Reduction of CO2 emission

Reduction of CO2 emission: ENsource research association provides innovative impulses for sustainable energy systems at neighborhood level


Stuttgart, 23 July 2020

ENsource, a research association for urban energy systems and resource efficiency in Baden-Württemberg, has presented its self-developed toolbox of software tools in the dialogue forum "Urban Energy Systems of the Future. Sustainable. Intelligent. Efficient" in front of representatives of municipal urban planning, energy management and industry. The scientists had previously tested their toolbox in five different case studies in Baden-Württemberg. With this, they want to provide impulses to realize the phasing out of fossil energy production in cities and municipalities using renewable energies, and thus make an important contribution to the energy turnaround.

Researchers from the fields of engineering, information technology, urban planning, architecture and forestry and agriculture presented their self-developed tools and services to the approximately 60 participants in the dialogue forums. The aim of these complex digital tools is to use computer-aided modelling, simulation and optimization to integrate renewable energies optimally, resource-efficiently and economically right from the planning phase of new and existing buildings. In concrete terms, the aim is to show ways in which as much electricity and heat as possible can be generated from renewable energies and, to this end, energy sources such as photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, wind power or bioenergy can be combined 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 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 nine 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:

·        Energy industry - Optimized energy supply and sector coupling in urban areas; Moderation: Prof. Dieter Hertweck, Reutlingen

·        Communal neighborhoods - Optimized energy systems for neighborhood development; Moderation: Prof. Hendrik Lambrecht, Pforzheim

·         Industrial quarters - Optimized energy systems for industry; Moderation: Dr. Jann Binder, Stuttgart


The participants of the dialogue forum were impressed by the interaction of the various tools covering the many aspects of planning energy systems. In particular, the integrated approach was positively evaluated, 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 consider the many aspects when planning energy systems.

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 considered in the initial planning phase of urban quarters.

Moreover, energy efficiency and the reduction of CO2 emissions are mainly only considered for individual buildings, which means that a great deal of potential for optimization is lost, participants said in the discussion. This confirms ENsource's approach of thinking at neighborhood level and thus being able to include business management aspects and the question of suitable business models in the design of urban energy systems, emphasized 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.

It is important that right from the start of a planning project, a team of experts from building authorities, urban planning and public utilities take 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.

Thus, it became clear that the tools developed in the project could be extremely helpful for practical application in residential and commercial areas. Several participants showed great interest and stay in contact with the respective experts.


About ENsource

The overall coordination of the ENsource project is in the hands of Prof. Volker Coors, scientific director of the Institute for Applied Research (IAF) at the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences (HFT). ENsource emerged as a cross-university research association ZAFH (Centres for Applied Research at Universities) from the HAW (Universities of Applied Sciences Baden-Württemberg). In the ZAFH "Urban Energy Systems and Resource Efficiency - ENsource", seven other research-strong universities of applied sciences work together with the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences: Aalen, Biberach, Heilbronn, Mannheim, Pforzheim, Reutlingen and Rottenburg with two universities (Stuttgart and Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg) and the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE). In the current EFRE-funding period (2014 - 2020), the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts is supporting the project with 1.25 million euros from state funds and 1.25 million euros from ERDF funds.

General information is available at:,

Details of the case studies as well as tools and services can be found there under "Research".


Contact person for further inquiries:

Contacts at the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences (HFT):

Prof. Dr. Volker Coors, ENSource coordinator and case study Stuttgart

Scientific Director of the Institute for Applied Research (IAF), HFT Stuttgart

Phone +49 172 6913767


Maryam Zirak, Project Management HFT Stuttgart, Centre for Sustainable Energy Technology (

Phone +49 152 0884 6864


Susanne Rytina, Research and Science Communication M4_LAB, HFT Stuttgart

Phone +49 171 4158448


Contacts for questions about the workshops:

Prof. Dr. Dieter Hertweck, Hochschule Reutlingen, Herman Hollerith Zentrum

Tel +49 7121-271-4106


Prof. Dr. Hendrik Lambrecht, Hochschule Pforzheim, Institut für Industrial Ecology (INEC)

Tel: +49 7231-28-6424


Dr. Jann Binder, Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), Fachgebiet Photovoltaik: Module Systeme Anwendungen

Tel: +49 711 7870-209

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