In this project, the implementation of energy-efficient district concepts in systemically interlinked districts is being investigated using the example of three new housing estates forming part of Wolfsburg’s expansion. To this end, the researchers are evaluating technical components and interfaces for a future smart grid at the building, building block and district level. The individual concepts, which will be integrated into ongoing city planning processes, will be implemented together with the local actors. In addition to the accompanying monitoring concepts, a tool for the energy and quality management during operation is also being developed.

According to the Prognos study (Prognos Zukunftsatlas 2013), Wolfsburg is one of the most dynamic cities in Germany with great prospects for the future. However, the housing shortage and the resulting 75,000 commuters and more a day are enormous challenges. Within the framework of a long-term programme of the city of Wolfsburg called “Wohnen & Bauen Master Plan 2020”, the aim is to gradually create at least 6,000 residential units within the current city limits over the next few years. The master plan sees the greatest development potential in the eastern part of the city. Three new residential districts are envisaged as part of the city’s expansion: Hellwinkel Ost, Steimker Gärten and Nordsteimke-Hehlingen. Various concept variants are being developed for these districts by the Technical University of Braunschweig.

Since the city was founded, Wolfsburg’s energy supply has been closely linked to the power generated for the Volkswagen plant. At the same time, this means that there are restrictions in the city’s scope for manoeuvre, but also advantages resulting from primary energy-efficient district heating supply based on industrial waste heat. In 2009, a “CO2 balancing and reduction concept” was adopted by Wolfsburg, together with the target of reducing CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 as based on emissions in the base year of 2000. Within the framework of this objective, Wolfsburg is involved in the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. Wolfsburger Energieagentur was founded in 2009 to promote the development of technical and economic skills in the region.


Research focus

Based on the master plan of the city of Wolfsburg, the research project aims to implement pioneering pilot projects in the form of systemically networked districts. Various variants for district energy concepts are being developed by the Institute of Building Services and Energy Design at the TU Braunschweig. On the basis of a joint consideration of spatially adjacent district projects, possibilities arise which would not have when viewed separately (cluster approach). The comprehensive development of the districts and their infrastructural links will lead to a leap forward in the implementation of sustainable concepts in urban areas.

And: The examination of the areas in the cluster is intended to tap synergies from the various activities and leverage them for the overall process. The project brings together stakeholders of urban development – city administration, public utilities, housing companies, the large local group VOLKSWAGEN and the subsidiaries Wolfsburg AG and Wolfsburger Energieagentur – at an early stage in order to transform the individual projects into one targeted and large-scale urban planning process.

The researchers are essentially investigating which technical components and interfaces are required as building blocks for a smart grid at different scale levels (buildings, blocks, districts).


District concept

It is important to integrate the individual concepts that were developed in the research project into the ongoing urban planning processes of the city of Wolfsburg. To this end, four thematically oriented working groups have been set up to discuss the concepts and investigations across all departments with stakeholders in Wolfsburg. For Nordsteimke-Hehlingen, the development of energy concepts, scenarios and decision bases for the city takes place in parallel with framework development planning. The city administration itself plans to incorporate energy efficiency requirements into development plans or urban development contracts. The later implementation of the new building projects will be monitored and evaluated by the researchers on an ongoing basis.

Energy concept

The concepts to be developed will be compared with the objectives of the higher-level energy concept and will be optimised step-by-step in terms of their implementation. Smart buildings are to become consumers, energy generators and storages as well as service providers for a stable supply grid. Requirements from the point of view of the supply grids are taken up and further developed. Renewable energy sources are often volatile in terms of availability, so storage capacities and grid services are becoming increasingly important. Depending on the concept, buildings are thus transformed from energy consumers into energy generators and service providers. The aspects of supply security and economic efficiency play a decisive role. The building blocks of a district are thus given special significance because they can exploit synergies within their respective structures and proportionate compositions.

Implementation and performance

In addition to the monitoring concepts, it is intended to develop a tool for the operational energy and quality management as part of the project-accompanying evaluation. This is because the targeted building and supply concepts place high demands on the technical implementation. The following activities are planned:

  • Development of a scope of services for energy and quality management in the various service phases
  • Determination of standardised system concepts and the corresponding target/actual values, test methods and feedback options
  • Determination of balance boundaries at the building and district levels
  • Roadmaps for the implementation of technology and processes in the implementation phase, including the necessary award processes
  • Concept for technical and economic meta-monitoring for energy and quality management
  • Forecasting of costs and potential savings for energy and quality management as the basis for an economic efficiency calculation.

Four thematic working groups on the future Wolfsburg area are dedicated to transferring research results. Across all departments, they discuss the concepts and investigations of the research project with the stakeholders in Wolfsburg. Research projects such as district development are intended to trigger an energetic transformation in the city as a whole.


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At a glance

Short title: EnEff:Stadt:
Funding number: 03ET1327A
Topics Buildings, Urban districts and cities, Energy supply in buildings and districts;
Running time: 01.08.2015- 31.08.2019


TU Braunschweig, Institut für Gebäude- und Solartechnik IGS

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