NetHEAT is a spatial energy simulation model developed by IREES with the purpose of analysing heating and cooling demand and the expansion of heat and gas net infrastructures. NetHEAT aims to develop long-term heat supply scenarios and sustainable heat infrastructure strategies for municiaplities, infrastructure operations as well policy clients on the national and the European level. The simulation tool supports relevant stakeholders in their heat planning activities by mapping renewable heat sources, existing heat demand, heat supply infrastructure, and potentials for future infrastructure investments on local level. By simulating various heat supply scenarios, the model addresses questions such as the role of district heating networks within the future sustainable energy supply and framework conditions necessary to reach full decarbonisation of the heat supply. It allows a detailed assessment of heat distribution costs by considering specific conditions of existing infrastructures, streets and individual buildings.


  • Municipal heat planning

  • Comprehensive assessment heating and cooling

  • Mapping renewable heat potentials

  • Mapping current and future heat demand

  • Cost-benefit analysis of sustainable heat infrastructure investments

  • Identification of possible transformation scenarios and roadmap development for a sustainable heat supply infrastructure


The NetHEAT model can be used on a local level for specific municipal heat planning activities as well as on a regional and national level by providing generic data used as a guidance in infrastructure planning and comprehensive assessment of the heating and cooling supply.

For each scenario calculation the model uses information such as building locations and specific heat demand, infrastructure length calculated based on the street road length and the distance between heat generation and buildings, and land area type based on the construction density used to identify specific capital distribution cost and required investments. NetHEAT builds upon the Invert/EE-Lab bottom-up building simulation model which provides scenarios of space heating, hot water and cooling demand, building refurbishment intensity as well as heat savings cost curves. NetHEAT can be applied for analysis on any region, muncipality or for national and European-wide analysis. As input, it either utilises open GIS data or detailed data on heat infracture and connected buildings provided by clients. By using OpenStreetMap or other cadastral data the model filters and selects the residential and non-residential buildings of the analysed area and calculates the road length between heat sources and heat sinks. The Urban Atlas, CORINE Land Cover and Impecuniousness Density datasets provided by the European Copernicus Land Monitoring Service area are used to determine the availability of land area, its type, and to assess potential cost of infrastructure investments.

Example results: Development of heat densisties over time

Development of heat demand and heat density

  • Simulation of long-term heat demand scenarios considering current building stock and policy framework
  • Development of heat densities until 2050 on 100 x 100 Meter scale​​

Local RES-Heating and excess heat potentials and heat generation costs

  • Integration in existing district heating networks
  • Deep geothermal, large solar thermal, heat pumps, biomass plants

Analysis of redensification and expansion potential for heat supply infrastructure

  • Quantification of buildings / heat customers on a 100 x 100-meter scale
  • Connected buildings to district heating or gas grids​​

Calculation of specific construction costs for heat infrastructures

  • Based on road and building accessibility
  • Considering of specific sealing density on 100 x 100-meter scale ​​

Simulation of heat infrastructure expansion and linear heat density

  • Optimal expansion of district heating networks or gas grids
  • Detailed simulation on street level scale
  • Calculation of CAPEX and OPEX for heat infrastructure

Customers and selected references

We apply the NetHEAT in projects for municipalities and local utilities as well as within research and evaluation projects on national and European level.

Energy Efficiency First

Energy Efficiency First Client: European Union Duration: September 2019 - July 2022 [...]

Heating maps for Germany

Heating maps for Germany Analysis of the economic potential of efficient heating and cooling supply [...]

Contact us

Please contact us if you are interested to learn more about the NetHEAT model. We are looking forward to supporting you with the implementation of decarbonistion strategies and the transformation of local heating and cooling supply.


Eftim Popovski
Eftim Popovski
Dr. Jan Steinbach
Dr. Jan Steinbach

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