The intention of SEMS was to promote sustainable and capable energy saving and optimizing projects. The long term overall objective of the four core communities in Germany, Austria, Luxemburg and Poland is the self-supply of energy from renewable sources.This involved considerably lowering the energy consumption of the four communities and achieving a renewable energy supply rate of, respectively, 39% to 62% of the remaining end energy in the electricity and heat sector demand within five years.
A mix of different energy efficiency and renewable energy sources demonstrations, including refurbishment of old buildings, eco-buildings and polygeneration, all underpinned with complete business plans, were implemeted with the aim to avoid about 300 GWh/yr end energy from fossil sources, thus avoiding 94.000 tons CO2/yr, and saving 22.9 mio Euro/yr of disbursements for extra-communal electricity and heat deliveries.
Project demonstration sites
There were big differences in the success of individual measures and between the core regions. The following conclusions were made:
- Measures for which relatively small amounts of money had to be invested, such as installations of solar-thermal collectors, biomass heating systems, energy-saving heating pumps, etc., were implemented very successfully in all core regions.
- Contrary to this, energetic refurbishments of buildings were very difficult to implement and the success was extremely different from one core region to another.
- The construction of district heating networks to which biogas or biomass heating plants were connected went on with particular success in Redingen and Tulln. There the planning was done systematically and with a stronger involvement of stakeholders.
- There were considerable copycat effects between the SEMS core regions that allowed preventing the “multiple reinvention of the wheel”. The involvement of research institutes in the project made a much deeper investigation possible, notably with regard to the optimised use of biomass.
- The SEMS project set up coordination unit in all core regions. These units played a central role in the project implementation, and in the consultation and communication activities, that achieved successes. The coordination units allowed also developing documentation and monitoring activities at a level which would not have been possible without the project.