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PIME'S Site Szentendre


Project status



Szentendre is situated some 30 km north-west from Budapest in Hungary. It is situated next to the river Danube, just some 30 km north-west from Budapest. In this small pitoresk town, PIME'S project covers rehabilitation of houses of flats and a kindergarden, as well as the construction of a new research centre for EMI.


Site facts and figures

  • Estimated population involved: 1,010
  • Approx. geographical area coverage: 100 ha
  • Approx. energy saving: more than 40 % by new building, more than 10 % by retrofitting compared to the national standard
  • Approx. energy from RES: 9,000 MWh/year



Within the project 800 mainly owner-occupied dwellings are supposed to be refurbished. The applied measures will comprise domestic hot water preparation from solar thermal collectors, insulation of the building’s envelope, replacing of windows, building-integrated PV (35 kWpeak in total) and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. Furthermore the municipal school and a kindergarten are retrofitted. At the kindergarten the outer walls below the windows and the entire flat roof are refurbished (Picture 1). An integrated PV system at the entrance hall for electricity production and shading function will be installed. Photovoltaics are also integrated at the old chimney of the “VSZRT” building (Figure 1).

A new swimming pool will be supplied by renewable energy sources and several buildings will be built at the industrial park: a fire and acoustic laboratory, a university building, a building center, different laboratories and offices for innovative enterprises. Especially low temperature heating and cooling (the Danube water and sewage as heat source for heat pumps) will play an important role. The sewage is supposed to be used for generating biogas as well. A biogas CHP and a heat pump (based on sewage) will supply the new EMI office building (Figure 2 and Picture 2). The new EMI office building is described in the “More Detailed” section.

Two biomass combined heat and power units (35 kWel and 500 kWel) and one biogas CHP (76 kWel) are installed and connected to a district-heating grid. A large-scale solar thermal system (surface of 566 m²) with a seasonal storage are constructed.

An energy management system, called “Microgrid”, will be installed at the residential area and the research and educational center to control the supply and demand side and thereby use the energy sources as efficiently as possible. Read more about “Microgrid” in the section “More detailed”.


Energy Management with „Microgrid“

“Microgrid” provides intelligent integration of the energy supply and demand. It will integrate and control all the thermal and electric resources, properly optimized for the community’s unique features, in order to guarantee their optimal use, according to social and economic criteria. This way, the production costs for each of the power sources, the sales price to the grid and the purchasing price from the grid are optimized, making it possible to decide which power to use or to sell at any time. Moreover, the integration of the microgrid as an energy management system ensures the optimal treatment of the thermal and electric flows.

(text taken from project report)


Large scale solar thermal systems and seasonal thermal energy storage

The residential area “Püspökmajor” was considered for large-scale solar thermal systems and seasonal thermal energy storage. The other areas do not have significant heat demand.

The existing district heating (DH) network has an enormous energy demand of 36 GWh/a. The yearly mean distribution temperatures in the DH are 110/70°C (supply/return), which is unfavorable high for solar thermal systems. It is possible to integrate large solar thermal systems into the DH network with a moderate increase in heat cost up to a solar fraction of about 5%. There is a large potential in increasing the efficiency and the economy of solar thermal systems by reducing the supply temperatures in the DH network. This could be possible due to energy efficiency measures performed at the buildings following the retrofit program.

Seasonal thermal energy storage would only be necessary for very large solar installations due to the large energy demand in the actual DH (even 10,000 m² of solar thermal collectors could be operated with a buffer tank of 500 m³ only).

(text taken from project report)


The new EMI office building

The construction work of the new EMI office building at the Industrial Park of Szentendre started in February 2012 and was finished by spring 2013. Internal and external quality control and technical inspection of the workflow progress and the building materials were performed continuously. Currently the building is under a BREEAM certification procedure.

The building now features the results of studies, which were prepared in relation to the innovative use of recycled thermal insulation and bioclimatic design solutions. The EPS (extruded polystyrene) boards and the polystyrene ingredients of the lightweight concrete are made from recycled material. Recycled mineral wool is also used for the façade (10 + 15 cm, Picture 3). The number and arrangement of the external cladding fixing was carefully designed to avoid unnecessary thermal bridges. A large number of the windows facing south are tilted to reduce the unwanted solar gains in summer (Picture 4). A surface heating and cooling system has been installed (Picture 5).

The following list sums up the innovative design elements of the new office building:

  • Recycled insulation at the roof and the façade
  • Tilted windows
  • Climatic façade with double-glazed skin
  • Water surface for cooling in summer at the entrance area
  • Horizontal shading sheets at the entrance area
  • Green roof
  • Green façade
  • Vertical flexible shading at the windows
  • Highly efficient surface heating and cooling

The energy supply of the new building is provided by a small district heating and cooling network, connected to the so-called “Energy Center”. The Energy Center has been finished in March 2013 and all its components will be fully monitored and controlled by an energy control system. The components are the following:

  • Heat exchanger for sewage
  • Pipelines from sewage heat exchanger to heat pump (Picture 6)
  • Heat pump station with the control system
  • Biogas pipeline and a biogas CHP
  • 4-pipe pipeline to the EMI office building
  • heating microgrid system for other surrounding buildings

Lessons learnt

The following information has been gathered as part of the CONCERTO Premium policy research.

Benefits of CONCERTO:

Key benefits:

Real estate development

The solving of energy generation and energy efficiency problems

Local economic effects: 10.4 full-time equivalent (FTE) person-years were required for the planning and construction of the CONCERTO project. 2 new jobs were created.


Barriers encountered:

Technical barriers:

Lack of experience in developing and maintaining special RES and EE technologies. Careful studies of possibilities, detailed design and calculations, market research, involving experts.

Economic barriers:

High construction costs, reduced profitability and lack of subsidies.

Solutions: Bank loans, seeking for other possible sources, subsidies, own funding and rent contracts with other companies for parts of the building.

Social barriers:

Lack of awareness among target groups (constructors, architects, home owners, real estate companies), lack of awareness among the general public and low acceptance of new projects.

Solutions: Raising awareness by website, articles, conferences, exhibitions.

Administrative barriers:

High number of authorities involved.

Solutions: Patience.


Success factors identified:

Technical success Factors:

Energy efficiency and integrating and harnessing renewable energy sources, combined with adequate storage systems and intelligent management, in a continuous quest for economic profitability based on optimum power exchange with the grid energy performance which for refurbishment is at least equal to and for new buildings at least 30% better than the national legislation for new buildings.

Social success factors:

Improve the quality of life, education, training and job options.

Institutional success factors: Development of an ESCO-model which allows the inhabitants of the community to become owners of the ESCO.

Economic success factors:

Profitability for the citizens.

The CONCERTO approach

Within the CONCERTO project, refurbishing of older small houses and a kindergarden is planned as part of an industrial park (at least 8 buildings).


Károly Matolcsy
EMI Nonprofit Kft, Budapest
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