CITY-ZEN Site Amsterdam

Country & City

  • The Netherlands
  • Amsterdam


Contact Information

Annelies Van der Stoep
City of Amsterdam
The Netherlands


Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands. The city has 750,000 residents from 175 different countries. The Amsterdam Metropolitan Area has 2.1 million inhabitants. The city continues to encourage green research, developement and investment in sustainable initiatives. The area is enjoying a rapid uptake of electric transportation. A growing number of companies are developing sustainable products that influence global business. Amsterdam is exceptionally well connected, both physically and digitally. Amsterdam’s citizens own over 600,000 bicycles for daily commuting.

The city is acting in line with the EU’s 20-20-20 climate targets and has the ambitious goal to reduce CO2 by 40% compared to 1990 by the year 2025. The CITY-ZEN project is one of the major projects in which the city is working with its partners to scale up innovative energy solutions and open networks.

Retrofitting existing housing buildings

In Amsterdam 700-900 dwellings will be retrofitted and the CO2 reduction target is ,000 tonnes per year. The existing building stock will be improved to ensure affordable total living costs (rent and energy) for tenants now and in the future, while in the same time establishing better comfort in the dwellings. To reach these goals, the key is to empower tenants and home-owners to save energy and to involve them in the co-design with other stakeholders of innovative approaches for energy efficient retrofitting. Home-owners are challenged to invest in energy saving measures, as they benefit from a lower energy bill, more comfortable and a healthier home.

One of the dwellings will be retrofitted towards very ambitious levels by showcasing new and innovative solutions. This Lab Home will demonstrate a hybrid heat pump, and many more innovations by SME’s and start-ups. It is also be the place to find out how to involve people towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

Further smartifying the e-grid

The intelligent electricity network (smart grid) in Nieuw West is already equipped with computer and sensor technology at key nodes. As current and voltage are monitored continuously to provide more accurate monitoring and control functions. This will allow the remote operation of the medium voltage grid, something that was not possible before. The smart grid provides better and cheaper options to facilitate the energy transition and latest developments. In addition, the existing network power has been increased in key areas and the network structure has been improved. In the future, slumbering power outages will be visible in the smart grid and it will be able to be prevented.

Within CITY-ZEN, the electricity grid will get smarter right to the doorstep. 10,000 dwellings will be connected to a smart grid. The residents will gain more control over their energy use. If for instance, a citizen wants to sell the energy of his solar panels to a neighbor, this becomes technically possible. Batteries in houses and in cars will make sure that energy can be stored and used at a later time. Owners of these batteries can trade their energy and their storage capacity on the energy market.

Improving and expanding the heat grid

CO2 reduction objective of demonstrators is 4500 tonnes per year. To reach this objective, two projects will be implemented:

  • Sustainable heat network: the Waste-to-Energy Plant will be optimized and new heat sources will be connected to the district heating network, such as innovative daylight collectors. These collectors can make heat out of a rainy day. Existing multi-family buildings will be connected to the heat grid. Off grid, heat from sewer system will be added to an underground storage.
  • Cooling with water: Before raw water is transported to the dunes for purification, the cold will be extracted and stored underground. A cold network will be installed in a large business area, which makes conventional air conditioning systems redundant. Next to that, 300 newly build homes will get comfortable cooling with cold from surface water. This solution has not been applied before on this scale in the Netherlands.