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REPLACE – Making heating and cooling for European consumers efficient, economically resilient, clean and climate-friendly

Dear Sir or Madam,
Dear interested parties,

We are pleased to inform you about REPLACE – a project that is entirely dedicated to efficient heating and cooling. In the newsletter you can find out why it is crucial to replace inefficient systems with sustainable ones, and how our EU-funded project is – quite practice-oriented – supporting end-consumers, intermediaries and investors to do that.

Topics in the newsletter are:

  • Save money, energy and the environment – the idea behind REPLACE
  • Preparing the ground for upcoming replacement actions – a brief review of 2020
  • REPLACE regions – where actions take place
  • Local Working Groups – experts adapt REPLACE-activities to European regions
  • Framework conditions for sustainable heating and cooling – REPLACE reports
  • Outlook 2021 & 2022: Replacement campaigns in the target regions & Online-tools
  • Keep informed and involved – REPLACE on social media channels

We would be happy to support you in your replacement projects – whether on site or with our online materials. Up-to-date information on our offer and upcoming campaigns can be found on our website and in the social media. And if you have any comments or suggestions, we look forward to hearing from you.



Solar thermal system delivering sustainable heat. Copyright: Dominik Rutz/WIP

Save money, energy and the environment – the idea behind REPLACE

REPLACE is all about heating and cooling: The EU-funded project wants to turn heating and cooling efficient to safe energy and money, economically resilient to make it affordable, clean for a better air-quality and, what’s more, climate-friendly. And it turns particularly to consumers. But why is the topic so crucial although there are “more exciting” ones and hardly anyone is dealing with it voluntarily?

Half of Europe’s energy consumption is used for heating or cooling. At the same time, two thirds of the heating systems installed in Europe – that is 80 million from 120 million units – are inefficient. In order to achieve the climate targets and make Europe independent of oil, coal and natural gas, changes in this sector are essential.

The aim of REPLACE is to motivate and support people in nine different countries from Western over Central to South-Eastern Europe to replace their old heating and cooling systems with more environmentally friendly alternatives. Simple renovation measures that reduce overall energy consumption, like insulation, are also part of the programme.

Consumers get information on up-to-date technologies at a boiler exhibition. Copyright: TFZ Straubing

Preparing the ground for upcoming replacement actions – a brief review of 2020

With a timeline of three years from winter 2019 until winter 2022, the year 2020 was marked by preparing the ground for supporting people in their replacement actions:

  • Expert groups came together in each region to prepare and steer replacement activities with maximum regional impact.
  • Framework conditions were investigated to detect legal and regulatory barriers, as well as possible solutions and opportunities.
  • Successful replacement actions and campaigns were gathered to learn from others and provide information to all interested stakeholders.
  • Interviews were conducted to get insights into the mindsets, motives and challenges that end consumers, intermediaries and investors like house owners or district heat operators associate with a fuel switch towards renewable energy sources.
  • Practicable tools such as target country specific heating system matrices, showing which system fits to which building, or best practice examples were created to assist end-consumers, experts and investors in their replacement actions. Implementation guidance handbooks, trainings for installers in South-Eastern countries and an online “REPLACE your Heating System Calculator” are currently being developed.
  • The project website and social media channels were set up and now inform e.g. on the project, on planned campaigns or research results. Additional tools like practical handbooks in national languages are published on the website from spring 2021 onwards. The REPLACE Calculator will be online by mid-2021.

REPLACE regions – where actions take place

Geographically, REPLACE focuses on Western, Central and South-Eastern Europe: It covers 9 countries with 10 representative target regions and altogether 8.3 million inhabitants:

By concentrating on these regions, REPLACE investigates a broad range of heating and cooling technologies and appropriate renewable systems. The project develops individual approaches, examines possible similarities and generates solutions that can be shared within and beyond its target regions.

REPLACE Local Working Group meetings 2020

Local Working Groups – experts adapt REPLACE-activities to the regions

Local Working Groups play a central role in the REPLACE project. They help to prepare the ground for regional replacement campaigns towards efficient heating and cooling, and they steer the direction of replacement activities. In order to reach that goal, the Local Working Groups connect all key actors in each REPLACE region.

Experts from the 10 REPLACE regions who were invited and started cooperating in 2020, come from national authorities, local or regional governments, self-government units, consumer associations, developers, energy utilities, and professional associations e.g. of craftsmen, entrepreneurs or energy controllers.

The topics discussed in last year’s meetings all centered on making sustainable heating and cooling feasible: From the presentation and discussion of framework conditions for replacements, the depiction of the current situation of the regional heating and cooling sector, discussion of technical aspects like the introduction of renewable energy-based heating and cooling technologies or the technical potential for replacements. Furthermore, the groups chose effective replacement campaigns that fit the specific situation best. Another three to four meetings are planned for each Local Working Group until the beginning of 2022 to develop and conduct replacement activities with maximum regional impact.

Framework conditions for sustainable heating and cooling – REPLACE reports

In 2020, the REPLACE team prepared the ground for successful replacement campaigns. It dealt with legal and regulatory framework conditions, barriers, solutions and best practices for sustainable heating and cooling, demand response and collective actions, an exchange with previous replacement campaigns as well as an inventory of the mind sets and needs of stakeholders.

Policy framework conditions assessment and outlook for sustainable heating and cooling in selected European regions – Report D2.1

The report gives an overview of policy strategies, measures and instruments related to heating and cooling (HC) equipment. It identifies the main drivers and barriers, and presents success stories of HC replacement projects/instruments in each project region which can potentially be replicated.

Making heating and cooling sustainable – barriers, solutions and best practices – Report D2.2

The focus of this analysis lies on legal aspects that impede the market acceptance of renewable heating and cooling systems. The barriers, their causes and consequences as well as suggestions how these barriers can be overcome are the main topic of this report.

Survey on existing demand-response actions and collective actions in the heating and cooling sector and overview of legal and other requirements and challenges – Report D2.3

This report provides information on the status quo of Collective Actions, Renewable Energy Communities and Citizens’ Energy Communities. Altogether, 19 demand-response actions and 28 examples for collective actions in the REPLACE target countries are shown.

Exchange of experience with previous replacement campaigns and their embedding in policy programs, SWOT of facilitating policy measures – Report D2.4

Report D2.4 shows an in-depth overview of the work that has already been done on national and local level in order to replace inefficient heating and cooling systems. It includes 22 campaigns for the promotion of heating and cooling equipment that had taken place inside the REPLACE regions, plus five more campaigns that occurred outside the target regions.

Inventories of the mind-sets and needs of all relevant stakeholders in the target regions – Report D3.1

How do end-consumers, intermediaries and investors perceive renewable heating and cooling? What information sources do they use? And what barriers, challenges and needs do they view in respect to replacing inefficient systems with sustainable ones? Numerous interviews have been conducted in all partner regions. The respective report provides insight in the mind-sets and needs of stakeholders and forms a basis for the REPLACE campaigns.

Heating-Matrices showing recommended RES Heating Technologies fitting to various Building Types & Qualities – Report D4.1

The heating matrices in this report provide an initial overview of which heating system based on renewable (non- fossil) energy sources or district heat is most suitable for a building. The matrices presented, starting from the Austrian “klimaaktiv” blueprints, were adapted regionally with regard to structural and environmental conditions, building standards and economic viability.

Please find all the reports here.

Using wood pellets as a renewable energy carrier for heating and cooling. Copyright: Francisco Puente/ESCAN

Outlook 2021 & 2022: Replacement campaigns in the target regions & Online tools

For all who are looking for a sustainable heating or cooling system, but don’t know yet how to proceed, REPLACE offers practicable campaigns and tools that can be applied from spring 2021 onwards:

  • REPLACE campaigns bring climate-friendly heating and cooling solutions directly to peoples’ doors: In all project regions, at least eight campaigns are taking place from April 2021 to August 2022 – to show how systems are working already successfully at open house days or field trips, to find out which systems suit buildings and circumstances best in free of cost feasibility studies, or by supporting energy suppliers or installers to become contractors. What is happing in the project regions and opportunities to participate will be published on the REPLACE website and social media as well as through all the project partners from spring 2021 onwards.
  • Heating system matrices narrow down the optimal, environmentally friendly heating solution to a few systems. In traffic light mode, favourable systems are marked in green, taking into account e.g. thermal quality, building class, or hot water demand. The heating matrices are adapted to the respective regions, including ecological, comfort and economical aspects.
  • The REPLACE Calculator assists end consumers and intermediaries in a quick and professional mode: For residential houses with old, inefficient heating systems they can identify environmentally friendly options. And they can compare the benefits of the recommended systems with each other in terms of investment, energy cost savings and CO2 savings. The multi-lingual online tool is user-friendly. It guides users through quickly, based on technical and economical default values for a wider range of technologies and capacities, including country specific subsidies. In addition, the calculator provides a lot of further information like technology factsheets, national best practice examples and useful contacts for boiler and oven replacements.
  • Two tailored handbooks give a workable overview over heating and cooling technologies: One for end-consumers and one for intermediaries and investors, the handbooks provide comprehensive and comprehensible knowledge in all project partners’ languages. Technology fact sheets are included.
  • Best practice examples support all who would like to gain knowledge from sustainable heating and cooling systems that are already operating successfully. The REPLACE-team has been interviewing selected practitioners in the project regions, collected data and illustrative material and publishes best practice examples from February 2021 onwards.
  • REPLACE offers training seminars for intermediaries and investors in six project countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia. Training material has been developed and will be ready for use from April 2021 onwards.

Keep informed and involved – REPLACE on social media channels

The REPLACE team at the kick-off meeting in Vienna, November 2019. Copyright: AEA


This project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 847087.

Legal disclaimer

Any communication activity related to the action reflects only the author’s view. The European Union and its Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information any communication activity contains.

The REPLACE consortium members shall have no liability for damages of any kind including, without limitation, direct, special, indirect, or consequential damages that may result from the use of these materials.

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