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REnewable Smart Cooling for Urban Europe (RESCUE)

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It is expected that future cooling energy demand within Europe, especially in urban regions, will significantly rise. Further, it is also known that current processes and approaches are inefficient. District cooling (DC) has the potential to both save energy and money thus contributing to climate and environmental protection by reducing primary energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The small market share of district cooling – below 2%, – corresponds to less than 3 TWh of cooling energy. This is clearly a market with high expansion potential that can support the EU to move towards a green economy and innovation. The aim of the proposed project is to address key challenges to the further development and implementation of district cooling in order to overcome its small market share; thereby enabling local communities to reap the environmental and economic benefits of this mature technology. Within the project, a Support Package consisting of a methodology, toolset and practical guidance for policy makers, energy planners and technical staff has been provided and pilot implemented alongside a number of cities and local governments that will assist municipalities and local utilities in recognising the benefits that DC can offer, and to assess the potential viability of a DC system in their location.


  • A Support Package consisting of a methodology, toolset and practical guidance for policy makers, energy planners and technical staff has been developed and pilot implemented alongside a number of cities and local governments.
  • Support to at least 15 target cities on the development and implementation of a package to support the implementation of district cooling (DC) has been be provided throughout 23 Workshops organized within the project.
  • Guidelines how to roll out DC  have been written and are available in English, German, Polish, Italian and French. The guidelines describe the development process of DC, the different stages to be passed, the role of the stakeholders and key actors, financing and risk management issues.
  • A final report called “Cool conclusions” summarizing the results of the project addressing three key actors: local governments, energy companies and building owners has been compiled. This final report is a condensed version of the guidelines attracting interested parties. The “Cool conclusions” have been translated into same four other languages as the guidelines and are available both as electronic and printed documents.
  • Creation and dissemination of district cooling best practice showcases to interested municipalities/utility companies.     
  • New  statistics about cooling market in Europe have been gained. Data have been used by other projects as STRATEGO and CELSIUS. The previous developed ECI (European Cooling Index) has been verified by actual cooling measurements in order to establish status and trends for EU cooling market 2012/2020/2030 in the context of 20/20/20 and SMART energy.                                                                                                                                    

Lessons learned

  • Utility companies, regardless of ownership structure and scope of operation, currently do not invest heavily, especially not long-term, due to the distortions on the energy market and the uncertainty of its outlook.
  • Municipalities lack the awareness of district cooling (DC) in detail. Cooling in general is considered as a challenge but methods how to estimate present und future cooling demand and peak load are not known. The mapping of cooling demand and cooling density is needed as a basis for decision-making.
  • There is a language barrier: Local authorities and municipal decision makers are not necessarily able to read DC related information as long as they are provided in a different language (often English is used). Some discussions during the workshops had to be translated to local national languages.
  • Cooling is not only needed in southern Europe  as there is a significant base load cooling demand in urban areas also in northern coutries.
  • DC technology needs high investments, which are usually hard to find. Sometimes energy prices are still too low to make these solutions feasible. DC requires a system approach accounting for renewable cooling sources and waste energies. DC will help to reduce primary energy consumption. Focusing on end energy consumption at the costumer and building side is not promising.

Partners and coordinator

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Contact point: 
Felsmann Clemens
+49 351 463 37685
Becker Udo
+49 351 463 36504


Key documents

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In brief

01/06/2012 to 31/05/2015
Contract number: 

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