ENsource, a research network for urban energy systems and ressource efficiency in Baden-Württemberg, has presented its own toolkit of software in the online event "Urban energy systems of the future. Sustainable. Intelligent. Efficient." in front of representatives of thelocal city planning, energy sector and industry.
The researchers have previously tested their toolbox in five different case studies in Baden-Württemberg. With this toolbox, they hope to create impulses for the phasing out of fossil energy production in cities and municipalities through the use of renewable energies, thereby making an important contribution to the energy turnaround. Researchers from the fields of engineering, information technology, urban planning, architecture and forestry and agriculture presented the tools and services they have developed themselves to the approximately 60 participants in the dialogue forums.
Savings potential through reduced heat consumption
The aim of these complex digital tools is to integrate renewable energies optimally, resource-efficiently and economically already in the planning phase of new and existing buildings by computer-aided modelling, simulation and optimisation. In concrete terms, the aim is to show ways of generating as much electricity and heat as possible from renewable energy sources, and to combine energy sources such as photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, wind power or bioenergy in a sensible way. The tools and services show planners how they can further develop new and existing buildings in a climate-friendly way and thus contribute to the energy turnaround. The greatest potential for savings, and thus also the potential to reduce CO2 emissions, lies in reducing the heat consumption of buildings.
The tools were tested in five case studies in different regions in Baden-Württemberg: Stuttgart, Mannheim, Schwieberdingen, Rainau (Ostalbkreis) and Mainau Island. The toolbox was developed and tested by seven research-strong universities, two universities and two non-university research institutions.
In three workshops the researchers presented their toolbox of tools and discussed them with the participants under the following aspects:
The participants of the dialogue forum were impressed by the interplay of the various tools covering the many aspects of planning energy systems. Above all, the integrated approach was rated positively, as it relates to entire urban districts and not just individual buildings. Frequently, municipal utilities and local authorities do not have the time and capacity to take the many aspects into account when planning energy systems.
Energy efficiency for entire neighbourhoods, not just individual buildings
The participants found it particularly exciting in the discussion that the tools allow a holistic view in terms of sustainability to be taken at an early stage. Aspects of energy supply or even resource efficiency are often not taken into account in the initial planning phase of urban quarters".
Moreover, energy efficiency and the reduction of CO2 emissions were mainly only considered for individual buildings, which means that great potential for optimisation was lost, participants in the discussion argued. This confirms ENsource's approach of thinking at neighbourhood level and thus being able to include business management aspects and the question of suitable business models in the design of urban energy systems, emphasised experts from ENsource. This makes it possible to develop solutions for entire quarters that span multiple properties.
ENsource is one step ahead with its offer: At the moment, municipal planners and public utilities often only consider the greenhouse gas emissions that are emitted directly during the operation of the energy generation plants. This is done in the context of national climate strategies and municipal climate plans. With its tools and services, ENsource enables a life cycle analysis for technologies and energy systems from the extraction of raw materials, through production and use, to the recycling of materials after the end of use. This includes a comprehensive resource assessment, including consideration of raw material and land consumption.
Decision support for neighbourhood planning teams
It is important that right from the start of a planning project, a team of experts from building authorities, urban planning and public utilities takes a holistic view of economic, ecological and social issues. However, current administrative structures and planning processes do not provide for this. ENsource solutions could be used in these teams to support decision-making, as the tools can be used to identify and quantitatively evaluate suitable measures. This concerns, for example, the decision whether and to what extent renewable energies such as photovoltaics, wind power or bioenergy should be used.
In the course of the dialogue forum, a lively discussion arose around some of the tools presented. In addition to in-depth questions about the function of the tools, concrete use cases were also asked. Such concrete use cases were tested, researched and evaluated in the ENsource research project in the case studies for rural and urban as well as industrial needs, so that the participants of the dialogue forum could also convince themselves of the transferability of the developed tools and services to reality. In particular, the possibility of coupling the tools with each other met with a positive response from interested parties.
It thus became clear that the tools developed in the project can be extremely helpful for practical application in residential and commercial areas. Several participants showed great interest and stay in contact with the respective experts.
Official website ENsource: www.ensource.de