The Berlin residentials around the Ostseeplatz in Prenzlauer Berg consist of six four-storey residential buildings with a total of 224 residential units. Until 2015, each apartment was equipped with gas floor or gas exterior wall heating. Very high costs were incurred annually for the maintenance and retention of this supply solution. For this reason, a planning office commissioned by the residential building cooperative "Zentrum" eG investigated a wide variety of supply systems that offered alternative and future-oriented solutions with regard to energy consumption and costs.
Less costs, more efficiency
After a thorough evaluation of all possibilities, the residential building cooperative "Zentrum" eG decided to install a combined heat and power unit (CHP) with gas heating.
The combined heat and power unit and the peak load boiler were installed centrally for the supply area and since then have supplied all houses with heat for heating and hot water via a local heating network. The heat generated by the combined heat and power unit is supplied to the cooperative by the Berlin Energy Agency through contracting and the electricity generated is sold directly to the residents of the neighborhood via a tenant electricity model. This created an inexpensive, decentralized energy generation alternative to other electricity providers, as some cost components such as grid charges and electricity tax are now no longer applicable.
Smart living with RIEcon SmartHome
The decentralized energy management system RIEcon SmartHome aggregates defined usage regimes and default settings of the residents per room or apartment and continuously optimizes the heating curve of the central heating system. Since the system "knows" the heating requirements from the apartments and compares them with the measured temperature, it can forecast the heating demand for the next few hours in conjunction with weather data and achieve major efficiency gains from the heating management. Through information technology networking, further intelligent home networking services can be made available. With so much optimization of living quality, it’s not surprising that a tenant survey revealed a very high level of satisfaction, both with the modernization measure and with RIEcon ApartmentManager.
For unobstructed communication between all components – consisting of six BuildingManagers and one QuartiersManager – a star-shaped glass fibre network was laid from the main station at Hosemannstraße 43 to the five connected buildings as part of the civil engineering work for the local heating network. Glass fibres offer the possibility of transmitting large amounts of data – including data for controlling and regulating the energy supply, meter data for billing and weather data – quickly and stably over long distances. At the same time, fiber optic networks meet the requirements for protection against lightning and overvoltage.
Due to the advantages of the fiber optic network, only one Internet access is required in the main station, instead of the otherwise at least six necessary connections. The independent network infrastructure is a prerequisite for secure data storage in the neighborhood.
Win-win for tenants and property managers
The tenants of the residential complex benefit from this modernization measure, they are very pleased about the significant savings in electricity costs. However, there are also attractive advantages for the residential building cooperative. For example, the operating and maintenance costs for this supply area could be sustainably reduced due to the information network between tenants and administration. The new heating system with combined heat and power generation, which generates both heat and electricity, emits lower CO2 emissions. This saves energy and is even more climate-friendly.
Funded showcase project
The described quarter is part of the funding project "Shop-window for intelligent energies – Digital agenda for the energy transition" (SINTEC) and is anchored in the WINDNODE research project for the OST area. In the Berlin quarter "Hosemannstraße" in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg, the Borderstep Institute, together with Dr. Riedel Automatisierungstechnik and the DAI Laboratory of the TU Berlin, is testing how different combinations of energy generation and storage in residential buildings can lead to more flexible, current-controlled operation of residential quarters. The technologies used range from modulating combined heat and power units, buffer and building mass storage units to power-to-heat aggregates and smart building technology. This creates decentralized flexibility in order to be able to react to oversupply of renewable electricity. Dr. Riedel Automatisierungstechnik develops suitable business and billing models for the energy and housing industry as well as a software application for end customers, taking into account external signals from the market and the grid.
Berlin residentials in Prenzlauer Berg – Technology at a Glance
- Installation of a combined heat and power unit (CHP) with gas heating
- Consumption recording and billing for heating and water
- The decentralized energy management system RIEcon SmartHome aggregates defined usage regimes and default settings of the residents per room or apartment and continuously optimizes the heating curve of the central heating system