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How can neighbourhoods and settlements contribute to the grid stability and flexibility of our energy system? What are the key technologies? And how can municipalities and private owners be mobilised to make their neighbourhoods energy-efficient and forward-looking? At the fourth Project Manager Meeting ENERGIEWENDEBAUEN at the end of April in Essen, 120 scientists discussed current obstacles and possible solutions.

At the invitation of the support research team ENERGIEWENDEBAUEN and the Project Management Jülich, the project managers met at an unusual location on the main topic of "Sustainable supply strategies for districts". Masses usually take place in the Gustav Adolf House on Margarethenhöhe in Essen. The reason for the choice of location was the research project EnQM: Energieoptimiertes Quartier Margarethenhöhe Essen. It was the subject of one of four practical reports that introduced the two days of the event. In subsequent workshop rounds, particular key topics were deepened in groups.

Reports from research practice

Efficiency concept for the listed building stock

In the historic workers' housing estate Margarethenhöhe, the aim is to show how listed districts can be optimised in terms of energy efficiency. The modules for this are energy-efficient refurbishment, innovative building technology and its intelligent networking as well as the integration of renewable energies. In a first phase, the scientists will concentrate on simulation-supported analyses and on-site investigations of the constructional and structural-physical possibilities. Then selected refurbishment modules are implemented using exemplary objects and scientifically evaluated. Professor Harald Garrecht from the University of Stuttgart and Michael Flachmann from the Margarethenhöhe Foundation presented the initial situation and the planned work.
Further details about the project...

Model-based energy supply for large properties

Peter Remmen, research assistant at the E.ON Energy Research Center at RWTH Aachen University, presented the project "Living Roadmap". Using the Jülich Forschungszentrum as an example, RWTH researchers are developing a model-based system for designing, planning and operating the energy supply of large properties. Detailed calculation models of all generation units and consumers form the basis. A model predictive control makes predictions for the heating and cooling networks as well as for the requirements of the buildings. Taking into account the power requirements, optimal operation modes for all energy converters are predicted in order to achieve the highest possible use of renewable energies. If the framework conditions change, the model can adapt automatically. The tool is already being used in cooperation with the building and property management of the Forschungszentrum, but it is also being further developed.

Building complex as an grid-supportive energy-plus district

The new construction of a large residential and commercial complex in the Bavarian town of Geretsried already has the characteristics of a small quarter due to its size and structure. By combining electricity and heat storage systems with regenerative energy generators and combined heat and power generation, the aim is to achieve a mode of operation that makes direct use of as much of the energy generated on site as possible. Dr. Volker Stockinger from Munich University of Applied Sciences presented the energy concept of the pilot project and the status of the planning. Dirk Weiß from the TU Dresden reported on the possibilities and results of thermal building simulation in this project.

A new approach in the project is hybrid heating for heating and hot water. This allows the individual temperature requirements of the users for the hot water supply to be decoupled from the central energy supply, thus ensuring operation at a low temperature level. If required, heat can also be generated directly from renewable electricity (power-to-heat).

Involving small municipalities in the energy transition

Smaller, rural communities often lack the knowledge and resources to develop comprehensive heating and energy concepts on their own. For this reason, local actors often fail to recognize possible and affordable options for action. In order to show them starting points for energy savings, efficient energy use and the inclusion of renewable energies, a software-supported planning and decision-making aid is being developed in the "Transformation im ländlichen Raum - TRAIL" project. The goal is a tool for an easy entry into planning that takes into account the respective starting situations, focal points and actors and delivers reliable statements for implementation right from the first step. The municipality can decide on the accuracy of the data and the amount of data to be collected, depending on requirements and possibilities. The identified options for action can then be evaluated and subsequent steps can be defined. Dr. Olaf Schümann from Thüringer Energie- und GreenTech-Agentur GmbH (ThEGA) presented the planned, multi-stage tool and the pilot communities selected for its testing.


The event focused on five parallel workshops on current aspects of research projects. The workshop moderators presented the results at the end of the event in the plenum.

(1) Participatory methods in construction and research projects

User participation in research projects has different facets: Do you need user data to determine the basics? Are you looking for user feedback on a software tool? Do you want to influence users' behaviour by involving them? Participation in any case increases the complexity of the planning process and poses a challenge for researchers, as they rarely have experience in this field. It is important that communication takes place at eye level. To this end, the appropriate format for the respective group of actors must be found and designed in such a way that as far as possible there is also a benefit for the participants. And no matter what, every participation has its limits. It is therefore crucial to clearly define the circle of participants and its possibilities of influence. It should be communicated from the outset that not all interests can be taken into account.

(2) Big Data, Little Data, No Data - dealing with large amounts of data

Data form the basis for new findings in scientific research. Few data can be as valuable as many - provided they are the right ones. Problems arise if data are lacking because relevant data cannot be found or is not available. For researchers, this raises the question of the form, effort and cost of data collection. Which data is important? Which available? What significance and quality do they have? The topic of data protection is also becoming increasingly important for researchers. While private content is often published without hesitation on social media platforms, there are great reservations about the collection of other private data. This can be felt in research projects in particular. In the workshop, therefore, various ideas for data collection arose, for example to request building data in an energy declaration analogous to the tax return or to collect data on a voluntary basis in crowdsourcing projects.

(3) The district as a stabilisation option for the overall energy system

How can districts become useful for the network? A central and now widely discussed approach is sectoral coupling. Electricity and heating systems interact with this concept, with the aim of stabilising each other through flexible use and storage options. But there are many obstacles: This makes the energy supply system more complex, and more demanding in planning and operation. Furthermore, the balance sheet limits and the methodology for assessing grid usability must be precisely clarified, as must the handling of the resulting data from a data protection perspective. In addition, there are still no uniform standards for technical communication in the system. Open-source mantle protocols would be conceivable as a cross-facility standard for this purpose.

(4) What makes a building or district actually smart?

The currently further developed version of the EU Building Energy Efficiency Directive (EPBD) provides for the introduction of a "Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI)" for evaluating the building with regard to the possible uses of information and communication technology (ICT) and electronic systems. With IC technology, individual buildings and entire quarters can become adaptable - both to user requirements and to the energy networks. A methodology for the SRI is currently being developed. It is based on an evaluation matrix for areas of influence (human, energy, network), application areas (heating, cooling, lighting, etc.) and functionality levels (levels for the contribution to smartness). The method was critically reviewed and discussed in the workshop on the basis of concrete pilot projects.

(5) Sustainable energy supply

The dynamics of the various framework conditions in society, business and technology have a major influence on the goal of developing a future-proof energy supply. Their actual course cannot be accurately predicted. At the same time, the regulations in which research is conducted only ever reflect the established state. In order to remain open to future developments, a diversity of solutions is important. The establishment of CO2 as a target variable allows more openness to technology.

As a touchstone for sustainable concepts, research should focus on the multiplier effect. Isolated solutions are of little use. They must be connectable and integrable. Once a good solution has been found, the aim is to demonstrate it in various applications, prove its transferability and cost-effectiveness and thus spread it more quickly. Interdisciplinary cooperation and the early involvement of practitioners also play an important role. Overall, communication needs to be strengthened.

Documentation of the results

A detailed event report with documentation of the results will be published shortly on this website.

Funding Number: 03ET1417A, 03ET1417B, 03ET1417C, 03ET1417D

Last Update: 8. May 2018

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