Renewables have the ability to change neighborhood life style. On of the best example of this theory can be found in Spain in Torrelago district in Laguna de Duero, Valladolid (ES). District resident have seen a complete retrofitting including renovation of the buildings’ façade and an upgrade to a district heating system which now integrates renewable energy and smart control solutions. This integrated approach leads to 50% energy savings in the district and a general empowerment regarding energy management issue. Torrelago’s district heating transition was integrated in the CITyFiED project, a smart city demonstration project supported by the European Commission. Praised for its approach the project won a special award at the Global District Energy Climate Awards in 2017.


Torrelago is a residential district located in Laguna de Duero, near Valladolid, formed by 31 buildings that respond to three different typologies, containing a total 1,488 dwellings where more than 4.000 residents live. Every building has ground plus twelve floor levels, occupied by an entrance hall and a total of 48 dwellings each with a surface of about 80 m² or 95 m² , representing over 140.000 m² in total.

Prior to the retrofitting, the district had two different district heating systems, composed by two independent gas-fired boiler rooms. The system was controlled by an analogical system that managed the flow temperature from the boiler and the temperature of storage domestic hot water tank. The heating temperature set point was configured by maintenance personnel according to their experience, the weather conditions and the requirements of the neighbours. During the project feasibility stage, it was recommended to transform the previous district heating systems in a more efficient, sustainable and smart one.

 A shift to a biomass boilers was considered as the best option. Both district heating systems were joined into one in order to harmonise the district overall consumption. A new building was built to place the biomass boiler room and biomass silo. The underground area occupied by the biomass silo is 72.4 m² and height 5.9 m, with a useful volume of approximately 400 m³. Using a digital control system and modulating regulation, boilers reach a performance of 90%. Thanks to the refurbishment in the district heating system, the share of energy savings is increased from 40% to 50% and the system saves 3,392 tCO2/year compared to the initial gas-fired system, presenting a CO2 reduction of 94%.

In a truly cooperative approach, CITyFiED representatives carried out workshops with the residents on visualising the district’s renovation. In this way, the project took account of user perspectives and placed residents at the heart of the decision-making process, key for long-term success in green energy projects. Such an approach raises awareness of energy challenges and increases the prospect of replication through citizen engagement.

Learn more about CITyFiED project with the following video:


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