Best practice: HafenCity’s district heating system in Hamburg

14 January 2019

Best practice: HafenCity’s district heating system in Hamburg

The city of Hamburg, member of KeepWarm project partner ICLEI Europe, is the second largest city in Germany and has a population of 1.8 million inhabitants. It is located in the North of the country, close to the North Sea, at the mouth of river Elbe. Hamburg has a high heat demand of ca. 21.6 TWh per year, due to the size of its population and weather conditions. The heat supply of the new urban district of HafenCity is a good example of a modern and efficient district heating grid, integrated in a larger sustainable urban development project.

The district heating sector in Hamburg benefits from its maritime climate: mildly cold and wet. The city has a heat demand, which is significantly higher than Europe’s average (ca. 3’484 heating degree-days). In Germany, district heating is in general the cheapest solution for the customer, when available, with an average price which is comparable to other heating technologies. (0.90€/kWh)

The district of HafenCity is being converted from an old port area into a modern city quarter, including residential buildings, offices and shops. The comprehensive Masterplan for this major inner-city development was approved in 2003 and included high environmental standards, which also affect the heat supply of new buildings.

The newly built buildings in HafenCity are very efficient due to their high insulation standards. HafenCity GmbH even developed its own “HafenCity Ecolabel”, an energy label indicating the energy efficiency of the newly built buildings. The label has very high standards compared to other German building regulations and is often required in tenders for real estate development in the new quarter. It includes two categories: “silver” and “gold”. For residential buildings, these 2 labels mean a primary energy use of respectively 30% or 45% lower than traditional building code requirements. In the Eastern part of HafenCity ca. 70% of the buildings are certified with the HafenCity Ecolabel. Indeed, the average heat demand in HafenCity in 2028 will be 28kWh per m2 per year, which represents 18% of the current heat demand per m² in Hamburg.

Source: Efficient district heating and cooling markets in the EU: Case studies analysis, replicable key success factors and potential policy implications


HafenCity Hamburg (Flickr) by "Glyn Lowe PhotoWorks"