IEA DHC Annex TS4: Digitalisation of District Heating and Cooling

The aim of the IEA DHC Annex TS4 is to identify the possibilities of digitalization and the integration of digital process for district heating and cooling. To this end, the Annex TS4 establishes a platform for industrial and scientific experts to strengthen international cooperation and networking and the exchange of experience of national research and development activities.

Short Description

District heating and cooling (DHC) networks are traditionally operated with limited information of the current network state and limited number of controls, e.g., of supply temperature or pressure, to secure the required supply task and to optimize economics and ecologic performance. A wider implementation of information and communication technologies, as in many other industries, opens up for better network management based on real time measurement data and control.

The aim of the IEA DHC Annex TS4 is to identify the possibilities of digitalisation for the operation (and maintenance) of district heating and cooling systems and to optimise the integration of digital processes. This includes the presentation of the current state of the art, raising awareness of the benefits of implementing digital processes, evaluating non-technical barriers, such as legal and regulatory aspects, developing innovative business models and elaborating objectives, targets and recommendations. The following contents are dealt with in the annex:

  • Digitisation of the End-Use (reduction of return temperatures and peak demands)
  • Digitisation of the infrastructure (analysis of use cases and methods for digital twins)
  • Digitisation at system level (identification and evaluation of digital methods for operational optimization and analytics)
  • Digitisation of business processes (overview of suitable business models, legal framework conditions and political instruments)

The participation in the Annex allows Austrian stakeholders in the field of digitisation of district heating to establish cooperation on an international level and to offer R&D services. In addition, access to valuable know-how in this field is provided, which is adapted for Austrian stakeholders and disseminated in a targeted manner. Newly gained findings will be compiled in a guidebook summarising the results of the subtasks and placing the national activities in an international context. Furthermore, it is planned to prepare short summaries for decision makers. The results of the Annex will be disseminated in different ways, including:

  • website, brochures, fact sheets, lectures and social media
  • articles and presentations at national and international events
  • Organisation of a national workshop and preparation of national summaries

Besides the management of Subtask B "Digitalisation of infrastructure", the main focus of the Austrian participation includes the contribution of various case studies and methods from national and international R&D projects, e.g., related to co-simulation, fault detection, laboratory infrastructure, energy optimization of buildings and districts as well as insights into possible business models related to these topics.


Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany (Operating Agent), Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom

Contact Address

Project leader

Benedikt Leitner
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH

Project partners