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29 June 2018

Cologne Blog #9: Making the smart city available - Smart home systems and Open Urban platforms

Our smart district is producing a lot of information. Our “SmartHome GrowSmarter” research study for example will look at the feedback that the volunteer tenants will give from the use of Smart systems in their energetically renovated houses. Open Urban Platforms such as the one developed in GrowSmarter, including our Urban cockpit, is becoming a reference for smart cities. 

 

Action Area 2 - Low Energy Districts: SmartHome Systems in the Stegerwaldsiedlung

RheinEnergie found a manufacturer (homee) who is going to equip the Smart Home system with an interface that enables AGT to collect and measure the required data. The aim of the study is to investigate the impact of Smart Home systems on users' quality of life and potential energy savings.

Every tenant who lives in one of the 16 energetically renovated houses can apply to participate in the “SmartHome GrowSmarter” research study. RheinEnergie offers to install up to 50 free systems. Participants will receive a SmartHome system worth approx. 1.000€ (including installation) which they can keep after the end of the study.participants must agree to share their experiences in surveys which will be sent out at least quarterly.  The data will be evaluated anonymously and confidentially by the technical university of Cologne (TH Köln).

With the SmartHome system provided, tenants have an open system that can combine different radio protocols and components from many different manufacturers to set up individual SmartHome systems. The research study decided to use the radio protocol Z-Wave. The tenants received the homee base cube, the Z-Wave radio cube and various matching components, such as the smart heating thermostat, window and door sensors and smart plugs to measure the electricity consumption. The base cube collects information, processes it and stores it locally. It acts as the central control over the smart components. A Wi-Fi connection allows the control of the connected devices via smartphone or PC. To connect more sensors or actors you can add more cubes to the brain cube which support other Smart Home radio protocols like Z-Wave, Zigbee or EnOcean.

The Smart Home system allows a comfortable control of lights, heating, etc. via Smartphone from any room. You can, for example, check that all windows are closed while being away from home.

At both informational events on March 24th 2018 and on May 17th 2018, the project partners RheinEnergie (with the TH Köln) and AGT had a display wall to explain the system and the extra components to the tenants and show them its advantages.

management_system.png" height="300px" />Photo: The home base cube (white) and the Z-Wave radio protocol cube (purple) and demonstration wall

Action Area 3 - Integrated Infrastructure: Open urban Platforms as key component for integrated SmartCity infrastructures

The European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) exists since 2013 and now has more than 5,000 affiliates in over 31 countries. The EIP-SCC discusses central questions of the Smart Spatial Development. A central finding of the Cluster “Integrated Infrastructures & Processes”[1] is the need for open urban platforms prerequisite for the rapid implementation of intelligent solutions in the cities that can be used by the various actors in a city. The first step in this direction has been made by the Urban Platforms initiative, which comprises three areas: the demand side, which is mainly represented by cities, the supplier side, and the standardization.

With a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) “Towards Open Urban Platforms for Smart Cities and Communities”, the initiative aims to provide broad support from the industry for the implementation of open solutions. Currently, 44 companies from the industry have signed the memorandum. On the demand side, a declaration of intent has been signed by the 24 cities and two city networks, which will help to develop the core requirements for open, urban platforms.

[ui!]UrbanPulse is one of the first urban platforms that has been aligned to the reference architecture of the MoU and thus the open urban data platform of Cologne according to GrowSmarter's “Integrated Infrastructure” measure “8.1 Big consolidated open data platform” conforms to the reference architecture.

DIN SPEC Open Urban Platform (OUP) The German standards organization DIN has picked up the activities of the Action Cluster Integrated Infrastructure and Processes on the MoU and developed an “Open Urban Platform” with a regional consortium consisting of members from cities, operators, vendors, and academia the DIN SPEC 91357[1]. The reference architecture of the MoU has served as a sound base as depicted in the figure below. Both core partners of WP3 in Cologne, the City of Cologne and [ui!], were members of the DIN SPEC team and provided strategic guidance. As consortium leader, [ui!] orchestrated input also from other members working in SCC01 projects such as Triangulum, Smarter Together and mySMARTLife.  

 

MoU Reference graphic

Urban COCKPIT The GrowSmarter Cologne Urban COCKPIT is a solution developed on top of the open urban platform and is based on the [ui!] COCKPIT. It is designed to support analytics of real time data. By integrating, processing and visualizing data, a proof of concept can be done proving that the data is really available and in good quality. This is an important step for using and offering the data for value added services.

The WebAPP has been developed for GrowSmarter to provide insight in the different measures implemented in Cologne. It gives decision makers an easily understandable overview of the current and historical state of the pilot implementation. This includes traffic and parking loads, parking situations, energy consumption and production and mobility stations. All data is provided by the infrastructures and does not include personal data. It will be used to understand which data is available, at which quality in a human understandable way. It serves therefore also as a communication tool with other departments within the City administration as well as with external parties.

Urban cockpit main view and map view

The indicator on the left side of the Urban COCKPIT main page is pulsing and gives information of the current “pulse” of the city. In case of large traffic loads, much pollution, bad parking situations, high amount of non-regenerative energy consumption, etc. the pulse is very high which indicates the city suffers from “stress”. On the right side, different tiles or certain Smart City indicators are arranged. The timeline on the bottom of the cockpit can be used to see historical states of the city.

Federation of Open Urban PlatformsWithin the DIN SPEC 91357 and in alignment to the MoU, the federation of open urban platforms has been addressed. A federation allows different urban data platforms to exchange data in a transparent way thus that smart services in any given city can benefit from data sources even outside of the city as well as deploying smart services into other cities.

The below figure provides a schematic view of such a federation depicted from the DIN SPEC 91357.

User scenario

Let’s assume, a start-up from Cologne would like to develop a mobile application that enables the multi-modal routing and integrated usage of public transport, electric mobility and different energy infrastructure elements (e.g. charging stations) across Germany. Therefore, the start-up obtains relevant data regarding the current city from the related Open Urban Platform via an Open Data Portal (e.g. https://offenedaten-koeln.de/). To extend their service to other cities in Germany the start-up uses the GovData.De portal and its data-catalog to lookup for Open Urban Platforms of other cities providing equivalent datasets and services required by their mobile application. The available information from the Open Data Portals and their corresponding Open Urban Platforms of Hamburg and Cologne has been harvested by integrating their data catalogs. This way the mobile application can transparently provide services both in Cologne and Hamburg, instead of having two APPs, e.g. one for each city. Given a user opens the mobile application in Cologne to plan a journey to Hamburg. The mobile application should provide the most convenient combination of transportation means concerning the traffic situation and public transport options and availability of charging stations.”

Our vision is therefore to connect the urban platforms within GrowSmarter across the three GrowSmarter lighthouse cities Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona and if applicable between lighthouse cities and follower cities. This way, we allow for more smart services to be developed and thus creating an even larger ecosystem adhering to our ambitious goal of prosperity and growth.

 

Barbara Moehlendick

Site Manager, Cologne

For the previous blog post, click here

26 June 2018

Barcelona Blog #9: Drawing the lessons of the low-energy districts solutions

Read about Barcelona's first lessons learned from the implementation phase of low energy district solutions: learn the importance of business models, regulatory framework and finding value proposition for energy consumption visualization platforms. Get more details on the refurbishment of the Escola Sert center, a part of The College of Architects of Catalonia (COAC). 

Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts - Lessons learnt

The main objective of the GrowSmarter work package called "Low energy districts" is the deployment of energy efficiency measures to reduce the environmental impact of the existing building stock in cities.

To date, we have already reached the stage within the GrowSmarter project where practically all measures are completely executed and the corresponding monitoring phase has started. This has allowed the collection of the first conclusions and lessons learned from the last 2 years of implementation work required to make the proposed measures reality.

In total, 123 000m2 of constructed surface area have been refurbished in the three Lighthouse cities (including private and public buildings, tertiary and residential buildings), and local energy generation has been promoted by connecting buildings to District Heating and Cooling networks, on-site renewable electricity production, and advanced smart energy management of the local energy generation. The project has also promoted the deployment of Home Energy Management Systems to raise awareness on energy efficiency among the citizens. In this context, each Lighthouse city has implemented Smart solutions of different nature but with the same goal: the demonstration of measures leading to a more energy efficient city building stock.

In Barcelona, the partners involved in the Low energy districts work package have highlighted the importance of the following topics:

  • Explore feasible business models behind the private building energy retrofitting in relatively low heating demand areas (Mediterranean zone): The industrial partner responsible for the demonstration of private building energy retrofitting in Barcelona highlights the general need for Public-Private partnerships and, in case of commercial buildings, the need for agreements between building owners and operators. In Barcelona, the feasibility of actions related to the energy retrofitting of private buildings by an industrial partner has been possible through the figure of an ESCo (Energy Service Company) that has promoted Public-Private partnerships in order to find a favourable funding for the building owners.  
  • Define the value proposition of energy consumption visualization platforms prior to installation: The two energy consumption visualization platforms deployed in Barcelona have shown different value propositions. The Municipality deployed the free Virtual Energy Advisor, which aims at empowering citizens to decrease the electricity consumption in the residential sector. The local utility GNF deployed a commercial HEMS (Home Energy Management System), which will increase consumers’ energy efficiency awareness while providing valuable information on energy consumption consumers’ habits.
  • Consider the strong dependence on National regulation for the implementation of Self-consumption systems (Photovoltaics + Battery systems) with Smart energy management systems: Considering the existing regulation in Spain at the time of the GrowSmarter project’s implementation phase, a distributed photovoltaic (PV) energy generation installation can only feed a single consumer. Hence, in order to implement this measure, the PV systems had to be installed at the common rooftop of the residential building and can only satisfy the common end-uses of the building (i.e. elevators and lighting). Moreover, the current legislation does not allow any retribution from the injection in the grid of surplus renewable electricity generation. This limits the possibilities that the smart energy management can offer.

 

Refurbishment of Escola Sert (COAC)

Sert School is a continuous formation centre through which The College of Architects of Catalonia (COAC) offers a systematic program of training and accompaniment to the professional group. The College of Architects of Catalonia is an institution, established in 1931. Its building was built between 1959 and 1962 and it is located in Plaça Nova, Barcelona.

The project will affect the College building’s façade where the Sert School will be located after the refurbishment. This is a protected building catalogued as historical heritage. Therefore the intervention has been designed and executed respecting the composition and aesthetic of the original building while improving its energy performance and comfort.

On February 2017, the final agreement between Gas Natural Servicios and COAC was signed in order to take part in the GrowSmarter project. At that moment, COAC was already carrying out a global reform, not limited to an energy refurbishment. The municipal permissions were obtained during 2015. The scope of Growsmarter within the global project consists in implementing façade-integrated PV plant and a Building Energy Management System (BEMS).

The implementation started in June 2017 with the PV glass and the electrical installation engineering. The works related to the façade started in October 2017 and they finished in January 2018. The Building Energy Management System (BEMS) was installed once all the refurbishment works finished. The collaboration is taking place under an Energy Services contract, through which the Energy Services Company (Gas Natural Servicios, GNF’s ESCo) provides a turnkey solution and performs the investment in exchange for an annual fee. GNF is responsible for the PV glass supply and its integration in the building electrical installation and also the design and implementation of the BEMS.

The school and the whole building are undergoing a global refurbishment complemented by the GrowSmarter project:

  • Façade refurbishment, incorporating mostly glass surface: Improvement of the sound insulation and reduction of the thermal losses
  • Implementation of a 19.5 kWp façade-integrated PV plant for self-consumption.

Specific photovoltaic glasses have been selected taking into account both technical and aesthetic properties.

COAC Façade under construction and photovoltaic glasses (PV). Source: Diputació de Barcelona

Added Value

Data gathered by the BEMS will be used for better energy management by the building operator resulting in further reductions in energy consumption that achieved using that data. In addition, one of the main aspects to highlight in this refurbishment is the definition of an optimal PV installation design integrated in a building façade, minimizing the visual impact and maximizing the power production that can be obtained through self-consumption.

 

Gonzalo Cabeza

Site Manager, Barcelona

For the previous blog post, click here

23 February 2018

Cologne Blog #8: Exchanging with tenants and sharing Cologne's experiences

With construction nearly completed in Stegerwaldsiedlung, we held an informational event with tenants in the newly renovated buildings and area. We've also been actively participating in a number of international events, sharing the experiences of the GrowSmarter project in Cologne with interested parties from all around Europe and the world.

GrowSmarter dissemination

Informational event for the Stegerwaldsiedlung tenants

As the construction work in the project site area Stegerwaldsiedlung is almost complete, the project management and partners believed that it was time to hold an informational event for the neighbourhood tenants to inform about the process and foster acceptance. As the tenants stayed in their apartments during construction time, burdens such as long road closures, lack of parking spaces, construction noise, etc. had to be endured.

The City of Cologne together with the project partners invited the Stegerwaldsiedlung tenants to an informational event on November 7th, 2017. The invitations were distributed to all households in the project area and were available in all social insti-tutions.

Poster announcing event

Informational event for the tenants. Photo: Uta Konopka

The aim of the informational event was to inform the tenants about the measures and the current state of the implementation, and to report on the perspectives that arise for the entire district of Mülheim. The event was supported by an external moderator and facilitated by the Community Reporter group (a group was founded to teach professional video shooting and then accompany projects they choose in Co-logne). More than 100 tenants attended the event.

Informational event for the tenants. Photo: Uta Konopka

The project management welcomed the attendees, explained the project goals, pre-sented the status of the implementation and pointed out the perspective until the end of the project and beyond. Most importantly, the team explained the benefits of the project for the tenants. Two City of Cologne employees (City Strategic Planning and Urban Development) reported on how the district of Mülheim will develop in the areas of local supply, mobility and construction. The tenants were invited to ask questions and express their wishes. Many questions asked were related to the status of the construction site, new heating system, the parking situation and how high future rents will be.

As a result of this meeting, the City together with the partners will send a letter summarising the event’s results. DEWOG already sent a detailed letter explaining the new heating system and the energy cost saving potential. At the end of the event, the tenants had the opportunity to get to know each other personally. The Community Reporters produced a video showing the event and subsequent interviews with some of the participants. You can view the video here (in German):

The next tenant informational event is planned for May 2018.

Study visit at the World Climate Conference COP 23

The World Climate Change Conference took place in Bonn from November 6 to 17. For more information please visit the official website.

COP23 provided an extensive framework program surrounding the main programme for the conference participants. The aim of this programme was to show the participants as many projects as possible in the field of local climate protection activities. Within this context, the GrowSmarter project partners offered a study visit to the Stegerwaldsiedlung. The The study visit, which took place on 13 November, was announced in a press release as well as in the COP23 event programme, which all attendees received.

Informational event for the tenants. Photo> Uta Konopka

The GrowSmarter team conducted the study visit at the Stegerwaldsiedlung in both German and English. 26 people participated in the study visit. The project management team explained the overarching GrowSmarter goals and the efforts in all three lighthouse cities. The local work-package leaders presented Cologne’s measures in energy, mobility and integrated infrastructure. During the neighbourhood tour, the participants were able to see the implementation of the measures first hand.

Study visit COP 23. Photo: Uta Konopka

The solutions related to energy retrofitting, energy management with the control of neighbourhood management and the mobility stations were of particular interest. Many questions came up, including which measures were particularly effective, the prospects for transferring the measures to other cities and how residents are in-volved. Participants were keen to continue the dialogue and to be kept informed about the project.

GrowSmarter at THERMOS conference in Brussels

This event took place at the Permanent Representation of Romania in Brussels on January 25th, 2018. It addressed the question of making integrated heating and cooling systems part of the backbone of Smart Cities and Communities, including concepts on local, open and affordable energy transition by providing state-of-the-art planning tools, solutions and insights.

Cologne was invited to speak on a panel, providing the city’s perspective on thermal optimisation and refurbishment in the framework of CELSIUS and GrowSmarter.

THERMOS conference. Photo: Julia Egenolf

THERMOS conference. Photo: ICLEI

GrowSmarter at the SmartCity Replication Workshop in Brussels

The SCC replication workshop titled ”Learning from the successful” took place in Brussels on January 26th, 2018 and focused on the question of how Lighthouse city Smart Solutions can be replicated in Follower Cities. How can stumbling blocks be overcome in order to achieve replication possibilities of Horizon 2020 projects and their solutions for Follower Cities? Three workshops, each held twice, were divided into 4-5 roundtables for the topics of energy, integrated infrastructure and mobility. The event saw more than 100 participants in the moderated workshops. Cologne moderated the mobility roundtable, and car-sharer provider Cambio gave information on setting up mobility stations, as has been done in Cologne. Cologne’s energy provider, RheinEnergie, participated in the roundtable on virtual power plants/energy management systems, including storage. Each roundtable discussion was facilitated by a moderator who introduced presenters from industrial and city partners. The sessions started with a presentation touching on the planning, implementation, technical evaluation, business model and the replication possibilities of specific solutions. The participants then had 40 minutes to discuss barriers and possibilities to replicate.

At the end of the workshops, the moderators summarised the key success factors and how to overcome the main obstacles.

SCC replication workshop. Photo: Julia Egenolf

Action Area 1: Low-Energy Districts

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here

The first construction phase has been completed and the evaluation began in January 2018, as planned. The remaining construction phases are scheduled to be completed by March 2018, after which their evaluation phase will also begin.

Both RheinEnergie AG and AGT international will send informational letters to all Stegerwaldsiedlung tenants until March and inform them about the possibility to have the Smart Home system installed for free. This will be done in up to 50 homes. If there are more interested tenants than expected, RheinEnergie will have to assign them by lot.

RheinEnergie AG was able to find a manufacturer who was prepared to equip its smart home system with an interface that enables AGT to collect and measure the required data (WP3). The system will be presented and demonstrated to the tenants in a workshop, where they can learn how to operate it in person and understand the advantages of the system. We intend to cover the first experiences with the system our the next blog update.

Action area 2: Integrated Infrastructures

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here

RheinEnergie was able to install three electric charging stations on existing street lighting poles. An existing WiFi grid connection hotspot is already in place at these locations.

Photo: RheinEnergie AG

The community driven project ”OpenAir Cologne” has made progress; in the past months, the website has been editorially revised and the project was presented at several different events.

OpenAir Cologne is a joint project of the Oklab Cologne, the City of Cologne, the TH (University of applied Sciences), the University of Cologne and the For-schungszentrum Jülich (research center). The project focuses on generating data, especially measurements of fine particulate matter, through environmental sensors. This project is the outcome of an idea from citizens, supported by science based institutions and initiated by the City of Cologne.

Data fine dust collected from environmental sensors. Photo: City of Cologne

The overall idea came about via “Citizen Science”, in which citizens and their ideas and perspectives are actively involved in governmental tasks. The objective is to connect citizens with their local public administration and to accelerate cooperation between the government and the inhabitants in the areas of Open Data, participation and citizen information. The greater purpose in this context is to enable an actual collaboration between citizens and the government.

The project is being implemented by collecting sensor data from volunteers and processing them for the community as Open Data, as well as to open them for discussion and to review their informational value. The goal is that the sensors will allow coverage of a large area in order to generate as much reliable information as possible. To support the project, the city offers different types of workshops, from soldering to understanding weather forecasts.

Given the current situation, OpenAir Cologne was able to set up 50 environmental sensors in the urban area of Cologne. Most importantly, it was possible to raise awareness and interest for the environment and to disseminate environmental topics amongst the public.

Model OpenAir Node Sensor Copyright City of Cologne

Action area 3: Sustainable Urban Mobility

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here

All ten planned mobility stations are now in place, in various sizes and with various combinations of partners. Three mobility stations will be equipped with e-bikes this month and next. Photos of the individual stations can also be found in our previous blog post.

Overview of Mobility Stations and partners involved

After overcoming some legal stumbling blocks for ampido locations in public spaces, the team has now been able to integrate this partner with the inclusion of some spe-cial clauses in the law. Ampido is equipping the Mobility Stations with parking spac-es that can be booked in advance. This system has so far only worked on private land and is now possible on public lands for the duration of the project or until city ordinances change. Ampido is represented at the Mobility Stations found in the map above. Some of the stations have already been shown in previous blogs. These photos show only ampido’s spaces, as they are the most recent additions.

Wiener Platz, right in the center of Mülheim at the “Stadthalle”, 5 parking spaces:

Jan-Wellem-Str, Copyright Ampido

Bergischer Ring, directly opposite the district town hall Mülheim, 2 parking spaces:

Bergischer Ring, Copyright Ampido

Bahnhof Mülheim, Montanusstrasse, close to the Mülheim train station, 2 parking spaces:

Montanusstrasse, Copyright Ampido

Mobilitystation Stegerwald neighborhood, 2 parking spaces:

Stegerwald neighborhood, Copyright Ampido

The mobility card: “MultiTicket”

The mobility partners in the project are convinced that better utilisation of Mobility Stations depends on their attractiveness. cambio CarSharing and KVB have there-fore developed a combined mobility card: the “MultiTicket”. With the MultiTicket all means of transport (bus, tram, car- and bike-sharing) can be used. It is a further de-velopment of the existing "JobTicket", a monthly ticket paid for by companies for their employees. All JobTicket users are now able to register with cambio in order to use their car-sharing cars. The cars themselves can be opened with the MultiTicket - no further card is needed. In addition to public transport, all MultiTicket users get a dis-count of 10% for car-sharing.

The MultiTicket, which became available in October 2017, offers virtual consolidation by bringing the various modes of transport to one place, which the Mobility Sta-tion does physically.

Multiticket

The introduction of the MultiTicket has not yet been promoted with a major press and advertising campaign. Still, the offer was very well received - almost 500 people have registered already, almost one third of the overall new cambio customers since October 2017. The use of the new Mobility Stations in the Mülheim project area has also increased. In the near future, further advertisement of the MultiTicket is planned in order to gain more customers and to make the Mobility Stations even more successful.

An example of the cambio CarSharing flyer advertisement can be seen below:

Advertising flyer page 1

Advertising flyer page 2

Discussed in this blog

Solution 1: Efficient and smart climate shell refurbishment

Solution 3: Smart energy-saving tenants

Solution 4: Smart local electricity management

Solution 11: Alternative fuel-driven vehicles

Solution 12: Smart mobility solutions

Barbara Moehlendick

Site Manager, Cologne

For the previous blog post, click here

12 October 2017

Cologne blog #7: The Day of Good Life

With the first phase of construction completed in the Stegerwaldsiedlung, all that remains to do is to connect the Siedlungsmanagement software. In the world of data, we are also working with a broad range of Cologne's open data to integrate into the urban cockpit. Lastly, our mobility stations - featuring carsharing and electric vehicle charging - are operational. Read on for more details and pictures!



GrowSmarter on the “Tag des guten Lebens/ Day of Good Life”

The “Day of Good Life” is a family and neighbourhood festival for the entire district of Deutz, just south of our project area Mülheim. To show how a district can evolve, thirty streets in Deutz and the Deutzer Bridge across the river Rhine were closed to traffic. On Sunday, 18 June approximately 150,000 visitors came to the Day of Good Life event, a visitor record. All activities had the aim of testing a joint venture on how life in Deutz could be made sustainable and future-oriented over the coming decades. At the GrowSmarter booth, visitors were particularly interested in alternative mobility solutions. The industry partner Cambio CarSharing offered free registration, an attractive that offer was taken advantage of by 37 people.



The “Day of Good Life” event in Deutz


Universities

Students and instructors from three foreign universities would soon like to visit Cologne for a knowledge exchange. The representatives from the University of Barcelona know the GrowSmarter activities in their own city and would like to see how Cologne is implementing their measures. Students at the University of Basel are very interested in learning more about the development of open data platforms.


Exchange of experts with a delegation from China
Study Visit on July 6, 2017

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the Republic of China have reached an agreement on environmental cooperation. China is interested in implementing the objectives of the Paris Climate Protection Agreement. The representatives of the provinces and municipalities are important players in this process of change. The “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit” (GIZ) (Association for International Cooperation) organises regular exchange programs with the support of the German Ministry of the Environment. The aim of the program is the acquisition of new knowledge and the exchange with experts, as well as the deepening of old contacts and the establishment of new contacts for the purpose of the cooperation between North Rhine-Westfalia and China. The focus of the trade exchange and the partner province representatives from Sichuan, Shanxi and Jiangsu was “Emission Control, Air Pollution and Renewable Energies". The representatives were keen on understanding more about GrowSmarter energy measures with the aim to examine which of the measures could be implemented and replicated in China. The delegation was made up of company officials and municipal representatives as well as the regional NRW government guests.



Welcome and presentation in the Stegerwald settlement office


The project was presented to the visitors in the Stegerwald neighbourhood office. The project`s integrated approach was new to the visitors. This aspect was of paramount importance to representatives of municipalities in order to achieve sustainable city planning. RheinEnergie presented its energy management measures.



Presentation of Demonstration Buildings before and after refurbishment


During the tour of the settlement, the participants visited the facilities and were able to ask technical questions.


Particularly interesting for the engineers was the new “Siedlungsmanagement” software (virtual power plant). The approach of saving as much energy as possible in a building as well as implementing intelligent control for a larger number of buildings will be examined by some representatives for their projects in China. There was mutual interest in pursuing this knowledge exchange in the future.


SmartCity conference in Esch-sur-Alzette

In mid-September, Cologne had the chance to present GrowSmarter at the SmartCity conference in its twin city, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxemburg. Esch-sur-Alzette is planning to develop models for the cross-border region with Belgium and France.

The Cologne process of choosing the data platform and urban cockpit was of particular interest for Esch-sur-Alzette. The city is planning to implement a uniform digitalisation strategy for the entire region. Everyone was convinced that a smart city can only be realised with an integrated approach.





Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here


The first construction phase In the Stegerwaldsiedlung section is completed with the exception of final connection work to the Siedlungsmanagement. Phases 2 and 3 have started construction as well. This City of Cologne website shows an interactive map (in German) of the current planned and/or implemented scope of work on each of the buildings.



First (foreground) and second (background) phase of construction at the Stegerwaldsiedlung


The heat pumps have been connected by the RheinEnergie. The first battery storage sets are also installed.



Air heat pumps at the Stegerwaldsiedlung


The RheinEnergie is planning to conduct an informational event for the tenants in November and December to further present and explain the RheinEnergie products Mieterstrom and SmartHome. Tenants who agree to install the SmartMeter equipment will also receive Smart Home.


Action area 2: Integrated Infrastructures

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.


We have made great progress in this area convincing partners that sharing their data for GrowSmarter will be beneficial for all.


In August of 2016 we reported about the Cologne open data platform (www.offenedaten-koeln.de). This was in place before GrowSmarter, but it offers a comprehensive database, which can be used for the project.


Some very interesting records of the KVB could be included in the open data platform (www.offenedaten-koeln.de/dataset/og_group_ref/37972). It becomes evident that data from our partner KVB is not only a benefit for GrowSmarter but the entire open data community.


For example, errors or failures in the escalators and lifts at the railway stations can be called up in real time. With these data, it is possible to individually define an accessible, personalised route before starting a journey. The data can also be used to ensure that the departure from a platform is possible without complications during the journey. The use of railway is therefore more attractive for people with limited mobility or mothers with baby carriages, for example. We have thus taken another step towards stimulating the population in rethinking their choice of transport.


For the individual data sets we distinguish between dynamic and static data; this is dynamic data:

http://www.offenedaten-koeln.de/dataset/og_group_ref/1613


Our partner [ui!] - the urban institute is now working on integrating multiple data streams into the urban cockpit.



Cambio CarSharing and KVB Bike


Action area 3: Sustainable Urban Mobility

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.


Almost all mobility stations are now fully operational. The mobility stations are easily accessible by foot, bus and/or train. The first experiences show that the stations are accepted among transport users.


With the exception of one station, the RheinEnergie charging stations are implemented. All charging stations have two charging points. All stations also include a Cambio CarSharing station. The industrial partner KVB was able to find a suitable partner for the E-bikes procurement, and by the end of the year 10 e-bikes are planned to be implemented. They will be installed at the sites Charles de Gaulle Platz, Mülheim train station and the Stegerwaldsiedlung. Ampido is represented at two of the three main mobility stations so far.

The current situation at each of the stations is presented below:


Charles-de-Gaulle Platz

The Charles-de-Gaulle Platz provides 5 spaces for CarSharing cars (3 conventional cars, 2 e-cars), 12 bikes (7 conventional, 5 e-bikes), 4 Ampido parking spaces and 4 charging stations. This location also provides a public charging station with two charging points for the general public.



Charles-de-Gaulle Platz carsharing, charging stations, parking sharing and bikes


In 2015, the conversation between the City of Cologne and the state legislation regarding unified coordinated signage for the mobility stations thorughout the state started to take shape. This development is unique and has influenced the region’s cities and communities in using the same language of signage in their development of mobility stations.



Charles-de-Gaulle Platz mobility station signage


Train station Bahnhof Mülheim

Fully equipped, this station has 5 carsharing spaces (3 conventional, 2 e-cars), 2 charging stations, 15 Bikes (10 conventional, 5 e-bikes).


Bahnhof Mülheim carsharing and charging stations


Regentenstrasse

At this station 4 carsharing spaces (2 conventional cars, 2 e-cars) and 1 charging station are in operation.



Regentenstrasse CarSharing and charging station


Stegerwaldsiedlung

At the Stegerwaldsiedlung mobility station, where all GrowSmarter energy measures are implemented, 4 carsharing spaces (2 conventional cars, 2 e-cars) and 2 charging stations are already in place. Two Ampido parking spaces and 8 bikes (4 conventional, 4 e-bikes) will be located here by the end of 2017.



Stegerwaldsiedlung carsharing and charging station


von-Sparr-Strasse

At this location residents can use 4 carsharing cars (2 conventional cars, 2 e-cars) and 1 charging station.



Von-Sparr-Str. carsharing and charging station


Höhenhaus, Am Emberg

Six spaces for carsharing cars (4 conventional cars, 2 e-cars) are located at this site. Whether a charging station can be installed is currently under investigation.



Höhenhaus, Am Emberg carsharing spaces


The industrial partners KVB and Cambio are expecting a much greater use of the mobility stations after the introduction of the mobility card.


Users of public transport must have the possibility to use bus, tram (lightrail), bicycles and passenger cars with one ticket. Cambio and KVB are currently developing a so called “Mobiltätskarte (Mobilticket)”, an enhancement of the already existing subscription ticket. With this “Mobiltätskarte” travellers will be able to use bus, trams, bicycles and carsharing cars with their normal ticket.



e-Ticket as demonstration object on a Cambio carsharing car



Discussed in this blog

Solution 1: Efficient and smart climate shell refurbishment

Solution 3: Smart energy-saving tenants

Solution 4: Smart local electricity management

Solution 11: Alternative fuel-driven vehicles

Solution 12: Smart mobility solutions


Barbara Moehlendick

Site Manager, Cologne


For the previous blog post, click here

9 June 2017

Stockholm blog #6: Adaptive control for smart cities

The winter and spring weather in Sweden has been very odd, with the weather changing from cold to warm from one day to another. This year we had minus degrees and snow during Easter in late April. With the adaptive systems we have installed we have still been able to keep a steady indoor temperature inside the apartments. With traditional systems it would have either been too cold or too warm. We have also received good results from the smart street lighting and the combined renewable energy production, control and storage system. All these solutions are examples of adaptive control in cities. In this blog I will write some more about these and the other adaptive control systems we are now implementing.


Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts

What is happening in Valla Torg, Årsta and the Slakthus area buildings?

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here


The smart solutions for low energy districts will be rolled out in the building zones in Valla Torg, Årsta and the Slakthus areas (see map here). For an overview of the measures being implemented, click here.




In Valla Torg the refurbishment of the first multi-storey building (7G) is going forward and many of the smart energy saving solutions are already implemented. All installations will be finalised in the summer and tested in August. The tenants start moving back into their apartments in September. When the next heating season starts, we can begin evaluating exactly how much energy we can save in these buildings. In this building the tenants have the possibility to use the Active House application from Fortum to control the temperature and lighting in the apartment. They can also use the home/away button, which means that when they leave the apartment to go to work or on holiday, they can cut unnecessary electricity and lower the temperature a few degrees in the apartment. With a mobile application they can push the home button, which will adjust heating and electricity back to normal before they arrive home.


In the private condominiums Brf Årstakrönet the adaptive control system by Veolia has been in operation for more than a year and has resulted in substantial energy savings as well as more stable temperatures in the apartments over the year. The energy hub that consists of photovoltaics, a current equalizer and battery storage has been in use for half a year. The system provides a higher output of solar electricity and a better interface between the production and use of locally produced electricity.


In Slakthusarea the refurbishment of building 8 is well on its way and will be finalised in autumn 2017 by the Fastighetskontoret (Real estate administration office). The selection for a substitute building in Slakthusarea is done and is only waiting for an official approval from the Commission. Work on the substitute building can begin in summer 2017 and all energy saving solutions are to be implemented during this year.


Action area 2: Integrated Infrastructures

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here


Installing smart LED-lighting

The smart LED-street lights (solution 5) have now been in operation for a year. There are three different methods used to adjust the street lights to use less energy while still providing the same sense of security for pedestrians and bicyclists. The first method is applied to street lights on a walking/bicycling path. When there is no movement the lights reduce to 40% capacity. When a person approaches, the lights ramp up to full power and when the person has passed they dim down again. The second method is that each individual luminaire keeps track of when it is turned on and off and uses those times to calculate a middle point. From that middle point, the brightness is lowered to 66% for a duration of 6 hours, or until it is turned off. In the third method, all luminaires are connected to a Central Management System where a dimming schedule runs. In the dimming schedule, lighting levels are set according to sunset/sunrise and specific times during the night. The lighting is turned on at sunset to 100%, at 10 PM it is dimmed to 67%, at 1 AM it is dimmed to 50%, at 5 AM it dims up to 67% again, at 6 AM 100% and is turned off again at sunrise.


A Smart Connected City

In Stockholm the smart connected city will use the extensive fibre network provided and administered by Stokab, a company owned by Stockholm City Council (more information) Several Internet of Things applications and solutions can be built on top of the fibre network.


The implementation of sensors in the Slakthusarea has faced data protection issues which needed to be examined very carefully. Even if both solutions have previously been used at small scales in other cities, they have never been combined. The combination of sensors measuring the pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic in the area will provide very accurate information about the movement of people. A communication plan must also be produced to communicate to citizens that sensors are collecting data from passing vehicles and mobile phones to be able to provide better traffic flow in the areas, especially during events. The implementation of sensors will be done during August so that the communication plan can be finalised before implementation.


IBM, who is responsible for the open consolidated big data platform (solution 8), will analyse data to show how people move around in the Slakthusarea. This starts as soon as the sensors can provide data. The project team, platform for data management, analysis tools and method are all in place.


Waste Heat recovery

Fortum’s open district heating (solution 6) system has been recovering heat from a Supermarket in Farsta, some 5km south of the Slakthus area. The installations in the data centre will be done in June and as soon as the heating season starts again, the waste heat can be used to heat buildings.


Smart waste handling

The waste handling system provided by Envac will be completed by the end of June. The underground parts of the smart waste handling system (solution 7) are in place (see image below). The terminal and inlets are now being installed.




Action area 3: Sustainable Urban Mobility

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here


Building logistics centre and delivery boxes

The Building logistics centre (solution 2) implemented by Carrier, will start handling more materials in autumn. Carrier has together with Skanska agreed which material streams can be best handled by the logistics centre, and these materials will be handled by the centre when the next phase of the refurbishment begins later in the autumn.


The implementation of delivery boxes (solution 9) by Carrier is being done alongside refurbishments of buildings in Valla Torg. When the tenants move back into their apartments starting in September, they can order packages and other deliveries straight to their homes instead of retrieving them from the nearest service point. The delivery from the service point to the building is done by cargo bikes.


Smart Traffic Management

Insero is together with NOAE (Network of Automotive Excellence) and Audi implementing an information system for drivers (solution 10). In Stockholm, ten traffic lights are equipped with software that can communicate and provide information about the status of the light and when it is about to switch to another colour. This is achieved through a data connection between the traffic light, the cars’ on board software and GPS, and a central computer handling the calculations. Through a special device in the car, the driver can receive information on what speed to adopt in order to reach a green light at the next intersection. This information tool will be tested in two cars starting in May/June 2017. Effects on travel time and the drivers’ experiences will be evaluated.


KTH has developed a smart phone application (solution 10) to follow up changes in travel behaviour in a way that is more effective and has a greater response rate than traditional travel surveys. This will improve travel demand management measures. In the same application, information about renewable fuels in Stockholm will be shown. This information includes updated information on where each alternative fuel can be tanked, together with the most recent prices.


Alternative fuel driven vehicles

As part of the GrowSmarter project, Fortum has planned to install up to 10 charging stations and one fast charger (solution 11). The fast charger is installed in Årsta. The normal chargers will be installed in Valla Torg, Slakthus area and Årsta by the end of 2017.


The first refuelling station (solution 11) for renewable fuels is up and running. The filling station in Årsta is expected to be built in the beginning of 2018.


Communication and marketing

In Stockholm several study visits have been arranged and there is high interest in the GrowSmarter solutions. As more and more smart solutions are implemented, the study visits will become more frequent. In August 2017 there is a plan to have an event demonstrating the smart solutions in Valla Torg. Here the focus is on city representatives. In November/December 2017 a similar event will be arranged in Slakthusarea. In spring 2018 an event is planned for tenants in Valla Torg.


A video has been produced showcasing the smart solutions implemented in Stockholm. The video will soon be available at the GrowSmarter website.


Mika Hakosalo

Site Manager, Stockholm

8 June 2017

Barcelona blog #6: Nearly Zero Energy Buildings and innovative heating/cooling solutions

Action area 1: Low Energy Districts
To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.

Smart solution 1: Works ongoing in the refurbishment of tertiary building Ca l’Alier

The refurbishment work in the future office building Ca l’Alier is ongoing. The building, owned by a Public-Private Partnership between the Municipality of Barcelona and Cisco, is composed of three units built in 1877 with a total surface of 2,400 m2. It has been out of use for a very long period, and thus suffered from degradation of the building facilities.

The old textile factory will be rebuilt into a nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB) including a range of passive and active measures. nZEB describes buildings with energy use near to 0 in a “typical year”, meaning that much of the energy consumed comes from the building itself by means of renewable sources. The renovations will be carried out in order to turn the building into a "prototype of a self-sufficient habitat" that produces enough energy resources to meet its own demand. The project aims to achieve a Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certificate awarded by the US Green Building Council.

Work on the foundation started in June 2016 and finished in April 2017, which is now followed by refurbishments to the basement, paving and underground sewage networks that started in April 2017 and will continue out through 2017.


Foundation work in September 2016. Source: BIMSA



Ongoing refurbishments. Source: BIMSA


Ca l’Alier will demonstrate the feasibility of an nZEB site through active technologies, such as LEDs and occupancy sensors for lighting, variable speed fans and free-cooling for HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), photovoltaic panels, connection to the local DHC network that uses waste heat from Municipal Solid Waste incineration, and a Smart Energy Management System. Passive measures include exploitation of natural lighting, wall and roof insulation to lower heating and cooling demands, and rainwater collection to lower water consumption, among others. In order to meet the technical specifications for nZEB, coverage of 70% or more of the consumption of primary energy will be from renewable resources while a special effort in the design has been put on lowering the building energy demand. Also, the energy management system will be capable of optimising current consumption and forecasting the future building energy consumption. Finally, Ca l’Alier will demonstrate the compatibility of open communication protocols with HVAC equipment.

With advanced ICT infrastructure, advanced control of facilities and connection to district energy networks, Ca l’Alier integrates the features of a low energy district and will be an excellent demonstration of smart city solutions in the city of Barcelona.

Smart solution 1: Refurbishment of the Sports Centre

Collaboration Agreement
Following the audit, engineering, proposal and negotiation phases, a participation agreement was reached within GNF and Fundació Claror. The sports centre up for refurbishment within GrowSmarter is the Cartagena Sports Centre, located in the Sagrada Familia neighbourhood in Barcelona.

The refurbishment is taking place under an Energy Services contract, through which the Energy Services Company (ESCo) provides a turnkey solution and provides the initial investment, while the customer pays an annual fee.

Public-Private collaboration
Fundació Claror is a non-profit organisation that manages publicly owned sports centres. The organisation is interested in carrying out energy refurbishments in the facilities they operate to improve sustainability, energy and economic efficiency, and increase comfort.

This and several other sports centres in the city are publicly owned, and exploitation is awarded to private companies by the Barcelona Sports Institute (IBE, in Catalan). This organisation has also participated in negotiations and supported the project.

The Sports Centre
The Cartagena Sports Centre is an urban sports centre with a large swimming pool area (over 600 m2), a spa area, an indoor sports pitch and a fitness area. Other facilities include group activity rooms and spaces dedicated to physical therapy. The total surface area is close to 3,000 m2.



Current equipment mainly consists of natural gas-fired boilers that satisfy most of the heating demand and DHW needs, electric heaters that serve the spa pool, an electric chiller that serves air handling units (AHUs) in the fitness area and other spaces, and dehumidifiers for the pool and spa areas.

Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs)
In the framework of GrowSmarter, an integrated refurbishment of the Centre’s facilities will be carried out, ranging from passive measures that aim to reduce thermal demand to installation of new equipment to increase energy efficiency in the production of thermal energy. The measures selected are intended to complement each other and achieve a technically and economically optimised level of investment and savings. Work in the sports centre began in April 2017.


  • As passive measure, the roof over the main pool hall has been refurbished by adding a layer of insulation within the dropped roof to reduce losses through this surface.

    Initial roof – no insulation

    Insulated roof

  • The heating demand of the pool hall will be further reduced by replacing the current dehumidifier with a new machine that consumes less electricity and includes a thermal recovery module. The bottom line is a reduction of the electricity consumption and heating needs of the pool space, ultimately reducing the amount of heat required from gas-fired boilers.

  • The current chiller will be replaced with a new electric heat pump that produces heating and cooling at a high efficiency. In order to integrate this heat which is available at 40-50ºC, it is necessary to separate existing thermal demands in low temperature and high temperatures through modifications in the distribution system. This solution is especially interesting in buildings with simultaneous heating and cooling needs such as sports centres (pool spaces are often heated while other areas are cooled).

  • To further capitalise on high-efficiency heat from the heat pump, the spa basin will be connected to the new heating ring. This will yield important electricity savings, as it is currently being heated using electric resistance heaters, which are very inefficient.

  • Heating needs not covered by the EHP (e.g. DHW heated up to 70-80ºC for sanitary reasons) will be covered using a new set of high-efficiency boilers replacing the existing ones.

  • Important electricity savings will come from replacing existing lighting equipment with equivalent LED lamps.

  • New equipment and other key systems will be monitored with a new Building Energy Management System (BEMS), which will provide relevant information for more efficient energy management and allow remote monitoring of main energy indicators via web access.



Altogether, total energy consumption is expected to be reduced by more than 40%.

Added value
Gas Natural Fenosa has been offering Energy Services contracts to commercial and industrial customers for several years, including several sports centres in Barcelona, making this project highly replicable in further clients.

Through this contract, Gas Natural Fenosa guarantees energy savings for the sports centre, providing an increased value to the solution from the client’s point of view. Data gathered by the BEMS will be fundamental to assess these energy savings. Furthermore, the company guarantees the correct running of the refurbished systems for the duration of the contract.
5 March 2017

Cologne blog #5: open air hackathon and international exchange

Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.


Energy consultation in the Stegerwald settlement


The City of Cologne and its cooperation partner, the consumer center NRW, support the GrowSmarter project in Cologne. Tenants in the project area of the Stegerwaldsiedlung are eligible for a free energy consultation. This consultation is the perfect preparation for the installation of smart home devices and smart meters in the area. Tenants can receive an overview of their electricity and heating energy consumption as well as advice about heating and ventilation.


Consultants look at all household appliances, lamps, TVs and computers, as well as electric water heaters and other big electricity consumers, taking into account also the heating costs and total annual electricity consumption. In addition, tenants are asked about their electricity consumption habits, typical ventilation habits, and radiator settings. The design of the building and the location of the apartment are also included, since these factors also influence energy consumption. The total level of energy consumption is calculated from the data gathered, and the consultant provides recommendations for better-performing appliances the results are given to the energy consultant in a report for further check up.

The tenants were informed about this with a special invitation:




Action area 2: Integrated infrastructures

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.


Open Air Hackathon – Cologne is starting to become a smart city



What is a smart city exactly and how can one bring it to the general public? –What about transparency, citizen participation and new forms of climate protection? Initiated by the activities of GrowSmarter, the City of Cologne, RheinEnergy and representatives of civil society pursued this question on 28 October 2016 at an Open Air Hackathon.




First meeting on Friday, 28 October


Within the framework of a “Pen and Paper Hackathon”, new application scenarios for a smart city were sought with specially developed environmental sensors. Under the motto "Open Air Cologne", interested parties were invited to place initial rudimentary sensors in different locations in Cologne to get an overview of where and how pollutant concentrations are generated and spread. As a first step, about 20 NO2 measuring stations should be installed for interested citizens in Cologne.

NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) is a gas emitted, among others, by combustion engines. The goal is not 100% accurate measurement results, but the transfer of technology and know-how. Competent experts from research and science as well as from the field of industry provide corresponding input before the first prototype sensors can be used to gain experience.



Sensor Data from Friday, 2 February – 06:00 AM

The pursuit of new ideas did not end with the conclusion of the Hackathon, it continues with the cooperation of the city of Cologne, project partners from GrowSmarter and the Kölner OK Lab (codefor.de) as well as the regular Open-Data-Roundtable initiated by the City of Cologne (#ODRC). The Hackathon was the starting point for a regular exchange with interested citizens and stakeholders, centring around questions like: What was the experience like with the sensors? How can technology be used in a targeted way to solve problems with open data? Does the solution already exist somewhere?


The Cologne OK Lab is a regional group of designers, developers, journalists and others who meet every two weeks to work on useful applications for open data.


In the process, the group develops different applications, for example to display Cologne’s playgrounds or monuments on maps, to find homes for animals in Cologne's animal shelters, or to show 3D representations of how many young people live in Cologne.


OK Lab is sponsored by the Open Knowledge Foundation, which launched the network of OK Labs in 2014. Code for Germany provides OK Labs with the necessary infrastructure to network with each other. In addition, the program supports the local groups in communication with government, institutions and the public. Decision-makers and administrations are also involved in the processes.


In this respect, the organisers of the Hackathon were grateful to have found this group interested in establishing the participative approach of GrowSmarter permanently. The event itself was divided into two sub-events: the actual sensors were built at the beginning of the one-week festival as part of an embedded hardware meetup and were distributed during this workshop. First, the functional principles of the sensors were shown and explained. There were demonstrations about what happens with the collected data and how it can be examined and further processed, e.g. to correlate with other data or create visualisations.


Participants could take sensors home, install them, and thus support Open Air Cologne with their own data. The second part of the Hackathon focused on the actual development of applications and the optimisations around the sensors themselves, including measurement accuracy, design of housing, etc. The discussions went until late in the evening with the participants working enthusiastically. For the first time, interested people will be part of the data collection and, in addition to the hardware and software engineering of environmental sensors, will also learn about the background and technical know-how on topics related to environmental measurements.




Design concept of Sensor Board and Body


Where does it go from here?

Additional information will be found on following websites: http://openair.codingcologne.de/

The entire codebase will be available on: https://github.com/openaircgn



Action area 3: Sustainable Urban Mobility

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.


Progress in CarSharing for sustainable urban mobility


The expansion of the mobility points in the Mülheim district is proceeding rapidly. Last year, four new Cambio CarSharing stations were opened. Two of them, REGENTEN and VON-SPARR, have already been equipped with charging stations from RheinEnergie (so-called Tank-E) and electric cars.


All new stations are within walking distance to public transport nodes. This is important in order to complement and connect different forms of mobility in the area. The station Bahnhof Mülheim is connected to tram, suburban train and regional transport. At the station Deutz, next to the station Auenweg at Charles-de-Gaulle-Platz, there is also a connection to the long-distance transportation. In the entire city area of Mülheim there will also be the possibility to use KVB´s bicycles, completing the service offer.


A total of 31 vehicles - including 4 electric ones - are now available to residents of the Mülheim area at different seven stations. Due to the variety of vehicles - in addition to the e-vehicles and small cars, there is also a truck, van or transporter – there are specific vehicles for many different requirements.


The GrowSmarter mobility points are not yet equipped with electric cars, but will also be equipped with Tank-Es and Renault Zoes in the following weeks. With a range of almost 120 km, the Renault Zoe is not just for going shopping in the city. Despite the compact size, it offers enough space for four people. Also the trunk has significant storage space. The Zoes are charged with green electricity. Thus the people of the Mülheim area can make a trip to the countryside without producing particulate pollution.


In addition to the seven existing stations, the station network in the district of Mülheim is to be further consolidated this year. Currently, two new stations are planned for 2017. The aim is to imlpement a comprehensive car-sharing service in Mülheim.




Map of car-sharing points in Mülheim Map of car-sharing point in Deutz



Presentation of GrowSmarter at 3rd World Internet Conference in Wuzhen/Shanghai

In September 2016 a delegation consisting of mayors of large towns, employees of market-leading enterprises and representatives of the company CETC visited the city of Cologne. The delegation was led by Dr. Wanje Chen from Graz, a follower city in GrowSmarter.


The representatives were informed about the aims and management of the smart city projects in Cologne. During a study tour in Stegerwald settlement the GrowSmarter project was presented. The integrated approach in the areas of energy, mobility and information technology impressed the delegation very much, and the city of Cologne was invited to participate at 3rdWorld Internet Conference in Wuzhen /Shanghai. This conference is attended by participants from all over the world.


The representative of the city of Cologne answered questions about smart city projects and GrowSmarter specifically to an audience of about 800. Particular attention was paid at the way of information and participation of the affected citizens during the entire process. The majors were highly interested in the implementation of innovative measures.


The exchange across the borders of continents has brought new knowledge and ideas to all sides, and should be continued.



Photo of Representatives of Wuzhen Conference and City Cologne (M)



District talk in Mülheim - Citizen participation in the GrowSmarter

On 15 December 2016, Mayor Reker invited the citizens of Mülheim to express their concerns and questions related to GrowSmarter. All the construction measures in Stegerwaldsiedlung as well as the plans for the mobile stations in the urban area Mülheim were presented. More than 600 suggestions and questions were collected from the participants, and Mrs. Reker assured that the questions would be answered within 14 days. A film was also shown to present the GrowSmarter measures and directly address tenants' concerns. The dialogue process is to be continued in summer 2017 with an event in Stegerwaldsiedlung.



Photo of GrowSmarter Information Point

31 October 2016

Cologne blog #4: citizen involvement and integrated infrastructure

I am happy to share with you that Cologne has been recognized with an award for its participation in GrowSmarter by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy! Projects all over Germany related to intelligent networks were reviewed, and Cologne won in the category “cross-sectoral”. More information can be found in this article (in German)






Action area 1: Low energy districts

Citizen involvement: the Stegerwald Settlement

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.


At the Stegerwald Settlement in Cologne, the first construction phase is underway and the second phase of construction started in May 2016. The planning and tendering process for the different local energy productions is mainly completed.


With photovoltaic modules installed on the roofs of the first four buildings, our progress is becoming more and more visible!


Smart Solution 1 Energy efficient refurbishment of the building



© RheinEnergie


As you can see on the map the scaffolding is now progressing and the construction of the next buildings is coming closer.


(Insulating of buildings, installing triple glazed windows) © RheinEnergie


DEWOG has started the refurbishment and is currently insulating the buildings, basement ceiling, and roofs as well as installing triple glazed windows in some of the buildings. The façades will be reinforced with an additional 10cm of insulation on the gable side, adding to the existing 6cm insulation. Houses which are not yet insulated are being provided with 16cm of insulation. Also the buildings in the Deutz-Mülheimer Street (which are in the second construction phase) will be insulated with 16cm after dismantling the existing 6cm. The insulation keeps the temperature of the buildings more consistent, whether during warm or cold temperatures. By doing so, we can significantly reduce the primary energy consumption for heating and cooling.


The old self-contained central heating has been replaced with central heating in two buildings. The two other buildings in the first construction phase will be completed soon. The installation of new energy efficient elevators is also underway. Furthermore, the stairway lighting in all renovated buildings will be replaced with efficient LED lighting.



(Preparation of the elevator shaft) © RheinEnergie


DEWOG will install modern, electrically powered heat pumps with high efficiency which will be powered by the PV-modules of RheinEnergie. Soon RheinEnergie will also add electric storage. The combination of these components will reduce the consumption of primary energy in the Stegerwald Settlement significantly.


© RheinEnergie


Until the modern heating components are finished, the tenants of the settlement must be provided with temporary heating stations. To this end, RheinEnergie has deployed three heating stations (two rented and one mobile RheinEnergie heating station) presently in use. We expect to complete the installation of the new heating components in October, just in time for the winter.


© RheinEnergie


Smart Solutions 3 and 5: Smart Home System and Smart Meter analysis and actuators

With the SmartHome application of RheinEnergie in combination with SmartMeter of AGT International, the tenants are able to track the current energy consumption of connected devices. As a result tenants are able to recognize devices which consume large amounts of energy and should get a better general overview about their consumption of electricity. This could motivate them to replace their electrical equipment, or parts thereof, with energy-saving devices.


AGT International and RheinEnergie are currently working on a joint venture to combine both systems into one. Since the Federal Government is currently deciding about the necessary IT-security (potentially to conclude by the end of 2016), the rollout of smart meters may begin mid-2017.


The SmartHome system was shown and explained to the tenants at an event in the Stegerwald Settlement in November 2015. Another event is planned for November 2016, where SmartHome will be presented to the tenants again.


In order to display the functions of the system, DEWOG in cooperation with RheinEnergie and AGT International is installing the Smart Energy Solution (hardware and software) in the Stegerwald Café.


© RheinEnergie


Smart Solution 4: Virtual power plant – “Siedlungsmanagement

Virtual power plants for holistic settlement management have so far only been carried out as research projects. The RheinEnergie „Siedlungsmanagement” software leads to an autonomous self-sustaining development for communities. This would partially replace the supra-regional grid expansion as well as the construction of new conventional power plants. In addition, it provides the residents with the opportunity to influence their own energy consumption. The “Siedlungsmanagement” is a tool that is designed to be replicated in other city or town.


Based on the data provided by smart meters and smart home appliances, RheinEnergie is better able to offer attractive tariffs (“Mieterstrom”) and useful services to the tenants.


The holistic interaction of all components, such as power generation, storage, SmartHome, Smart Meter and consumption, will lead to a change in energy awareness as well as a social sense of community within the settlement.


© RheinEnergie


Smart Solution 11: Developing charging infrastructure

The City of Cologne, together with 12 partners, is working on a project called "colognE-mobil". This is one of the largest field tests as part of a program called “model regions for electro-mobility” launched by the German government. The charging infrastructure for GrowSmarter will be implemented together with the e-mobility.


The city government has now approved the mobility-stations, so RheinEnergie is able to start installing the charging infrastructure. That hasn’t been an easy task!


Lots of planning was required, including coordination with all affected city departments, transportation agencies, as well as with North Rhine-Westphalian legislation. RheinEnergie will install approximately 15 charging stations in the project area Mülheim.


© RheinEnergie


To promote the GrowSmarter project, we use opportunities like street festivals that are very popular in the summer months. One such festival, with a rich history of tradition, took place in Deutz, neighbourhood neighbouring district to the Stegerwald settlement and the location of one of the mobility stations at the Charles-de-Gaulle Square. With our partners KVB and cambio CarSharing we informed citizens about the trend-setting solutions in traffic, energy, and communication technology that we are launching within GrowSmarter. While discussing how to steer traffic flows and fulfil climate protection goals, many of the citizens decided to reduce their private car usage and signed up for carsharing and bike rentals. An important factor in this decision is the central location and the wide range of mobility options at the mobility stations.


© Stadt Köln


This demonstrates the importance of good promotion for GrowSmarter!


Action area 2: Integrated Infrastructure

Cracking open data - stimulating local entrepreneurs & traffic management


To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.


In our last blog we told you about our partner KVB, who provided their locations for the rental bikes as well as the actual position of each rental bike. A member of the open data community has now used this data to develop an application: https://tom.cologne.codefor.de/kvbrad/

The application is not yet finished – at the moment it only works properly in Google Chrome - but it is a very good example of how open data can be used to encourage innovation. We are very encouraged to gather and provide more data!

2 June 2016

Stockholm blog #3: putting smart solutions into practice

What is a demonstration site, if there is nothing to demonstrate? Why does it take so long to get things implemented? Isn’t the technology already there?


These are important questions for a Site Manager to handle and find answers for.

Now that many of the GrowSmarter smart solutions are entering the implementation phase, I will shortly summarise the experiences from the preparation and planning phase.


I will also give an update on the implementation status of the smart solutions and how they are being rolled out.




Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts

Preparation and planning; what have we learnt?


In Stockholm a range of smart solutions for low energy districts, as described in my previous blog post, will be rolled out in three building zones: Valla Torg, Årsta and the Slakthus area (see map).

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.


Preparation to implement our numerous energy efficient measures started quite some time ago, even before our GrowSmarter application was submitted back in May 2014.

One key issue was to decide the baseline; what can be done in older buildings and how much energy could each measure potentially save? For this purpose a consultancy firm was appointed; they helped us to assess and identify which measures would be most suitable. This gave us a good starting point for implementation, however the order in which they would be implemented, had to wait until we had our refurbishment plan in place.


Our refurbishment plan not only needed to detail construction costs and time and but also address simple questions like: Does the smart solution need electricity, data connection, wireless data transmission possibilities? As such, several meetings bringing together construction planners and industrial partners were held starting from March 2015 to February 2016. This extensive preparation and planning work was vital to ensuring that all the necessary specifications were included, to be sure that everything will work the way that it should.


Key learning: is to include smart solutions within the general planning process and to avoid implementation becoming separate to the actual construction process. This is the approach we have taken in GrowSmarter, so when an electrician or plumber is doing his/her work, (s)he is also implementing GrowSmarter solutions.


Implementation: efficient & smart climate shell refurbishment


Valla Torg (building zone #1): we are about to start with the energy efficiencies and solution 1 (smart climate shell refurbishment) of the residential building in Valla Torg together with Skanska. More update on this in my next blog!


Årsta (building zone #2): In the private condominium Brf Årstakrönet the activities solution 1 (Efficient and smart climate shell refurbishment) and solution 3 (Smart energy-saving tenants) started in January 2016. Veolia has installed a temperature sensor in every apartment, which logs information about indoor temperature levels. The target is to stabilise indoor temperature as far as possible, by controlling and steering heat into the building. In the diagram below, you can see information collected from the building to be able to optimise its energy use.



Building temperature levels © Stockholm


The yellow line indicates the indoor temperature and the blue line the outdoor temperature. Traditional temperature regulation is based on outdoor temperature which means that it sends hot water (indicated with the purple line) at night into the building regardless of the need. By controlling both indoor- and outdoor temperature, you can postpone the need for hot water, and lower heating costs.


Veolia has also started preparations to install solution 4 (photovoltaics) on the roofs of the building together with a new innovation developed in Sweden called the Energy Hub. The energy hub controls energy flows between solar cells, energy storage (battery), local loads and the grid. Veolia will also implement a module called Adaptive Current Equalisation (ACE). The ACE technology continuously monitors the grid currents. If one of the three phase currents exceeds a pre-set threshold, available energy from the other two phase conductors are used instead. This prevents overloading of mains fuses and can even allow the supply capacity to be reduced and hence the associated grid fees.


Slakthus (building area #3): Refurbishment of the Slakthus area buildings will start in May/June.


The picture below is from a study visit where Royne Julin from the Stockholm City Real Estate Administration is presenting the refurbishment and energy efficiency measures in the buildings for an international group of visitors.



Action area 2: Integrated infrastructures

Smart street lights and supermarkets sustainable energy use

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.


Installing smart LED-lighting

In April this year, we started with the installation of solution 5 (smart LED street lights) which will be finalised by the summer in Valla Torg.


The LED street lights, 25 Luminaires installed by the Stockholm City traffic Department will be an opportunity to showcase the benefits of open standards in enabling interoperability within intelligent lighting systems.


Using integrated light controllers and associated software, the Luminaries will be connected to outdoor Wi-Fi networks (via the radio frequency (RF) mesh network) and run by an automation system (Power-lin communications (PLC) networks) to reduce energy usage, operational costs and improve safety.


The potential exists to expand the RF mesh network to connect other city devices such as traffic lights, meters and different sensors. This possibility will be explored in more detail as part of the measure traffic posts as base of sensors.

In the picture above, Anders Hedlund from the City of Stockholm’s Traffic Administration is presenting smart LED lighting solution to an international group of visitors participating in the Eureka Innovation week in Stockholm. The building in the background is one of the buildings to be refurbished in Valla Torg.


Waste Heat recovery

Fortum’s open district heating (solution 6) will be implemented in two locations:

• In Västberga, waste heat from data centres will be captured and distributed via the district heating system

• in Farsta waste heat from supermarkets (some 5km south of the Slakthus area) will be used. As soon as agreements are signed, implementation will start.

Here Mr Hedman, from Fortum is presenting the open district heating solution. More information about this solution can be found here.


Big data management

In March, IBM, which is responsible for the open consolidated big data platform (solution 8), has conducted a Design Thinking workshop with the city’s traffic department to define which users to focus on and which problems to address.


Work continues with Stockholm’s Traffic Department and STOKAB/St Erik Communication to demonstrate the open data analysis and innovation platform to connect IOT devices, existing traffic data sources, as well as, assessing the need for new potential sensors e.g. video sensors.



Action area 3: Sustainable Urban Mobility

A grand opening...!

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.


The delivery boxes (solution 9) will be installed alongside the refurbishment in Valla Torg.


A survey of travel behaviour (solution 10) in Valla Torg has been done. The next step is to study two other locations in Stockholm and analyse reference groups.


As part of the GrowSmarter project, Fortum will install 10 charging stations and one fast charger (see image left - ©Stockholm)(solution 11). The fast charger will be put up in Årsta. The other charging stations will be put up in BRF Årstakrönet, Slakthus area and Valla Torg. The implementation has started.


Contracts for the first two refuelling stations (solution 11) have been signed and the third is on its way. The filling station in Årsta is shown in the picture.



Study visits in new information centres


Information centres in Valla Torg and Slakthus area for citizens and other interested visitors are now open!


The grand opening was held in 28 April when a study visit was organised for an international audience from Asia, Europe and North America.


A second study visit took place on 19 May with visitors from the different departments of the City of Stockholm.


The picture (Information centre ©Stockholm)is taken from the information centre in Valla Torg.





Discussed in this blog

Solution 1: Efficient and smart climate shell refurbishment

Solution 3: Smart energy-saving tenants

Solution 4: Smart local electricity management

Solution 5: Smart street lighting

Solution 6: Waste heat recovery

solution 8: Big data platform

solution 9: Sustainable delivery

Solution 11: Alternative fuel-driven vehicles


Mika Hakosalo

Site Manager, Stockholm


For the previous blog post, click here

2 December 2015

Cologne blog #1: A blueprint for sustainable urban development

“We hope in Cologne that with the “GrowSmarter Project”, we will be able to find more than just one solution to a single problem. We would like to develop blueprints for the sustainable development of complete neighbourhoods”. (Quote of former Cologne Mayor Jürgen Roters in his speech whilst the Kick-off Meeting to Grow Smarter on 10th February 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden.)


Over the last months we have seen the scaffolding go up in the Stegerwald settlement where we aim to implement a range of integrated solutions and talked to citizens, we have our data platform which is now in its first stages of being set up and our mobility hubs where we have run in to some issues…!


Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts

Energy efficiency & citizen involvement: the Stegerwald Settlement


Partners involved: RheinEnergie, Dewog and AGT


Facts about Stegerwald Settlement

Construction year: 1953

Floor space: roughly 33.529 m2 (concerning only the actual refurbishment)

Energy consumption (2013): 163 kWh/m2 per year (heating and hot water)36 kWh/m2 per year (electricity)




Germany’s buildings account for almost 37% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions (2010). Houses from the 1950s, like those in the Stegerwald Settlement, tend be lightly insulated. It is common to find attics with a single layer of insulation and walls with insulating values that are much lower than that required in new homes.


As part of Cologne’s commitment to the Mayor’s Covenant and “Klima-Bündnis” towards improving energy efficiency, we are working to create next-generation properties without these fundamental flaws to address the growing concerns over energy consumption, working towards a more sustainable future. In the GrowSmarter project 16 multi-family homes in the Stegerwald Settlement will benefit from a number of integrated solutions.


In the middle of August 2015 we were pleased to see the scaffolding going up in the Stegerwald Settlement district.


The buildings will have to adhere to Germany’s Energy Saving Regulation (EnEV) (last amended in 2014) which sets out thermal insulation standards for residential and commercial buildings. The regulation sets out values for the construction of new buildings but not for existing buildings. Therefor were are using empirical values.


The partners RheinEnergie, Dewog, and AGT have teamed up to provide measures for the tenants living in the Stegerwald Settlement in Cologne. In order to reduce the lead and consumption of primary energy, in the Stegerwald Settlement, RheinEnergie will install electric storages, PV, a district heat connection and heat pumps (by DEWOG) in the next two years. These all will be managed by a software like a software for a virtual power plant; called “Siedlungsmanagement”. At the same time DEWOG will implement energetic and structural measures.


Within the project GrowSmarter some apartments (50 to 100) will get a SmartHome equipment to save electricity and warm water for heating. The third partner, AGT International, will provide its expertise in acquiring energy consumption data on device level and its proven comprehensive data analytic capabilities developed in the BMWi funded project PeerEnergyCloud.


Energy consumption will be measured by Smart Plugs transmitting the data wirelessly and securely to a local gateway. Data will be pre-processed, anonymized and send via a secure channel to the backend systems. Here, advanced data analytic components will provide insights into the consumption behavior.




In a first step RheinEnergie, Dewog and AGT are developing a concept addressing the tenants in the Stegerwald Settlement about the benefits using Smart Energy solutions (2015-November-24). Additionally, a technical feasibility study is currently planned and will be realized in the next months.


Action area 2: Integrated infrastructures

Cracking open data - stimulating local entrepreneurs & traffic management


Partners involved: The Urban Institute and Microsoft


Something very new for us is our foray into expanding our digital infrastructure in the form of our open data platform www.offenedaten-koeln.de, an official site providing free access to a number of data-sets from Cologne.


We believe data is a source of massive potential value for cities to enable sustainable growth and tackle environmental and economic challenges. By technologically enabling the city we hope to tap into this potential value to create a fully-integrated, strategically-designed smart city; a concept which is also at the heart of the GrowSmarter project.


So, how does the platform work? Well, together with our partner ui! – the urban institute which is providing the software architecture (based on its platform UrbanPulse) and Microsoft, which is providing the Cloud infrastructure, Cologne plans to make city data available to citizens — securely and affordably. UrbanPulse gathers existing sensor data, such as data from Cologne’s traffic management system, and displays this data as annotated street maps via a web server.




The data platform is now up and running with users able to access and download non real-time traffic flow data. We are not quite at the stage of being able to offer real-time data, but we are working on it and exploring additional data sets which could be incorporated e.g. the road construction sites. This initial platform was demonstrated at the International Automobile Exhibition (IAA) in Frankfurt as part of the New Mobility World.


An on-going discussion with the City of Cologne in the development of this platform has been a concern about privacy issues. So far, all data comes from urban sensors and no personal or individual data is being stored or used. But as we look at expanding the data sets for example to include energy related data, this issue will be addressed.


A second issue is the security of data. One of the reasons to choose Microsoft Azure® has been because it is the only leading provider of cloud services to support the world's first international standard for data security in the cloud, known as ISO / IEC 27018 , and developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The standard aims to create a uniform and internationally valid concept to protect personal data stored in the cloud.


Ultimately we hope by unlocking public data and making it available to interested citizens, entrepreneurs and organisations to open up new value chains that spawn innovative and smart solutions which in turn boost sustainable modes of city living and working.


Action area 3: Sustainable Urban Mobility

Mobility hubs – when do public and private interests overlap?


Partners involved: Ampido, Cambio, KVB


In an attempt to reduce traffic on the roads three “mobility-hubs” will be installed as part of the GrowSmarter project. These hubs are comprised of several car sharing lots and also space for people to park their car a little way outside of the city centre and to take one of the provided E-Bikes to complete the rest of their journey. In addition there is the possibility to charge E-Cars. The energy to charge the E-Cars will be produced at the multi-family homes which are being refurbished (mentioned above).





image copyright cambio Köln


But we have run into some issues! According to German laws, public ground can’t be used for private (profit-making) purposes, e.g. car sharing services offered by Ampido. So these hubs have to be installed on private ground.


I will be back soon with more experiences with implementing the first smart solutions in Cologne in the next blog, but please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences this far in Cologne.




Barbara Moehlendick

Site Manager, Cologne