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Assessment and diagnosis of district heating networks. Experiences from different European demonstration cases

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The overall objective of the Upgrade DH project is to improve the performance of district heating (DH) networks in Europe by supporting selected demonstration cases for upgrading, which can be replicated in Europe.


The Upgrade DH project supports the upgrading and retrofitting process of DH systems in different climate regions of Europe, covering various countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Denmark, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, and The Netherlands. In each of the target countries (Figure 1), the upgrading process will be initiated at concrete DH systems of the so-called Upgrade DH demonstration cases (demo cases). The gained knowledge and experiences will be further replicated in other European countries and DH systems (replication cases) in order to leverage the impact.


Core activities of the Upgrade DH project include the collection of the best upgrading measures and tools, the support of the upgrading process for selected district heating networks, the organisation of capacity building measures about DH upgrading, financing and business models, as well as the development of national and regional action plans.


This document shares the experiences that were made within the assessment and diagnosis phase in the EU H2020 Project Upgrade DH. The 8 demo cases created local working groups, applied global assessment templates and conducted interviews within the companies or related stakeholders. Alongside, different tools were applied in order to find suitable measures that shall be further analysed and potentially implemented in the continuing possess of the project. Additionally, project internal webinars were held to share each other’s expertise in different areas. These expert coaching webinars have also had relevant impact on the decision-making and is therefore recommended for other upgrading processes.


The focus of this document is on the success of the method and pathway that has been taken within the first steps of increasing the efficiency of district heating networks. Each demonstration case is shortly introduced and the local experiences during the analysis phase of the DH systems is elaborated.


Technical and organizational conditions are varying between the demonstration cases. These variations have also influenced the workflow of the working teams as the different chapters show.