Graduate School

for Sustainable Energy Systems in Neighbourhoods


22.04.2022 NEQ-Works// Karen Weseley



At the beginning of April, the graduate school NEQ visited Cologne to exchange with experts and visit two climate projects. The first part on the agenda was a meeting with Mr. Perez from the Climate Protection Coordination Office of the City of Cologne. In his presentation, Mr. Perez gave an overview of different strategies and projects in Cologne to reduce emissions and push the city forward in terms of climate protection. During the technical discussion, he provided insights into a tool he had developed that shows the city’s heating consumption at building level. These heat maps provide an important basis for potential energy savings. Following the exciting exchange, the graduate school visited the “Klimastraße”. Within this project of RheinEnergie and the city of Cologne, various measures for CO2 savings were implemented on the Neusser Straße in the district of Nippes. In addition to involving local store owners into operating their shops more climate-friendly, an innovative mobility concept was implemented. With the help of small displays on lamps and signs along the street, drivers can see how many parking spaces are still available. These smart solutions lead to a significant reduction in traffic and make an important contribution to climate protection.

After a short refreshment stop on the “Klimastraße”, the tour continued with a visit to the Stegerwaldsiedlung. As part of the international “GrowSmarter” project, the housing estate, built in 1953, was completely renovated by DEWOG and RheinEnergie, and the heat supply was converted from gas central and central heating systems to electric air-source heat pumps, powered by solar electricity generated in-house. Mr. Remacly from RheinEnergie took over the tour of the quarter and gave insights into the initiation and implementation of the project. He went into detail about the technical design and allowed a tour of the heating systems in the buildings as well as the battery storage for the solar power. In addition to the technical details, he also reported on the communication both at the beginning and during the implementation of the project. He pointed out various barriers as well as drivers among the residents and gave insights which marketing measures and channels were used for activation. The day ended in a relaxed atmosphere with a glass of Kölsch. We thank Mr. Perez and Mr. Remacly for the interesting presentations and the exciting exchange of ideas!


07.03.2022 NEQ-Talks// Anne Graf



On February 23, 2022, Anne Graf and Sören Petermann presented results of their research at the online forum “Sustainable Mobility in the Neighborhood” of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU). In the three-hour forum, the two NEQ members discussed with other participants from science (Andreas Knie and Anne Klein-Hitpaß), practice (Mechtild Stiewe and Doris Bäumer) and population (Tobias Terpoorten) how environmentally sustainable mobility can be implemented at the neighbourhood level. The experts agreed on one central point: An equalization of the means of transport can only succeed if the privileges of the car are removed. Without touching the privileges of the car, the mobility turnaround cannot progress. In addition, the researchers emphasized the great interest of the population in the topic of mobility. Ms. Klein-Hitpaß observed that the pressure of people to suffer has never been so high. The window of opportunity for change and action was now. To this end, Mr. Terpoorten called for bold decisions by policymakers to not only reshape mobility, but to go hand in hand with making the cities of the future livable.

The event was recorded and can be viewed on the DBU YouTube channel.

17.02.2022 NEQ-Talks// Dione Hernández Galvis and Christian Thommessen



Practical relevance is of great importance within the framework of our Graduate School NEQ. As part of the continuation of the predecessor Graduate School EEQ, our research focuses more closely on the implementation of business models for the energy transition. In this context, we were very pleased that Mr. Thorsten Coß from AVU Serviceplus in Gevelsberg gave us practical insights into current planning and implementation processes of different energy efficiency and energy utility projects against the background of technical, economic, legal, ecological as well as social issues at the NEQ Talks on February 17, 2022. Afterwards, there was a lively debate among all the professors, experts and students present, both internal and external to the college. Some of the findings of the meeting are briefly described below.

While the fundamental necessity of increasing efficiency and reducing energy consumption in space heating and hot water preparation in existing buildings with their individual user-dependent requirements is completely undisputed, the concrete implementation of sustainable building and energy concepts is very complex. In contrast to isolated pilot projects, there is a lack of truly functional and practicable approaches and standardized solutions that are comprehensible and economically sustainable for the stakeholders concerned and thus, reduce the fear of investment decisions. In addition, technical restrictions on refurbishment in existing buildings result in the need for far-reaching decarbonization of the energy sources that will have to be used in the future heat supply. In densely populated neighborhoods, appropriately modernized district heating networks are suitable even if no refurbishment measures can or may be carried out on existing buildings. In rural areas, heat pumps are a key technology, but energy-related renovations must be carried out first. Finally, social compatibility plays an essential role in the course of such capital-intensive transformations of (decentralized) heat supply. Municipal heat plans, as they are already legally binding in the federal states of Hamburg or Baden-Württemberg, can be a remedy in this regard, in order to create the balancing act between ecologically sustainable supply solutions and those that are economically justifiable for all parties involved.

The next date for our NEQ Talks is on 23 June2022 at 18:00 again in digital format via Zoom. As usual, further information and dial-in dates for the event will be announced on our homepage.

10.02.2022 NEQ-Works-Session// Dione Hernández Galvis



The second NEQ-Work meeting of this year took place on 10 February 2022. With a view to the final stages of our project, we are now focusing on the paths we will follow once the project ends, that is the reason why during this meeting we welcomed three persons to share with us their experience pursuing a career in policy advice. After discussing some internal and organisational points regarding the upcoming tasks and activities of the project, we proceeded to welcome Mr. Manfred Rauschen, Mr. Dr. Marcus Greve and Ms. Andrea Pfeiffer (née Wagner).

Mr. Manfred Rauschen, graduated economist, and Managing Partner of the Öko-Zentrum NRW GmbH, told his experience, starting with his studies and then working for the city of Hamm, which led him to his current position, as well as being a partner in different companies, including two Japanese companies. Mr. Rauschen also focused on elucidating the relationship and balance of work and personal life, as well as the importance of promoting interaction and harmony among his employees, which leads to higher performance and overall satisfaction.

Afterwards, Mr. Dr. Marco Greve, Industrial Engineer with a specialisation in European Energy Management of the TU Dortmund and current Managing Director of ef.Ruhr GmbH, besides explaining the chronological development of his career, reported on the main tasks of his current job. Then, going into a little more detail, Dr. Greve proceeded to explain what motivates him both in the work and personal environment, as well as which personality traits he values the most, not only in himself but also in others. He explained how he finds the balance between the importance he gives to his family as well as his team and how the ability to see every challenge as an opportunity has led him to move forward in his professional path. All this without neglecting sporting activities, travel, and interpersonal interactions.

Then in the afternoon we received Ms. Andrea Pfeiffer (née Wagner), who is currently working for the Ministry of Economics, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia as a Policy Expert. Ms. Wagner is known for his work concerning the conception and the creation of the Graduate School before she proceeded to pursuit her current career path. Ms. Wagner shared her experience working for the ministry, as well as the advantages and disadvantages that this work can bring. She also mentioned some of the challenges she has faced in her work and personal life, and how the decisions she has made throughout her life have been the right ones in her particular professional journey.

Each of the presentations was followed by a lively round of questions from the doctoral students, who were particularly interested in the characteristics that each of the presenters were looking for in their employees and how it would be possible to have a balance between personal and professional life by choosing one of these paths in the future. The round of questions also served to give some feedback to the presenters on what things are important for the doctoral students when searching for an employer and starting a career in a specific field.

We thank the presenters for taking some of their valuable time to share with us their interesting life paths and for giving us some clarity on what the future might hold for us should we decide to follow in one of their footsteps.

It is with great anticipation that we prepare for our next workshop concerning career paths, which will take place on 10 March 2022 and will be more focused on a career in the public administration.

18.11.2021 NEQ-Talks// Post by Simon Slabik



On November 18 the fifth event in the NEQ Talks series took place. This time, the focus was on the “Green Village” in Cologne-Chorweiler, which was presented by architects from APG Cornelia Franz, Bernd Krömmelbein and Muharrem Pasli.

The impulse lecture was introduced with a description of the historical urban development in Cologne and Cologne-Chorweiler. Essential characteristics of the district and the population development as well as structure were put into context. After the urban development framework was presented, the speakers addressed the multitude of main topics in the project. In addition to mobility aspects, supply and care facilities as well as the energy supply concept, the structural and energetic quality of the building was further presented. The terraced building creates a large area for communal urban gardening, bringing the neighborhood’s population together.

Following the impulse lecture, the presented topics were discussed in detail. The direct reference to the implementation in connection with scientific approaches and considerations were central elements here. We would like to thank the speakers for the exciting insights into the project and the participants for the lively exchange.

17.11..2021 NEQ-Talks// Post by Lisa Taruttis



On October 28, 2021, our NEQ Talks series went into the next round with the title “Development of a sustainable and economic energy supply for cities and municipalities”. Three experts from science and practice were invited: Jana Rasch from the Entwicklungsagentur Region Heide, Ilka Hoffmann from the FH Westküste, and Anne Nieters from Fraunhofer IFAM. All three are involved in different areas of work in the QUARREE100 project, which was the focus of the three keynote speeches!

Jana Rasch opened the round with an overview of the project. One of the goals of a resilient energy system is to ensure regional supply stability – even in extreme situations and other uncertainties. Since this can conflict with a purely efficiency-driven solution, the QUARREE100 project aims to identify and model the optimal balance between energy efficiency and supply security in the Heide region. Ilka Hoffmann then reported on legal framework conditions and difficulties in implementation. Last but not least, Anne Nieters gave an insight into regional economic effects that can be generated in the Heide region through the implementation of the project.

All in all, there were many interesting insights into the project, both with regard to the scientific and theoretical basis as well as with regard to the implementation, including the difficulties that arise time and again. We would like to thank the three speakers for their exciting presentations and the participants for a lively discussion afterwards!