A new residential model, which is set to be completed by 2022, is being built in the Marienthal district in Zwickau. This is intended to be almost emission-free, socially equitable and economically viable. A smart electricity, heating and mobility network provides the core of the energy concept, which is being developed and implemented as part of the joint “Demonstrating the Zwickau Energy Transition - ZED” project.
The energy transition does not exclusively consist of technical innovations. For this reason, additional boundary conditions are also being considered in Zwickau such as the social structure of the residents and users as well as the existing infrastructure. How do the new energy concepts affect the citizens? What kind of concerns do they have? It is planned to discuss these aspects with the residents.
Three supply strategies are being tested in the future zero-emission district of Marienthal. Two of them consist of a decentralised and a central solution with a large storage system. The existing conventional energy supply, which is based on natural gas-supplied heat generators, will be retained in a sub-district of the neighbourhood. This will serve as a reference and will not receive any technical improvements but will be equipped with measurement technology to record energy consumption and operating data. This will help provide an insight into how resident-targeted advice and information impacts on the energy consumption.
“Demonstrating the Zwickau Energy Transition – ZED” launched in November
The joint “ZED” project was launched on 1 November. Thirteen project teams are involved in the project, which is being coordinated by the town of Zwickau. The University of Applied Sciences Zwickau is responsible for the scientific management. The new residential model is aiming to implement the energy transition in an ecologically efficient, socially just and economically viable manner. “We want to have future-proof affordable housing, and that's exactly why we're developing these technologies – i.e. control technologies – in order to reduce energy costs in the districts,” explains Tobias Teich, Professor for Networked Systems at the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau.
From a smart house to a smart district
Good quality and effective thermal insulation and a photovoltaic system on the roof are not new technical developments. The Zwickau zero-emission district adds intelligent control as an important aspect. The residents use energy at different times. The smart control system is designed to provide heat and power when it's really needed. This happens, for example, via on-site heat pumps, storage and photovoltaic systems.
Mobility in the district
Even in emission-free districts there is a desire for mobility. Electromobility plays an important role in reducing the associated environmental impacts such as particulate matter and CO2 emissions. Electric cars need to be charged. This means that an adequate charging infrastructure is required on site. The market offers several fast charging systems, each with their own charging stations. One goal of the research project is to develop a new charging station that combines several systems.
Solar Building/Energy-Efficient City support initiative
The “Demonstrating the Zwickau Energy Transition – ZED” project is one of six flagship projects in the Solar Building/Energy-Efficient City support initiative launched in 2016 by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. It is the only one located in the new federal states (former East Germany). In addition to the town of Zwickau and the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau, the project consortium consists of eleven other partners from science, industry and the social sector.