Today’s Building, Tomorrow’s Smart Energy District

Steinbeis experts support sustainable city development

For several years now, Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) has been involved in sustainable urban planning projects in Europe. As part of this project work, it supports European cities in their endeavors to replicate sustainable urban concepts that pave the way for “smart cities.” The SEZ promotes successful concepts and sustainable technologies, ensuring more widespread dissemination and implementation. The SEZ also supports companies and research establishments in the energy sector in the exploitation of existing technologies.

In 2009, the EU parliament established guidelines for the overall energy effi ciency of buildings under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. This is an important step in achieving energy and environmental protection aims in the EU. As of 2019, all member states should ensure that all new buildings used in the public sector meet low-energy housing standards. The SEZ is involved in several EU projects which focus on achieving these goals, bringing its services for technology exploitation and project management to the table. SEZ analyzes the plethora of potential innovations and develops exploitation and launch strategies. To this end it deals with intellectual property rights and implementation options, and plans how rights should be exploited. New business models and innovative services are every bit as important to this as new technological developments. The SEZ rounds off its portfolio of services with the effective communication of project results, good examples of projects in terms of profi tability and sustainability, as well as offering administrative and fi nancial project management.

These services are currently being invested in the European project BRICKER, which aims at optimizing energy consumption in public buildings. These buildings attract broad public awareness so the hope is that they will not only serve as pilot measures for kick-starting further reconstruction but also provide a model for other European cities. Three model buildings in Liege (Belgium), Caceres (Spain), and Aydın (Turkey) are being retrofi tted with active and passive technologies like renewable energy sources and decentralized heating systems as well as improved building facades, windows, and roofi ng. A facade analysis is also being conducted. These measures are intended to reduce the energy consumption of the buildings by 50%. Information and communication technologies are being used for simulations, interaction, and management accounting activities. As a project partner to BRICKER, SEZ coordinates work packages for replicating and exploiting project results. Exploitable results are analyzed in workshops aimed at developing individual and shared exploitation strategies. This serves as the basis for new business models.

Another example is a project called R2CITIES, in which project partners are carrying out reconstruction work on buildings in Valladolid (Spain), Genoa (Italy), and Kartal (Turkey) to achieve near-zero-energy districts. Strategies for planning, construction, administration, and exploitation are under development. The expectation is that the energy consumption in 850 apartments (measuring over 57,000 m2) will be reduced by 60%. This involves a two-pronged approach: the renovation of the city areas and coming up with a comprehensive methodology for energy-effi cient reconstruction at the city level. In the R2CITIES project, SEZ is a partner for exploiting the results of projects and offering training courses. In these training sessions, Steinbeis experts cover the protection and use of intellectual property as well as risk assessment. They also look at business models, innovation audits, strategy development, and technology exploitation.

In a third project – the European project CITyFiED – SEZ is working with partners to develop a strategy for a process covering everything from planning to market roll-out. The process should allow European cities to develop into “smart cities.” Three city quarters serve as trial areas: Lagunade Duero in Valladolid (Spain), Soma (Turkey), and Lund (Sweden). Feasibility studies are being conducted for eleven so-called city clusters to check whether these measures can be replicated. Another 40 cities are regularly updated on the project results. The CITyFiED partners have backgrounds in the research industry, public administration, and business development. The exploitation strategy includes plans to stimulate development in other cities over the next 10 years, spanning 100 projects and up to 500,000 building renovation initiatives. In Germany, the SEZ has been able to attract the city of Ludwigshafen to the city cluster project. The metropolitan area along the Rhine and Neckar rivers and the city of Ludwigsburg count as “communities of interest.”


Anette Mack (Public Relations), Charlotte Schlicke (Senior Project Manager renewable technologies), Dr. Frederik Metzger (Project Manager environmental technologies) and Dr. Aude Pelisson-Schecker (Project Manager new materials and nano-technologies) are employees of the Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum. Located in Stuttgart und Karlsruhe SEZ helps organizations submit applications and implement cross-border projects, find partners, manage projects, transfer technology knowhow and skills, and develop regional innovation strategies.

Anette Mack (
Charlotte Schlicke (
Dr. Frederik Metzger (
Dr. Aude Pelisson-Schecker ( 

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