5 tips from the municipality of Zutphen on the way to energy neutral in 2050

Cuby supports the heat transition

The municipality of Zutphen has the very challenging ambition to be energy neutral before 2050: sustainable and without natural gas. Heat from water can make a major contribution to the intended heat and energy transition. Kristiaan Tent, project leader of the Zutphen municipality, explains what is needed to realize the ambition. In this article we summarize this in 5 practical tips.

Tip 1: Translate your ambition into concrete projects

To realize the ambition of the municipality of Zutphen, the concrete objective is to connect homes to the heat network at three locations within the municipality. Two of these locations with thermal energy from surface water and one location with thermal energy from waste water. The river IJssel, on which Zutphen is located, is used as a collective and sustainable source for heating and cooling the existing built environment. One of those said locations is the Helbergen neighborhood in the Waterkwartier district, where the thermal energy surface water (TEO) heating network project has started. The Helbergen district serves as an example district in which 12,000 homes will be connected to a heating network by 2050. In 2021, the TEO project received a Gelderland Proeftuin subsidy from the Province of Gelderland.

Tip 2: Record cooperation agreements with partners

Many different partners are involved in the TEO project, each of which has its own responsibilities. For example, the municipality of Zutphen, Stichting Woonbedrijf Elke1, Coöperatieve Vereniging ZutphenEnergie, Firan (provider of smart energy infrastructure solutions for buildings, areas and municipalities) and Rijkswaterstaat Oost-Nederland (as manager of the IJssel) are involved as chain partners. And the municipality of Zutphen, the Province of Gelderland, the Rijn en IJssel Water Board, Liander and Warmte uit Water (Alliander and Rijkswaterstaat) as transition partners. To make the TEO project a success, the municipality of Zutphen and all partners have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) in which the joint ambitions and agreements are laid down.

Tip 3: Invest in resident participation

The municipality of Zutphen, with the support of external agencies such as Werkmakers and Bureau Duwtje, has set up various initiatives to involve citizens. A core group has been established in the neighborhood with which the municipality is conducting discussions. A Neighborhood Agenda has been set up in collaboration with the residents. A Communication Participation Plan has also been drawn up to go into the neighborhood and to guide residents step by step in what connection to the heat network means for them and how their home can be better insulated.

Tip 4: Bring your own data together

Kristiaan Tent ran into obstacles when developing the TEO project. “I have a lot of lists and addresses and that doesn't work. You have no idea which homes these actually are and where they are located. I started looking for a program in which all data is visually visible on one platform.” says Kristian. “We are using SBLC's Cuby platform for the TEO project. The long lists are made visible in Cuby, so that you immediately have an overview of the location and the data you need. We can also have our own data linked in Cuby. In addition to the data that is already present in Cuby, such as energy labels, energy consumption, the calculated facade, floor and roof surfaces, we now also have insight into which homes are privately owned and which homes are rented out via housing associations.”

“Working with a huge number of lists with data about home addresses is impracticable”

Tip 5: Share data with partners on one platform

Our project partners have valuable data and information needed for project preparation. For example, about the locations where the new heat installation can be installed. Woonbedrijf Ieder1, for example, now has its own homes in view and also has a view of where the boilers are installed. IJssel Warmte BV, Firan and other parties involved in the TEO project will have access to Cuby from the municipalities.

The various partners who work in Cuby therefore have access to each other's data and knowledge is shared.

“Another advantage of working together on one platform is that you have the data immediately available and you can check whether your data from the various lists is correct,” Kristiaan continues. As a result, you no longer have to work from the large number of separate lists. “The point is that the partners get the same information from one platform. The goal is for them to continue working with that data. This data is used to calculate the business case.”

With Cuby you have one platform with the data that forms the basis for the project and a good 3D overview of what you are working on together. This will help us to realize the projects! “Togetherness, that's what it's all about,” says Kristiaan Tent.

For more information, please contact aart@sblc.nl.

ron sint nicolaas - Policy strategist at the municipality deventer


“An important need is to provide residents with the right information in all phases of the process of thinking and choosing. A lot of detailed information is currently available that focuses on the decision-making phase. This stems from the pressure to act and probably also the concern and involvement of policy makers. But in the meantime we create an overload of information while people are often busy with all kinds of other issues. Too little attention is paid to the phase that precedes this, namely the orientation phase. This may seem global, but we all know that at that stage people make important choices. And what is that based on? You could compare this with 'wandering in a department store' or 'on Saturday to Intratuin'. We leave the department store with filled shopping bags without speaking to a salesperson. What information is our choice based on in that situation? And why are we suddenly behaving all so serious when we're talking about making homes more sustainable? Can't it be a little smoother? The lesson of 'wandering in the department store' is that people apparently with general information are still able to make choices. And that is our commitment: we can provide maximum information with a minimum of data and still ensure a high degree of reliability.”


“Cuby provides maximum reliability with a minimum of data (read: land registry and energy information). That does not mean investing in even more information, but in smart algorithms that provide residents with relevant information from the existing data to make their choice or to provide sufficient direction at the start of the choice process. This is the core of how we look at Cuby and where further development can make the product even stronger.”

If you could describe Cuby in 4 words, which one would you use and why?

  • Flexible, many selections are possible
  • Limited, there is no information overload
  • Reliable, with the land registry data as the source
  • Accessible, relatively easy to use

Do you also want to have your energy transition well organized?
SBLC helps you along with Cuby.

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