Research Area:
Resource Efficiency of Settlement Structures

EASE – Energy Improvement and Urban Development

Discussion on the energy-efficient city is mainly concerned with technical aspects and actor constellations. Insufficient attention is often paid to economic causal mechanisms, side effects on the economy, and underlying urban structural conditions – leaving many questions unanswered in these fields. Against this background, the project "Energy Improvement and Urban Development" examines the links between local property markets, development of the urban infrastructure, and government subsidies. The aim is to develop recommendations on whether and how government subsidy policy should take account of local urban factors. Another aim is to develop a data base on the energy efficiency of cities, also with the prospect of longitudinal studies.

In interdisciplinary cooperation between the Institute for Ecological Spatial Development (IOER), the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), and the E.ON Energy Research Center at the RWTH Aachen University, these problems and fields of research are to be examined in depth. The IOER is investigating spatial-structural aspects on the basis of cluster analysis and other multivariate statistical methods for selecting and analysing city types and small-scale urban areas. Using econometric procedures, the IWH is assessing the willingness of private households and private investors to finance measures to improve energy efficiency in the real estate sector and the implications for the optimum design of government promotion schemes. IOER will also contribute to this question by questionnaires in selected case studies. The E.ON Energy Research Center provides approaches for calculating and assessing energetic and exergetic efficiency for building insulation standards and systems engineering that can be used in the rehabilitation context. Apart from describing and quantifying causal relationships, the results are expected to identify points of departure for adapting development promotion programmes to specific framework conditions of the urban space and economic structures.

The project is guided by three key questions:

  • What is the relevance of local urban-spatial and housing industry conditions for the effectiveness of subsidies?
  • What side effects does energy efficient redevelopment have on the structure of cities from a physical, economic, and social point of view?
  • Can, taking due account of the specific urban typology, political intervention positively influence the results of energy efficiency enhancement?
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