IQ - focal point on information and networking in the field of energy efficient districts
Starting point / motivation
The optimization of the energy efficiency of buildings has progressed significantly over recent years. Nowadays we speak about passive houses or even plus-energy houses. This project went one step further and observed energy efficiency in whole districts. A passive house in the open countryside, which is still an ideal for many Austrians, is not sustainable if the energy saved is then used for mobility. Project IQ realises the recommendations of the “heimwert” study from the programme “Haus der Zukunft” (house of the future): “Settlement systems are to be developed as an integrated and multi-dimensional offer including new building types, consideration of the residential surroundings (open space, traffic infrastructure) and technological innovations (e.g. local heating systems).”
Content and Objectives
- Establishment of a knowledge base through research and analysis of energy efficient spatial and settlement development.
- Networking with corresponding institutions in Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
- Awareness-raising and formation of common goals within the target groups.
- Learning from international research and demonstration projects through seminars, lectures and excursions.
- Learning from best practice-examples to give municipalities and house-builders a tangible idea of what it means to be an energy efficient district.
- Development of tools (handbooks, funding instruments …) to implement the knowledge into practice.
Collaboration with many stakeholders is needed to improve energy efficiency in relation to land use planning. The project partners are professionals in awareness-raising, networking and presenting complex matters within the field of energy efficiency, land use planning and collaboration. Due to their close proximity to public administration, the project partners have some influence on devising / designing the framework conditions. Approved methods and event formats have been used to link key people, to establish know-how and to make the project accessible to the target groups.
Forming opinions and developing a common goal
The activities within project IQ raised the awareness of the district development issue. The focus on whole districts has increased in recent years, as shown by an interview with state governor Karlheinz Rüdisser on the programme “Today in Vorarlberg”, broadcast on 28 June 2012: "[...] what is certainly true is that in the future we must focus more on sustainable districts. Here, the Vision Rheintal has extensively discussed the issue and published a guide [...]
Learning from international projects / knowledge base
The events have led to a transfer of knowledge to Vorarlberg. In particular, topics such as self-organised groups of house builders or low temperature energy networks (Anergie) - of which there are good examples in Germany or in Switzerland - were received with interest, . The documentation for the events is available on the Internet. Initiatives for self-organised house builders have already begun and the Vorarlberg Institute of Architecture has taken up the issue. Additionally in the field of developing energy-efficient districts there is a concrete project in preparation, dealing with the development of an energy-autonomous district within a municipality in Vorarlberg.
Development of tools
With the film and the brochure “10 food for thought for sustainable neighborhoods”, tools for practical implementation have been created for everyday use. The department of housing subsidies has been involved in the project. The neighborhood has been made more concrete and tangible by the examples from project IQ.
The project has led to increased connections for the stakeholder in Vorarlberg as well as for institutions of other provinces in Austria and in German speaking neighbour states.
Prospects / Suggestions for future research
Project IQ has established numerous initiatives.
The following topics for further action have been identified:
- a discussion of values (private interest / public interest – living in single dwellings/living in attached houses)
- the development of methods for successful process management for neighborhood development (instruments, participation models, cross-disciplinary collaboration)
- information and education of the public: ("acceptable density" alternative forms of accommodation) and the transfer of knowledge
- the development of indicators and funding instruments (e.g. a centralised energy supply versus a decentralised energy supply for dwellings, energy assessment of settlements in the area of mobility)
DI Martin Reis