Applying innovative energy solutions (IES) in dense residential areas in the Netherlands is a challenge. This paper presents a typology that supports the analysis and understanding of policy implementation processes to encourage the adoption of innovative energy solutions in urban residential areas. The typology uses theoretical concepts from the social sciences, more specifically the disciplines of public administration and policy studies. The two main hypotheses in the paper are that: (a) a high degree of process management will lead to an increasing likelihood that such a policy will be successful implemented, whereas: (b) a high degree of institutionalized interest from other policy areas – especially urban renewal - will lead to failure to implement policy strategies aimed at the adoption of innovative energy solutions. The hypotheses are empirically tested by presenting four case studies in which fitting innovative energy solutions in domestic housing was on the residential site refurbishment project agenda. The paper adds further insights in the fields of environmental energy policy implementation, sustainable cities and energy transition.