Heating and cooling is fundamental in addressing our essential needs. In winter, it offers us warmth, while in summer, it shields us from excessive heat. However, heating and cooling can also have negative effects on society if not carried out properly. Fossil fuels still make up 57% of our space and water heating, and it accounts for half of the EU’s final energy consumption.

Citizen-owned community heating and cooling projects allow the replacement of fossil fuel heating, democratise the energy transition, boost the local economy and decrease the heating and air conditioning bills for citizens.

This briefing, aimed at municipalities, social housing providers, and policy-makers explains how community heating and cooling can help them fulfill the heating and cooling planning obligation arising from the EU Energy Efficiency Directive. It showcases the benefits of energy communities, gives an overview of the barriers municipalities and social housing providers often face, and looks at how community heating and cooling can alleviate some of these pressures. Finally, it provides tools and recommendations for municipalities and social housing providers to create a citizen-driven heating and cooling transition.