INNERGY - Real laboratory in the central Inn-valley for climate-neutral semi-urban areas

Sustainable energy supply solutions for existing quarters and industry had been surveyed holistically and cross-sectorally in a small-structured area, consequently pilot projects had been elaborated with the aim to build up a climate-neutral region.

Short Description

Motivation and research question

In order to achieve the regional, national and EU-wide climate goals, concrete solutions and interlinked measures to save energy, increase energy efficiency and replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources are required. A real-world laboratory that bundles a network of competencies should support implementers in the project area in developing and realizing the best possible concepts in coordination with the regional energy situation. The aim is to accelerate the energy transition by promoting innovations in integrated, renewable energy systems. The tension between technical solutions, social and economic challenges as well as legal framework conditions should be taken into account.

Initial situation/status quo

The area around Innsbruck between Wattens and Zirl along the Inn valley is a prototypical area of a dense, small-structured settlement area. Quarters with existing buildings from different construction phases, neighboring commercial and industrial areas form a mosaic picture of different small-scale uses with agricultural areas. Tyrol has the highest share of oil heating systems in households nationwide (87,000 units/ 26 %). A large part of the gas consumption is in industry and commerce. As an alternative energy infrastructure, the district heating line already runs as a backbone through part of the area, namely from Wattens to Innsbruck.

Project content and objectives

There are great opportunities to develop and test prototypical solutions for the energy transition. On the one hand, concrete projects in the region were selected and accompanied in their conception process. On the other hand, organizational and content-related concepts were developed for the future operation of a living lab.

Methodical procedure

Within the scope of the exploratory phase of the project INNERGY, potential projects of existing quarters and industrial enterprises in the central region of Tyrol were surveyed holistically and across sectors. Based on a criteria catalog, four concrete projects for the real experiment were selected from the potential projects. Technical solutions were then worked out for the four projects and in parallel, the legal, social, and economic aspects were examined. For the development of a regional living lab integrated into the innovation ecosystem, basic data were collected and stakeholders were involved. Within the framework of a trend trip to other living labs in Germany, important project partners were able to get an idea of the benefits and results of such a project.

Results and conclusions

Central results of the exploratory phase of the project INNERGY are first, a concept for the foundation of a Tyrolean innovation laboratory to support and accelerate innovative projects toward a holistic energy transition and second, a plan for the implementation of a real experiment in the field of heat was formed which focuses on unused waste heat potentials and flexibilization of heat consumers.

The added value of INNERGY is to accelerate the development of innovative energy solutions embedded in an overall spatial energy system and the local innovation ecosystem. It got clear that the topics of waste heat and heating/cooling supply play a central role in all projects worked on. This focus should be realized in the first lead project in the living lab. The flexibility on the customer side and the integration of volatile feeders form core topics of this lead project. In this context, the concrete real experiment can only be conducted by linking the various projects and actors in the living lab area together. The real experiment thus contributes to the innovation goals within the framework of the "Implementation Plan for the Energy Research Initiative in the Climate and Energy Strategy" (Hübner Michael, 2020).

Already in the exploratory phase, the living lab also:

  • developed comprehensive proposals for solutions to concrete challenges faced by the partners involved,
  • functioned as a door-opener and catalyzer,
  • made the added value of interdisciplinary solution finding visible,
  • provided a platform for networking, professional exchange, and know-how building.


With INNERGY, a real laboratory is to be established in the Tyrol in the future, which will support the development of innovative, transferable solution models. As an impulse generator, networker and knowledge carrier, the implementation of further projects in the area is to be accelerated. There is a need and potential for a "living lab of the energy transition" in Tyrol: The central outlines of the concept for the continuation have been developed and are to be pursued. In particular, complex operational transformation projects, embedded in their (regional) environment, are to be accelerated in the phase-out of fossil energy sources. In this way, not only will the energy turnaround in Tyrol be advanced in practice and value creation in the province be increased, but also a locational advantage will be created for companies that are in international and national competition for "climate-neutral products" and the increasingly environmentally conscious employees.

Project Partners

Project management

Energie Tirol: Consulting - Research - Funding

Projekt- bzw. Kooperationspartner:innen

  • Wasser Tirol - Ressourcenmanagement-GmbH
  • Standortagentur Tirol
  • MCI - Management Center Innsbruck
  • Energie Ingenieure Consulting GmbH
  • Cemit GmbH
  • Universität Innsbruck, Institut für Konstruktion und Materialwissenschaften, Arbeitsbereich Energieeffizientes Bauen

Contact Address

Dipl. Freie Kunst Dhara Meyer
Südtiroler Platz 4
A-6020 Innsbruck
Tel.: +43 (699) 161 983 55