Climate district Herne-Sodingen: District concept of the future

There is a special kind of new settlement in the Herne district of Sodingen. Seven energy efficient homes, each with independent, innovative energy supply concepts, have made this into a pioneering climate district. It is the first district in Germany to be built by the local energy supplier – Stadtwerke Herne public utilities. The Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT will research the energy concepts and examine their effectiveness.

Energy efficiency par excellence: all of the houses in the climate district Herne-Sodingen have their own decentralised energy supply concept, consisting of a photovoltaic system, battery storage and a heat pump. Using these systems, the residents of the neighbourhood are able to live in a nearly energy self-sufficient manner. This saves 24.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Added to this are the avoided indirect emissions caused by the use of wood in house construction. The climate settlement is also car-free. A parking space is planned for the inhabitants’ vehicles in front of the residential area, from which an e-caddy can be used to transport larger items within the settlement. The electricity for the e-vehicle will be generate by a photovoltaic system on the roof of the carport. Each parking space will also be equipped with a charging station, giving the residents the opportunity to also use electric vehicles for themselves.

Engine for progress:

“We assume that there will be an all-electric society in the medium to long term – a society in which local CO2 producing forms of energy will become extinct and only electric power will be used. This will be generated exclusively from renewable energy sources in the long term. With the climate district, we and our planning office AGIS|PB are taking a step in the right direction.”

Stephan Becker, TSM Department and Climate District Project Manager, Stadtwerke Herne AG (public utilities)

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Photo: Stadtwerke Herne AG

Cars remain outside in the climate district Herne-Sodingen. Since the neighbourhood was designed to be car-free, children can play undisturbed and local exhaust gases are prevented to ensure good air.

Utilities as builders

A special feature of the project, with all its partners from NRW, is the lead developer. The Herne public utilities are responsible for the building of the settlement, making them Germany’s first energy provider to undertake such a project. The utilities will also sell the houses themselves. The energy systems included in the homes will be leased by the buyers. The electricity generated by the photovoltaic system will be used by the residents without surcharge or will be fed into the power grid. Not only have the public utility companies created a new business model for their company with this project, but they have also grown from energy suppliers to energy service providers.

Research project in new housing development

System solutions for residential buildings to supply their own renewable energy can make an important contribution to grid stability in the future. For this reason, the Oberhausen-based Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT) will assist the implementation of the climate settlement. In the Redox Herne research project, it will analyse the interaction of the various elements of the energy supply concept as well as the influence of consumer behaviour on the degree of energy self-sufficiency. The researchers want to use the results to determine the ideal energy concept for single-family homes using the results.


Photo: Martin Leclaire

  • Innovative living and energy concept
  • New business segment for public utility companies
  • All project partners from NRW
  • Accompanied by research project

Partners and sponsors

  • AGIS PlanenBeraten
  • Fraunhofer UMSICHT
  • volterion GmbH
  • SMART TEC stwh