Buiksloterham Integral Energy System (BIES)

Buiksloterham is a former industrial area in the northern part of Amsterdam. In the next 15 years, it will undergo a transformation toward a living and working district with over 3.000 households and 200.000 m2 in utility and commercial floor space. In 2016 EnergyGO, together with Technical University Delft, Stadslab Buiksloterham and Metabolic, performed a scenario study to look for the most sustainable and future-proof energy system for Buiksloterham.

Buiksloterham has the ambition to become a zero-waste district. Therefore, Stadslab Buiksloterham would like to have a better insight in options for sustainable energy systems for this district.report

Far-reaching innovation and process renewal

Newly built homes in 2016 meet high energy performance standards. At the same time, the share of renewable energy in the Netherlands increases. That’s great news. These developments lead to a transition of the energy supply. A transition in which the interaction between buildings (above-ground) and infrastructure (underground) increases, and more flexibility in use of energy source. This requires novel processes and innovation in technical, economical, ecological, social and political areas.

Three base scenarios

The BIES project has compared three different system scenarios with respect to energy, circularity, costs and implementation. One scenario with a natural gas and electric infrastructure, one scenario with an all-electric configuration and one scenario with district heating (90 °C - 120 °C) and electricity infrastructure. The scenario “Natural gas and electricity” has the lowest costs for the end-user. However, due to phasing out the existing natural gas infrastructure, this is an undesired scenario. Combining the amount of renewable energy, end-user costs and lowest CO2 emissions, the “All-electric” scenario performs better than the “District heating” scenario.

Alternative for district heating

However, district heating has local governmental support as a mandatory connection on the heating grid for new buildings in Buiksloterham is in place, due to a concession from 2008. Therefore, another variant with district heating has been studied, involving a low temperature (40°C – 50°C) mini heat grid in conjunction with a ground heat and cold storage. The initial results are promising, but more work is required to determine its feasibility. The results can be found in this publication.

New insights

During the project, workshops have been held with representative of the City of Amsterdam, grid operator Alliander, district heating operators Nuon and Westpoort Warmte. These companies and the initiators of the Stadslab Foundation have been given new insights to consider alternatives for district heating. The results of this study has been a driver for a number of property development groups to consider innovative and sustainable heat supplies.

Furthermore, it has become clear that due to fast-developing all-electric building concepts and energy efficient houses, high-temperature district heating are no longer the only option. Instead district heating may be an inhibitory factor of local sustainable heat with relative low temperatures.