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Yesterday, the winners of the EnEff.Gebäude.2050 ideas competition were honoured at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin. In the second part of the competition, concepts were sought for a future international energy competition for buildings and districts which would provide an interesting site and integrate the proposed competition venue as an experimental space or “living lab” into the urban environment. This would involve local colleges, authorities, real estate owners, companies and citizens, who would disseminate new ideas for energy-efficient buildings and urban districts.

The EnEff.Gebäude.2050 ideas competition focuses on ideas and concepts that point the way towards achieving almost climate-neutral buildings and districts. In category 2, municipalities and universities have jointly submitted concepts for an international energy competition which is in the tradition of – and continues to develop – the Solar Decathlon Europe. Through their broad application, the intention is to intensify the transfer from research to built practice. The approach is interdisciplinary, inter-technological, social and participatory. It should help to create a sustainable and organic urban space. The five award-winning competition concepts are distinguished not only by their high-profile or scientific support, but also by the coherent choice of the competition site and its integration into the proposed urban design concept.

The jury meeting for the second part of the ideas competition took place on 29 November 2017 in Berlin. Chaired by Professor Hans-Martin Henning, head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, an interdisciplinary jury evaluated the submitted works. A total of 130,000 euros in prize money was awarded.

The University of Wuppertal with the city of Wuppertal and the Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus with the town of Cottbus shared first prize for their concepts (each winning 40,000 euros). These were followed in second place by the concepts entered by Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin with the city of Berlin and the Technische Universität Darmstadt with the city of Frankfurt am Main. 20,000 euros of prize money were awarded to each of the teams. Technische Universität Braunschweig, together with the city of Braunschweig, was awarded a special prize of 10,000 euros.

The winning concepts provide an important stepping stone for the possible launch of an international energy competition under international patronage. Their ideas should substantially support the further conception and implementation of the competition.

Brief overview of the five award-winning projects:

Decentralised contests for regional transformation

© Team Energy Endeavor Competition, Region Cottbus

The concept envisages subdividing the future ideas competition into three phases: the first phase would directly involve student groups who would be supervised by an interdisciplinary team of experts. The general public would then be closely involved during the subsequent event phase. The third and final phase would prepare the subsequent implementation of the competition entries.

Details on the “Energy Endeavour Competition” entry, Cottbus region

© BINE Informationsdienst

In the Lausitz region, a total of eight competition locations shall be integrated within the three towns of Cottbus, Spremberg and Lübbenau, whereby Cottbus would provide the central venue for the Energy Endeavour Competition. Participants from technical colleges and companies shall network, for example, different energy loads and producers at the location with the technical focus on “Smart City/Smart Grid” and implement new digital concepts for optimising resources. These shall be actually implemented as examples of innovative approaches for urban districts and energy systems of the future. This shall take place in a so-called urban living lab as a space for experimentation that would showcase the competition operations in a high-profile manner.

Based on the specific characteristics of the eight competition locations, contests shall be developed in five categories whose disciplines are derived from the key topics of sustainable urban development: Concept/Design, Social Aspects & Culture, Urban Planning, Technology/Energy and Monitoring. The concept also includes a uniformly structured competition format in three phases, with a flexible evaluation structure. Central, semi-central and decentralised (energy) supply solutions will be addressed as part of the competition task. The contests will be integrated directly into the planning and implementation processes of real construction projects. An operating company shall be founded to develop and coordinate the organisation.


BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and the city of Cottbus



Competition community coaches district development

© Team Solar Decathlon goes Urban, Mirker Quartier Wuppertal

This entry further develops the previous “Solar Decathlon” competition by basing it within an urban setting, the lively Mirker railway station neighbourhood in the Wuppertal district of Elberfeld. Here the international university competition community shall provide the building block for the living lab as part of the district's urban development. It shall support existing local initiatives for a particularly energy-efficient district and integrate them into the competition concept.

Details on the “Solar Decathlon goes Urban” entry, Mirker district, Wuppertal

© BINE Informationsdienst

The lively Mirker neighbourhood with its roughly 800 buildings serves as a platform for the competition and, together with its adjacent areas, as the competition site. The century-old district already stands today for exciting urban development. It is home to the Utopiastadt (Utopian City) creative cluster and the Forum:Mirke, which provides a meeting point for active social engagement. In various scientific projects, research is also being conducted on the developments in the district as a “real world laboratory”.

The competition concept envisages a multi-phase model: a student competition as well as the tendering and realisation of demonstration projects in the district. This will be supplemented with the living lab NRW. At six locations in the Mirker district, various construction schemes within the existing built fabric will be designed, implemented and scientifically monitored, ranging from developing infill plots to adding additional stories. These will be preceded by a competition focusing on residential and residential-like use for urban timber buildings on a vacant site at Mirker railway station. Incentives for future use include support for innovative measures and monitoring.


University of Wuppertal and the city of Wuppertal



Redevelopment project as a flagship for the Energy Lab

© Team Energy Lab, Schumacher Quartier Berlin-Tegel

The development of the Schumacher district is linked to the succession of competitions for the redevelopment site at Tegel Airport – the largest residential construction project in Berlin. The competition format aims to bridge the gap between researchers and construction engineers working together to develop concepts for climate-neutral buildings in the Energy Lab.

Details on the “Energy Lab” entry, Schumacher district Berlin-Tegel

© BINE Informationsdienst

For the Energy Lab Berlin, an area was selected in the south-western part of the Schumacher district near Tegel Airport, Berlin's largest housing project. It is set to be realised between 2021 and 2025. In the tradition of a building exhibition, the goal is to demonstrate exemplary concepts for climate-neutral buildings right from the beginning of the implementation phase. The competition site itself consists of two neighbouring construction sites on which around 200 residential units will be built with possible commercial uses in the ground floor areas. The task also includes designing communally used spaces within the blocks as well as open spaces within the building plots.

The Energy Lab Berlin is linked to a successive sequence of competitions. The competition instrument aims to bridge the gap between research and practice for constructing buildings and districts. The innovative approaches used in developing the Schumacher district should enable corresponding synergy effects. The implementation of the concept is, however, dependent on the closure of Tegel Airport.


Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin, city of Berlin and Tegel Projekt GmbH



The TRUE LAB competition concept provides the experimental platform for a research and development laboratory based on the transformation of a neighbourhood in the south of Frankfurt's Nordweststadt district. In this laboratory the participating teams will design, plan and build development options for an exemplary ensemble of multi-storey apartment buildings from the 1950s to the 1970s. They will then test and evaluate the final results with the residents.

Details on the “TRUE LAB” entry, Nordweststadt district, Frankfurt am Main

The competition site is situated in the city of Frankfurt am Main. A housing estate belonging to ABG FRANKFURT HOLDING GmbH in the south of the Nordweststadt district was selected as a specific site. The properties predominantly consist of multi-storey apartment buildings with residential units of various sizes. The aim is to transform this key district element with exemplary building ensembles from the 1950s to the 1970s. Options shall be developed for densifying, building up, expanding and converting the existing building structures.

The philosophy of holistic networking shall be anchored at an early stage within the conceived competition. This is based on the diverse development potential offered by the European city, i.e. the emergent building stock. The conceived development options shall be evaluated on the basis of the main, equally weighted categories efficiency, sufficiency and consistency, and then incorporated into a holistic concept for transforming the district with innovative solutions. The actual venue for this transformation already exists as a real-world laboratory within the selected district's urban fabric, with its current state of structural development and the people who live and work there. It will now also become a competition venue.


Technische Universität Darmstadt, city of Frankfurt am Main and



Competition Future describes a two-stage concept for an international energy competition with the metropolitan region of Hanover/Braunschweig/Göttingen/Wolfsburg as the German venue. In the first stage of the competition, municipalities from German federal states wanting to participate in the international competition can apply with a competition entry in the form of an urban development measure. A national phase in which the winners will be determined will then be followed by an international phase with the presentation of the respective national winners in a grand finale event.

Details on the “Competition Future” entry, Hanover/Braunschweig/Göttingen/Wolfsburg metropolitan region

© BINE Informationsdienst

“Competition Future Germany” provides the preliminary decision for the Europe-wide competition level. Throughout Germany, teams can submit projects with sustainability concepts for their region, city or community, and thus pursue their focus on achieving innovative urban development. The competition entry will be presented to the media and public on the ground and an event venue installed. In addition to decentralised sites, there will also be a central site for the inaugural event, the semi-finals and finals, jury meetings and the central organisation. For this purpose, existing infrastructures should be used in the interests of sustainability. Projects can be realised in existing building stock and their content presented on a central knowledge platform.

The competition is divided into a national and international phase. Annual events within the participating countries should give the actors and the population the opportunity to network and actively participate in the projects. They shall take place in a central location in each respective country; in Germany the Hanover/Braunschweig/Göttingen/Wolfsburg metropolitan region is planned for this purpose. The main event would be planned as a major event with considerable media publicity comparable to the Eurovision Song Contest. The international energy competition is expected to take a total of six years. A central knowledge platform will be used to organise the contents of the competition and the integration of its decentralised venues distributed throughout Germany and Europe.


TU Braunschweig and the city of Braunschweig together with Volksbank eG Braunschweig / Wolfsburg, BS | ENERGY, Braunschweiger Versorgungs-AG & Co. KG, Braunschweiger Verkehrs-GmbH, Volkswagen-Immobilien GmbH, Stadtwerke Wolfsburg AG and Wolfsburg AG



Details on the competition process, award winners and their entries as well as the jury's comments can be found in the “EnEff.Gebäude.2050 Ideas Competition” brochure (German only) published by Project Management Jülich (PtJ).

Last Update: 12. December 2017

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