GrowSmarter Cologne: Climate-friendly living in Stegerwaldsiedlung

The Stegerwaldsiedlung neighbourhood in the Mülheim district of Cologne is getting a makeover. A climate-friendly lighthouse neighbourhood will be forged here during the EU-sponsored GrowSmarter Project. The new development is expected to increase the quality of life of the residents. Individual subprojects to reduce energy consumption and improve air quality will be initiated under the leadership of the City of Cologne and with the help of many industrial partners, including RheinEnergie AG. Stegerwaldsiedlung is one of the project's three European pilot areas. Implementation of the project began in 2015 and the project will be completed in 2019.

Stegerwaldsiedlung was first built in the Mülheim district of Cologne in 1953. It consists of 1,395 homes with a residential area of nearly 80,000 square metres and covers an area of approximately 313,000 square metres. Single basement ceilings and roofs on the homes are characteristic of the era and are not well insulated. The thermal insulation is also out-dated and is far below the values for new buildings today.

Engine for progress:

  • EU-sponsored project in cooperation with Stockholm and Barcelona
  • Comprehensive development of a neighbourhood
  • Use of old housing stock by renovating existing residential buildings
  • Tenant energy from PV and batteries
  • Reduced environmental impact by reducing traffic
  • Innovative mobility hubs in the neighbourhood

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Photo: RheinEnergie AG

A building from the ‘50s before renovation.

Ready for a climate-friendly future

During the EU-sponsored GrowSmarter Project, 16 buildings in Stegerwaldsiedlung will be energetically renovated, equipped with photovoltaic modules and battery storage systems and connected via a central, intelligent control system. The inhabitants of the neighbourhood can directly source the locally generated solar power through the new home power generator tariff. Heating will initially be supplied by heat pumps running on solar power. If the generated solar power cannot provide enough heat via the heat pumps, RheinEnergie's district heating network will cover the remaining energy demand. All systems in the 16 buildings will be controlled by a new central energy management system featuring self-learning predictions. An interface to the RheinEnergie virtual power plant will allow excess power from the solar power installations and flexibilities to be sold.

Optimising energy demand with Smart Home

By request, RheinEnergie AG will furnish the houses with smart home systems. This will allow the residents to automate the control of their heating or, for example, their television, lamps and to automatically turn off other energy consumers as soon as they leave the house.

Mobility around Stegerwaldsiedlung

The industrial partners, including Kölner Verkehrsbetreibe and Cambio, have set up so-called mobility hubs for climate-friendly transport using shared bikes and cars at multiple locations in the Mülheim district of Cologne. Other electric vehicles can also recharge at the available charging stations. The mobility hubs are located in close proximity to bus and train stations and are part of the neighbourhood’s flexible transport concept. Reducing traffic in the neighbourhood will positively influence the district’s air quality and, in turn, the health of the residents.

Similar implementation in Sweden and Spain

Similar projects will be implemented in Stockholm and Barcelona through GrowSmarter. Together, these three projects serve as a model for climate-friendly and healthy urban development. The cities involved exchange their collective knowledge and report their findings on the tested systems, technologies and services. In a next step, the developed project results are expected to be applied to five selected European cities (Graz, Suceava, Valetta, Porto, Cork).

Video: KlimaExpo.NRw

Photo: RheinEnergie AG

“The GrowSmarter Project gives us an opportunity to implement a unique neighbourhood concept for existing buildings. We can break away from the familiar paths and combine existing technologies in a new way to redefine sustainability.”

Christian Remacly, Corporate Development RheinEnergie AG

Partners and sponsors

  • EU-Förderung