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Energy Efficiency in Communities

45% of the global population lives in cities. In 2020, this figure will be 62%. National and global climate protection, indisputably necessary, is therefore based on energy consumption and the resulting emissions of pollutants in our cities and conurbations. For centuries, cities have been both social and cultural centres. The developments in cities have a global effect and set trends for entire generations. This also holds true for technological innovations, which are often initiated in cities. The energy savings and pollution reduction necessary in cities requires a significant increase in energy efficiency.

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The EnEff:Stadt Research Initiative

Increasing efficiency is the focus of the "EnEff:Stadt" research initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. This initiative is intended to reveal ways of increasing the energy efficiency via optimised efficient energy supply and use concepts. In doing so, it considers typical city districts and focuses on the key urban development tasks of our future – from refurbishment of historic areas via conversion of former industrial and commercial spaces to innovative supply solutions including modern storage technologies.

Pilot projects in different communities and typical city districts will provide examples and indicative findings for widespread application. The projects include innovative planning concepts, implementation of the concepts in buildings and evaluation via scientific measurements, i.e. verification of the results. Innovative technologies and integrated concepts, maximum primary energy savings and standardised, transferable solutions with a great signal effect are the focus of funding. The research activities and pilot projects are supervised scientifically by a group of research institutions and experienced practitioners.

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The EnEff:Wärme Research Initiative

Local and district heating networks open up multiple energy saving opportunities. On the other hand, they are associated with complicated technology and are complex to operate. Their energy efficiency cannot be increased unless options such as industrial waste heat utilisation, cogeneration and renewable energy sources are taken into account system-wide. Heat distribution costs can also be substantially reduced through new concepts, networks and technologies. Given this background, the BMWi’s EnEff:Wärme research initiative focuses on new network concepts and the development of innovative technologies. The aim is a substantial energetic, economic and ecological improvement of heat supply.

EnEff:Wärme promotes specific network optimisation with the aim of further increasing the share of local and district heating and integrating less densely populated areas into the supply network. This could be the future of central heat supply systems. District heating networks, so-called smart grids, are to become central building blocks in local energy management. Low-exergy technologies (LowEx) help reduce transmission losses. Furthermore, new adaptive cooling and heating networks offer starting points for the integration of renewable energy. Thermally-driven micro cooling systems, latent heat and cold storage facilities, ORC technologies or thermally-driven heat pumps: The use of modern building technology and the development of distribution technology and system components represent important aspects of the EnEff:Wärme initiative - just like intelligent control and measuring technologies. Together, they form a fundamentally new heat supply concept.

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Additional information:

Special Websites

Research for energy-optimised construction

Low-Exergy Technologies

Energy-Oriented Improvement of the Building Fabric

IEA Energy Conservation in Buildings and Community Systems

IEA Annex 51
Energy Efficient Communities: Case Studies and Strategic Guidance for Urban Decision Makers