Sustainable Heating: Implementation of Fossil-Free Technologies | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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Sustainable Heating: Implementation of Fossil-Free Technologies

Priority Axis

Low Carbon Technologies

Specific objective

Low Carbon Technologies

Lead partner

University of Exeter


Start Date


End Date


Project budget

6 640 543

ERDF amount

3 984 326

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    A sharp decrease in fossil-fuel usage is needed in order to achieve the EU's climate goals. Households typically use 79% of energy for space and water heating. Of this,  84% of this energy is fossil-fuelled. Household CO2 emissions for heating in countries within the 2 Seas area currently is around 90Mtonnes/yr.

    There is enormous potential to reduce CO2 emissions with wide-scale adoption of low carbon heating. But few structures currently use sustainable heating sources. This tends to be because there is a lack of awareness and knowledge among homeowners in the 2 Seas area on the different technical options and advantages of sustainable heating. However also, the initial investment costs for sustainable heating installations are high for individual homeowners.

    To tackle this, examples of sustainable heating in residential and community buildings are needed. This can be implemented alongside active engagement of homeowners and communities in order to raise awareness, remove barriers and create facilities (e.g. financing schemes, incentives) to facilitate the transition to sustainable heating. 

    Main Achievements

    The partnership completed four capital investments in a variety of settings to demonstrate sustainable heating technologies, evaluate performance and promote applications for further use. Six partner cities and regional pilots consulted with stakeholders to ‘co-create’ sustainable solutions to become fossil free in terms of heating. 

    A novel district heating system was constructed in Ville de Fourmies. This pilot connected a range of municipal buildings to sustainable heating, fuelled by locally harvested wood. This is a major element in Ville de Fourmies third industrial revolution strategy.

    In Mechelen, gas absorption and air source heat pumps were installed in new build social housing. This is a great inspiration for the adoption of sustainable heating in urban regeneration and social housing schemes.

    Lightweight solar panels were installed to power municipal buildings in De Blikken, Middelburg. This first-in-the-region project demonstrated how municipalities have options to adopt technologies tailored to their specific needs.

    Battery storage and air source heat pumps were installed in a communal domestic refuge in Norfolk, UK. This powered several flats with sustainable and affordable heating. The demonstration of this can be rolled out on a grand scale leading to uplift from fuel poverty and substantial core support for the more vulnerable members of society.

    SHIFFT’s co-creation activities in Bruges, Middelburg, Mechelen, Fourmies, Hauts de France and Norwich led to localised individual and collective action on the road to a sustainable heating future.

    This work ultimately produced a package of guidance for local authorities in French, English and Dutch to capture and share the project’s experiences and set out practical tools for accelerating the transition to net zero with sustainable heating for all.


    Thanks to SHIFFT, Ville de Fourmies has also studied the feasibility to develop a larger heat network at the city scale. This one will be delivered by the end of 2025. It will provide a minimum of 31% of the city needs and the city is now studying the connection of individual houses which could increase the coverage of the entire city’s needs by 45%.



    City of Bruges

    City of Mechelen

    City of Middelburg

    Center for development of ecoenterprises

    Places for People Group

    Municipality of Fourmies

    Delft University of Technology

    Woonpunt Mechelen


    Output title
    URL / Download


    Theme: Adoption of technologiesEnergy

    Pilot investments to demonstrate sustainable heating technologies in houses and community buildings

    Type: Pilot and demonstration action
    Target: Local, regional and national authorities


    Theme: Adoption of technologiesEnergy

    Guidance for accelerating the adoption of sustainable heating in the 2 Seas area

    Type: Method/service
    Target: Local, regional and national authorities


    Theme: Adoption of technologiesEnergy

    Co-creation pilots to trigger investments in sustainable heating solutions for homes in local communities

    Type: Strategy/action plan
    Target: Citizens