ReFlex - Systemic optimised renovation strategies for energy-flexible, CO2-neutral neighborhoods

Claudia Hemmerle, Manuel de-Borja-Torrejon, 2021

With the expansion of renewable energies and the electrification of the heating and transport sector, the need to prevent shortages in the distribution grids increases. Buildings are assigned new tasks as sectoral interfaces, as they develop from consumers to energy producers and storage units. Thus, in addition to the objectives for the building sector, which are currently focusing on improving the energy standard of individual buildings, the contribution of buildings as flexible components in the low-voltage network is to be considered.

Previous research projects have assessed the behavior of buildings and neighborhoods in a way that is beneficial to the grid, through appropriate operating strategies and control concepts. In contrast, ReFlex focusses on renovation strategies. It investigates case-specific renovation measures for neighborhoods, so that the building stock can play its new role as an active actor in local energy infrastructures in a CO2-optimised manner.

For this purpose, simulation-based analises are carried out on exemplary quarter types, covering urban – sub-urban – rural scenarios. These contexts differ with regard to network requirements, building uses and structure, local potentials for renewable generation, and charging requirements for electric vehicles. Single models for the key components of the quarter are developed in Python and combined in an overall system model so that the scenarios can be studied.

The main objective of the project is to derive innovative systemic renovation strategies that take into account not only energy saving and the use of renewable energies but also energy flexibility, considering financing potential through prosuming. At the same time, the project aims to support the transformation towards a climate-neutral building stock and a sustainable energy system.