios Alexandridis, Deputy Mayor of Kozani, Greece.
  • Christoph Schnaudigel, County Councillor, City of Karlsruhe, Germany.
  • Peter Lichtenwöhrer from the City of Vienna, Austria



Publication date
4 July 2024