Vienna, Austria Creates Living Laboratory District, Aspern Urban Lakeside

The city of Vienna, Austria is creating a new district in which the buildings, electrical grid, and energy market will be continuously monitored in a living laboratory environment. The Aspern Urban Lakeside project will include 10,500 residential apartments, offices, shops, training establishments, and industry, ultimately creating 20,000 job opportunities. Investments will total €5.5 billion (US$6.06 billion), and the construction period will continue until 2028. The project is managed by Aspern Smart City Research GmbH & Co. KG (ASCR), a joint venture formed in 2013 among distribution system operator Wiener Netze GmbH, Vienna’s electricity, gas and district heating network operator; energy service provider Wien Energie GmbH, Vienna’s energy supplier; technology company Siemens AG; and the City of Vienna.

The fundamental goals of the project are to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and per-capita energy consumption as well as ensuring a failure-free supply of energy.  ASCR will use real data captured from buildings, the electricity grid, communications and information technologies, and user behavior in the Aspern Urban Lakeside.

The smart building research objectives of ASCR include three building types:

  1. A residential building with 213 apartments, seven heat pumps (800 kW), hybrid panels for solar-thermal generation (65 kW) and power generation (16 kW), photovoltaics (20 kW), electric heating cartridges (4 kW hot water), geothermal heat (60 kW) and hot water accumulators, a battery (2 kWh) and apartment automation.
  2. A student home for 300 students with photovoltaics (220 kW), a battery (120 kWh) and electric heating cartridges (two quantity of 8 kW hot water); and,
  3. A school campus comprising kindergarten and primary schools equipped with two heat pumps (510 kW), photovoltaics (29 kW), solar-thermal generation (90 kW) and electrical cartridges (two quantity of 35 kW).

Two buildings equipped with conventional technology will be used as benchmarks for the research project.

The ASCR smart grid consists of 20/0.4-kV secondary substations equipped with 24 transformers. Transformers with different technologies are being used, including amorphous core, aluminum, and on-load tap changers – as well as five grid storage systems. Sensors – including grid monitoring devices and smart meters in three building blocks make up the basic infrastructure of the ASCR smart grid test bed.