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Demo Sites - Soma

Soma has a population of about 90,000 people and can be found in the Manisa province, Western Turkey. The town has grown around the lignite mining industry and the lignite-fired thermal power plant in the city.

In general, buildings are heated by coal based heating systems, where old-fashioned stoves heat around 70% of dwellings and only 30% of buildings are heated by central heating boilers with their own radiator systems.

The pilot demonstrator district consists of a total gross area of 64,971m2 (41,158 m2 conditioned area), where 59,297 m2 (36,257 m2 conditioned area) of these contain the residential apartments relevant to CITyFiED. The demonstrated is completed with 2 guesthouses accounting for 3,028 m2 of gross area (2,470 m2 conditioned area) and a convention centre with 2,646 m2 of gross area (2,431 m2 conditioned area). Buildings of the demonstrator are owned by SOMA Electricity Generation & Trading Joint Stock Company (SEAŞ) and used to house its personnel. The demo site has nearly 160,600 m2 land area and 346 residential apartments. Total population in demo site is around 1,500 – 2,000 people.


An evolving environment for the project

To date, retrofitting interventions on seven blocks of buildings have been completed as well as a solar thermal collector system installed for the entire site – a promising start, indeed.  However, the tender processes publicly-owned must respect are proving to be time-consuming and intricate, meaning the local teams will be on a tight schedule to complete renovations to all the intended dwellings. District heating interventions will start before the end of 2015 and will be implemented in parallel with a range of smart grid improvements.

One of the major risks now associated to the project is proving to be the government’s decision to privatize SEAŞ, a process presently underway. This has influenced decision-making, prioritization, budgeting and resource allocation for the company, which is at the centre of the interventions at the demo site and the related investments.  Although these risks are beginning to be overcome, there are some concerns that SEAŞ will become a significantly smaller enterprise in the process, affecting accommodation unit allocations. Given the social aspects and attractiveness of project objectives are of primary concern, local project team is trying to assess the situation progress as best as it can.


The un-mined potential of district heating and energy efficiencies

  • 82 buildings (79 residential + 2 guest houses + 1 convention centre)
  • 346 dwellings
  • > 2,000 residents
  • 64,971 m2 of constructed area 


With a long tradition of coalmines and agriculture, with buildings heated by coal-based systems, air quality in the region has suffered greatly.

To tackle this, the local government have placed district heating implementation at the top of their agenda. It is a natural use of immediate assets: SEAŞ has enough surplus heat not only for SEAŞ housing, but also for the whole city of Soma. The lignite fired thermal power plant has the potential to provide heating for nearly 28,000 homes using its waste heat.

Taking into account the present conditions existing in the buildings, two different retrofitting strategies were proposed to turn things around:

The first strategy consists of application of passive design strategies on the building envelope adding defined building elements such as insulation.  

The second strategy consists of integration of active design strategies such as building integrated PV and solar collectors as a renewable technology, innovative integration of monitoring systems for providing best indoor comfort conditions and energy savings.

Cities and officials of the CITyFiED project will discover these in person during the upcoming workshop and study tour in Turkey, 24-26 March 2015 and resources will also be made available on the protected ‘CITy Smart’ section of the website for those unable to attend. 


A network of expertise to build on

Besides SEAŞ, the demo site owner, and the Municipalities of Soma and Manisa - implementing the district heating systems - a strong local team has undertaken the implementation of the project.

Demir Enerji, a consulting and engineering firm, experienced in climate and carbon management issues, renewables and energy efficiency strategies and policy for local governments as well as the private sector, has taken on the overall coordination of the local project team. Overseeing on-site interventions at the demo site and developing ‘green certification’ for the renovated buildings will also be Demir Enerji tasks.

Two leading institutions in Turkey, Istanbul Technical University (İTU) Energy Institute and The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, Marmara Research Center (TUBİTAK MAM) are working together in modelling the energy demand and designing the district heating system -before and after- to achieve the expected energy saving goals.

MIR-ArGe, a research and technology focused SME has undertaken to develop and implement novel heating and cooling systems in the building stock and new product development for the district heating distribution system.  While REENGEN, another SME in the growing ICT products sector in Turkey, will be responsible for smart grid monitoring system implementations in collaboration with international partners.

Manisa Municipality will be responsible for the construction of four kilometres of new transmission line between the power plant and the lodgings.

Check the dedicated Soma mini-site in Turkish!