The city of Marchtrenk, at the intersection of the cities of Linz and Wels, designed the concept for the development of a smart new city district on an area that was developed for new use. The key factor was a cross-system, intelligent and efficient energy concept for power, traffic and heat that could be adapted to other regions and that considered the interfaces of human being to their residence, workplace and energy supply.

Initial Situation 

In currently as yet peripheral urban regions such as Marchtrenk, the challenge consisted of implementing not only new mobility solutions to contain traffic and counter environmental problems, but also intelligent, resource-saving and zero-emission solutions for the power and heat segments. Current demographic forecasts illustrate that due to the trend to suburbanization, the coming decades would see many urban regions coalesce into large urban agglomerations. The city of Marchtrenk (present population 12,000) is located at the intersection of the two core zones/cities Linz and Wels, so that the role and positioning of Marchtrenk is of essential significance for the future spatial and sustainable development of this settlement axis. An analysis of past developments and perspectives for the future indicate the problems, opportunities and challenges inherent in the development of an urban-suburban community such as Marchtrenk. On one hand, the urban community stands to gain enormous economic benefits from its attractive geographic location.  The community offers an outstanding combination of an attractive business location and rural residential area. On the other hand, the increasing noise pollution from traffic and the loss of open space due to dynamic settlement development affects the quality of life of the residents. Moreover, a large proportion of commuters and the increase of private motor vehicle traffic intensify this development.

 Vision Developed

As a “smart city,” Marchtrenk became the showcase project for peripheral urban regions and functioned as the connecting link between core cities. It was necessary to contain private motorized traffic and accelerate the expansion of public transportation and other transportation systems. In order to push for a sustainable, positive development in Marchtrenk, it was very important to heavily involve decision-makers in development projects.  The aim was to intensify cooperation with the “LEADER” region and the climate and energy model region Wels-Land (with the energy capital Wels and other neighboring municipalities). The myriad activities in the areas of climate and energy were channeled into a new integrated project (Demo Project Sternmühle). Thus, in the context of the “SMARchTrenk” project, a concept was developed for the possible optimal configuration of the region with detailed focus on one specific smart city district.

Action Plan Developed

Development of the Sternmühle area and construction of a smart city district that combined the following components:

  • Design of an optimized usage concept in terms of “smart building”
  • Implementation of innovative new construction concepts in combination with the revival of old building stock
  • An innovative energy concept for the purpose of covering home requirements with renewable local energy sources for power and heat consumption as well as electromobility
  • Satisfying energy requirements via water power, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy and heat pumps right at the site/in the settlement area
  • Establishment of a user-friendly electromobility concept
  • Intelligent solutions for people-residence, people-workplace and people-energy supply interfaces.
  • Portability of the concept to other regions
  • Integration of the residents in sustainable structures: awareness building, smart metering



The design concept for the demo project of the Sternmühle smart urban district was actively pushed in the context of the “SMARchTrenk” project. In so doing, the financing and the composition of the actual implementation consortium were especially honed. The objective is the implementation of the entire smart housing development in the form of an overarching system-wide intelligent solution for a smart region where in addition to efficient energy concepts (for power, traffic and heat), intelligent solutions for the people-residence, people-workplace and people-energy supply interfaces are implemented. 


Requisite Research and Development Activities 

  • The need for research to adjust the legal framework to foster an optimal combination of production, grid operation and supply in small-scale applications of optimized energy management for self-sufficient supply of a small-scale area based on renewable energy sources
  • Development of new financing instruments for large-volume projects with higher investment costs and lower operations costs (primarily for efficient energy systems, smart structures)
  • Further development of “smart grids” and “smart metering” in business buildings; field trials for the generation and implementation of variable rates
  • Quantification of the economic and regional effects of a “Smart City” project
  • Establishment and optimization of participation processes in the context of “Smart City” projects so as to be able to consider as many interests as possible (urban community, users, residents, neighbors and the public)

Project results


Project lead

Dr. Robert Tichler
The Energy Institute at the Johannes Kepler University Linz

Tel: +43(0)732 2468 5659