Aachen Plan for Energy-Efficient Social Housing

In Germany, the science and education hub of Aachen is looking to its past and present knowledge to drive the smart city development of its future. Over the past 80 years, as the city has developed, the Aachen-North district has become a mix of architecture, ranging from ancient industrial to residential. As housing centers arousing the bones of these structures to house a “social city” und more historical buildings, the city is improving on what already exists, with smart technological advances.

Learn how this project is redefining the concept of smart housing in a social housing development sense, and how other cities can adopt some of the same solutions back home.


Renovation revolution
Aachen is one of eight pilot cities involved in an EU project, which aims to showcase sustainable, nearly-zero energy building renovation models for smart cities. The hope is that by watching the development of these pilot cities, other communities around Europe will be inspired to follow suit by the year 2020. Cities from Sestao, Spain to Bratislava, Slovakia have taken on this challenge of urban renewal, renovating a total of 226,000 sqm of living space over the five-year project, with each pilot aiming to have a primary energy savings of 40 to 80 percent.

Energy efficient solutions
Aachen is retrofitting four 1970s housing blocks, aiming for an overall energy savings of 65 percent. A new central heating system will convert exhaust air and sewage water into heat, with electric heat pumps using green power generated by PV plants. Gas boilers will be solar energy efficient and new ventilation will assist with heat recovery. 

Community impacts
Since these projects are working with public housing, the city owns a large chunk of the buildings, meaning that both Aachen and its citizens will reap the rewards of this project. Here are a few of the short- and long-term impacts this type of project has on the community:

-Reduces energy demand through information and education on energy usage
-Lowers CO2 emissions thanks to green energy supply
-Builds partnerships with local energy companies to develop new optimised solutions
-Offers replication possibilities in the private housing sector

Over the past 80 years, as the city has developed, the Aachen-North district has become a mix of architecture, ranging from ancient industrial to residential.