REPLACE webinar in cooperation with the EU portal BUILD UP – Towards Renewable Heating & Cooling: Replacement of Inefficient Systems in the Residential Sector

In May, the EU portal BUILD UP focused on how to reduce energy consumption in buildings. The REPLACE webinar on 31.5.2022 on the phase-out of fossil fueled heating systems was a perfect fit and took place in cooperation with the EU portal BUILD UP and the HARP project.

Panellists discussed challenges and drivers for renewable heating and cooling. From the bottom up: Herbert Tretter (Austrian Energy Agency, Austria), Vladimir Gjorgievski (SDEWES Centre, North Macedonia), Angel Nikolaev (Black Sea Energy Research Centre BSERC, Bulgaria), Dražen Balić (Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar EIHP, Croatia), Ignacio Macías Rodríguez (ESCAN Energy Consulting, Spain), Stefan Drexlmeier (Energiewende Oberland, Germany), Federica Sabbati (European Heating Industry EHI, EU), Karina Knaus (Moderator, Austrian Energy Agency, Austria)

The webinar‘s first part focused on key findings of the projects and the framework conditions for the replacement of old conventional fossil fuel systems with renewable ones. REPLACE partners presented key online tools such as the REPLACE calculator to calculate heating exchange projects or two handbooks to guide end-users and professionals through the replacement. Federica Sabbati presented the HARP online tool that allows end users and professionals to calculate which energy label their current heating system has and what energy savings can be achieved with a replacement.

Both projects aim to motivate end-users to replace their old and inefficient systems with renewable and climate-friendly heating systems in view of the high energy consumption for heating and cooling in Europe (50%) and the high number of inefficient systems installed (two thirds).

In the roundtable discussion that followed, the participants presented the heating situation in their countries and regions – from Western to Central and South-Eastern Europe. They also discussed barriers to heating exchange such as the shortage of installers, the reinforcement and expansion of the electricity grid network to meet the electricity demand of e.g. an increasing number of heat pumps, or the costs of heating exchange and refurbishment for energy poor households.

As possible solutions and measures, the participants mentioned e.g. the newly designed one-stop-shop, which facilitates the heating exchange for end customers in Salzburg, Austria, as of June. Another approach mentioned was solutions that can meet the high information needs of end users and at the same time relieve the burden on advice centres, e.g. by providing online tools such as the REPLACE calculator, heating matrices or handbooks. Finally, the energy crisis was also seen as an opportunity to make the switch to renewable energy and climate-friendly installations now, given the high energy prices and dependence on fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal from Russia.

The webinar is available as a video recording.

Further details on framework conditions, key findings, barriers and solutions are also available in the contribution to the first REPLACE webinar, which took place in April 2022 at the World Sustainable Energy Days in Wels, Austria.

Presentations on the decarbonization of the heating and cooling sector (Prof. Neven Duić), REPLACE (Gašper Stegnar, Jožef Stefan Institute Energy Efficiency Centre (JSI)), the two handbooks and best practice examples (Benedetta di Constanzo, WIP Renewable Energies), and the REPLACE calculator (Herbert Tretter, Austrian Energy Agency) are included.

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