Socio-economic effects

Revenues and Jobs


The heating and cooling market structure is fractionated in millions of manufacturers, installers and energy producers with very different sizes. Consequently, the market develops irrationally, in a wide range of directions, following singles’ background and strategies, national standards, local legislations and even climatic conditions. This is even more marked with respect to the renewables sector, where different technologies emerge as competing ones, despite the huge need of renewable sources utilization.


DH networks in general and LIFE4HeatRecovery in particular act as a pivot that allows a complementary and synergic integration of different waste heat and renewable energy sources and technologies. The set of activities foreseen promote a coherent elaboration of technologies and strategies to address suitable markets in Europe.


Knowledge transfer is primarily obtained by beneficiaries bringing products and solutions on the market. Other European companies will profit from the project developments and will adopt solutions proven to be successful. Many of the project results will be freely available, like heat recovery measures plans, business and financing models. Packaged substations are also the starting point for manufacturers of heating and cooling devices to develop prefabricated solutions to be placed on the market.


Whilst products can be manufactured and sold across national borders, heating and cooling cannot be distributed and sold over distances. Therefore, planning, installation, management and maintenance of heating and cooling systems are in most cases performed locally, which gives unique opportunities to local decision makers in terms of new jobs and local economy growth. Through the Demo Networks Teams LIFE4HeatRecovery will create local supply chains, stimulating the local economy.


Specifically looking at the socio-economic impacts of the measures put into place through the project elaboration, the demonstration networks responsible beneficiaries foresee the volumes reported in table “Expansion projections” (below) in terms of waste heat harvested, overall thermal capacity of the skids installed (in the demonstration networks and other systems) and investments borne. The figures are reported at year 2022 (project end), 2025 and 2030.


The sizes are clearly different at the 4 demonstration networks, still they allow to roughly estimate increased revenues and new local jobs.




Revenues are generated both directly by selling energy and indirectly in terms of construction planning, installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance (O&M).


With respect to the first category, assuming a price for the customer in the range of 100 €/MWh, the overall revenues generated through selling waste heat (3300 MWh/y) are in the range of 330.000 €/y (for 2 years). The indirect revenues have been calculated assuming a cost for O&M of about 50 €/kW of thermal capacity installed, resulting in about 200.000 €/y, and 45% of added labour value on top of the consumables costs when calculating investments, resulting in 2.3 million € until 2022 for construction planning, installation and commissioning.


While the direct revenues remain with the project beneficiaries, the indirect incomes are largely distributed over the territory.


Having in mind that the LIFE co-funding for the project demonstration Actions (A1, A.2, C.1 to C.4) is about 1.6 M€ a high value for money is generated already during project elaboration.




New jobs generated by the project activities are calculated based on the indirect revenues, assuming an income generated by an employee of about 100.000 €/y (average value over Europe in the heating and cooling market segment). This corresponds to about 1 head equivalent devoted to O&M (more people are employed but part time on the skids installed) and 23 people in terms of planning, installation and commissioning.


Once more only part of these will be working for the beneficiaries.


If we look forward to the future perspectives of growth for the utility companies, the figures change as follows.




  • direct revenues -> 44 million €/y
  • indirect revenues related to O&M -> 14.5 million €/y
  • indirect revenues related to planning, etc.-> 160 million € (overall until 2030)




  • indirect jobs related to O&M -> 145 persons equivalent per year
  • indirect jobs related to planning, etc.-> 1650 persons equivalent (overall until 2030, equal to roughly 165 persons equivalent per year).


The skills, approaches and technologies produced by the present LIFE project will have a huge impact on the local economies concerned, moreover having the chance to be replicated in several other contexts.


Social Relevance


The results of the project have also a wide social relevance, as the single customers are central in the schemes elaborated and they have the opportunity to become protagonists in the energy management of their buildings and community.


LIFE4HeatRecovery will have a strong and positive impact on the local population. The project poses a strong focus on actions for public awareness and communication of results.


LIFE4HeatRecovery indeed recognises the central nature of “social consensus” in climate change mitigation actions: only with the convinced support of the majority of citizens is it possible to implement truly valid climate change mitigation policies and to give life to alliances between social and economic development of the area.

These general statements take on concrete form first of all in action D.2.2 (Analysis of the stakeholders awareness produced) which will include questionnaires to citizens and other local stakeholders to understand their perception of the measures implemented and to influence their propensity towards energy efficiency measures.


In addition to this, numerous activities (Action E.1) will be devoted to reach a large number of people, publicising both the project and more generally the LIFE program.


It is expected that the activity performed will convince 200 people to connect to the district heating networks and that 20 companies will be willing to analyse the opportunity and effectiveness of heat recovery measures when setup at their premises.


Local Ecosystems


Further than the environmental benefits clearly deriving from the stakeholders’ awareness, LIFE4HeatRecovery will also have positive effects on the safeguarding of the local ecosystems:


  • reducing pollutants emissions, the project directly favours the conservation of biological variability and a sustainable development of human activities
  • reducing the heat island effect, better health conditions will be promoted. The quality of the waters will be also preserved
  • as the re-use of waste heat does not imply basically any need of ground (i.e. no new large heat generation plants, no gas duct-works above ground, etc.), local agricultural and forestry areas remain available to other social and economic uses, not the least preserving aesthetic appeal and recreational value.


Good Behaviours


A significant reduction in the "carbon footprint" is an important aspect, also recognised as such by the LIFE4HeatRecovery project, which intends to take action to limit the negative consequences as much as possible. This result will be achieved by putting into effect a range of “good behaviours”, which is listed below.




The skids developed will use heat pumps, water pumps and valves that consume electricity. Indeed, the components with the highest energy efficiency standards available on the market will be selected, and control strategies will be elaborated ensuring minimum electricity use.




The need for the beneficiaries to move around physically for briefing and meetings will be limited as much as possible, encouraging the use of telecommunications, such as electronic mail, telephone, instant messaging, tele- and videoconferences.


Study visits to the demonstration networks are foreseen for the beneficiaries. However, these will be merged with the periodic project meetings, avoiding additional CO2 emissions for travels.


Special attention will be paid to optimising the choice of the meeting place in order to minimise the travel necessary. Furthermore, whenever possible, low CO2 emission methods of transport such as trains will be used for travel.




the use of paper will be reduced to the indispensable minimum, preferring the use of electronic media for all the documents. The structure of the specific project web site provided for in Action E.1 will also take account of the need to reduce the project’s carbon footprint, and this will take place in two different ways:


  • by providing constant updates on the progress of the project at the web site and addressing mostly professional journals, thus reducing as much as possible the need to print official communications and press releases;
  • by making reports and documents in general available in pdf format, allowing them to be viewed and downloaded easily and rapidly, reducing the need to print a large number of hard copies to the minimum necessary for approaching stakeholders at physical meetings.




When choosing firms outside the public administration to supply goods or services, preference will be given to those with environmental certification at European level.


Moreover, with respect to the manufacturing of the skids a GREEN PROCUREMENT procedure is foreseen: in Action A.1 the components are selected based on environmental criteria in addition to technical and economic performance. The tenders developed will include the indications devised, and require that environmental requirements (i.e. electricity consumption per waste heat delivered, energy labelling and Life Cycle Assessment) are respected.gnato, etichettatura energetica e valutazione del ciclo di vita).

Expansion projections