Funding Initiative Solar Construction/Energy-Efficient Towns

In Germany, about 75 % of the population live in towns. Towns and neighbourhoods therefore represent special habitats for living, economic activities, and culture. This is why they require a sustainable and energy-efficient energy system. The building sector is particularly relevant for increasing energy efficiency. In Germany, residential and non-residential buildings account for about 35 % of final energy consumption, roughly three quarters of this in the form of heat. This is the starting point for the Funding Initiative Solar Construction/Energy-Efficient Towns. The funding of research, development, and demonstration promotes the restructuring of the energy sector (Energiewende) and in particular a restructuring of heat use in buildings and neighbourhoods.

Der Hauptmarkt in Trier an der Mosel (Dominik Ketz/Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus GmbH)
Main market square in Trier on the Moselle
photo: Dominik Ketz/Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus GmbH

The funding initiative Solar Construction/Energy-Efficient Towns comprises the entire range of energy-optimized construction, refurbishment, and operation of buildings and energy infrastructures in neighbourhoods. In the same way, the initiative includes all aspects that increase energy efficiency in neighbourhoods, make renewable energies easier to integrate, and optimally distribute energy in an energy system, also by means of intelligent sector coupling. Energy efficiency and decarbonization begin on the level of buildings and continue with neighbourhoods and towns. The two topics of solar construction and energy-efficient towns are covered by the call for applications.

Solar construction

The solar construction module of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy provides funding for projects on the level of buildings and groups of buildings. Priority is given to the demonstration of concepts for the refurbishment and construction of blocks of flats. Particular attention is paid to economic viability if energy efficiency is to be implemented and if renewables are to be integrated.

The topic of solar construction illustrates how renewables can be incorporated into the heat concept. This module stands for the overall use of renewable energy carriers. Ambitious collaborative projects will be funded, which by a combination of research, development, and demonstration, contribute to realizing the energy-efficient building strategy of the Federal Government for blocks of flats with respect to both refurbishment and new buildings.

Energy-efficient towns

The module Energy-Efficient Towns from the joint call for applications by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy funds comprehensive and systemic lighthouse projects in neighbourhoods. An innovative, energy-optimized, and sustainable neighbourhood which can practically dispense with fossil fuels due to energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies can only be realized by systemic, transdisciplinary approaches.

It is not only technical challenges that have to be overcome, the appropriate legal framework also has to be created, economic concepts drawn up, and the actors affected must be involved in implementing the measures in order to achieve the necessary acceptance.

Lighthouse projects in the form of living labs and comprehensive neighbourhood projects will be funded and will address an overall energy concept involving all relevant actors starting from research up to and including implementation. Comprehensive changes are necessary in order to maximize the contributions of the towns to the Energiewende. These changes are to be initiated and prepared by research and development activities and the implementation monitored on site. Essential aspects are reducing energy consumption, promoting sector coupling, and gradually decarbonizing the entire system by integrating renewable energies. The aim is to develop visionary and feasible institutional strategies facilitating long-term and energetically sustainable urban development in neighbourhoods.

Last update: 06.04.2017