Smart City Rheintal II - Elements for the Emission and Energy Related Spatial Development of the Polycentric Structured Rhine-Valley

Through the use of technological and social innovations, the SmartCityRheintal project was aiming for a zero-emissions target for four development projects in settlements typical of the region, which are connected by a smart grid and a mobility-on-demand system. Regional energy suppliers cooperated on this with developers, local communities, KIT experts and research institutions. The foundation is the vision for CO2-neutral energy independence by 2050, including roadmap and action planning.


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Christian Eugster: The project was launched in July 2012 and ended in December 2015. We were sponsored by the Climate and Energy Fund, investigating three major spheres of life; first of all, the subject of housing; secondly, the mobility issue; and thirdly, renewable energy production.

Helmut Mennel: VKW is an active participant of the Smart City Rheintal project because it is dealing with issues of the future of energy. And we from VKW want to help shape this energy future.

Christian Eugster: We installed a photovoltaic system on our multi-storey car park that is currently home to about 20  electrically powered vehicles.

Stefan Hartmann: The battery storage device stores the energy generated by the photovoltaic system installed on the roof. As the cars are moving around constantly on the streets all day, they can be recharged with the energy accumulated in this manner at night, too. Moreover, batteries from decommissioned electric cars are used, thus closing the cycle.

Christian Eugster: Our project includes four construction ventures: the ‘Seestadt’ and the ‘Seequartier’ in Bregenz, the ‘In der Wirke’ project in Hard and the new ‘Montforthaus’ multi-purpose event centre in Feldkirch.

Gabor Mödlagl: Based on our collaboration with the Climate and Energy Fund, we commissioned several specialised planners with designing the house in a sustainable manner. The starting point was a building simulation we used for pre-planning all states of matter involved. On the smart screen, you can check the solar power input into the photovoltaic system. You can also see if the elevators are going up or down, even generating electricity as they go down. When constructing the ‘Montforthaus’, we strove to conform to smart building standards consistently right from the start.

Gero Riedmann: The ‘Seestadt Bregenz’ is a central project headed by the Prisma Group that is currently being developed in cooperation with the Spar European Shopping Centers GmbH. It is a project that was launched in the form of a common effort also including the local citizens. It is located at a site that is a major Bregenz traffic hub. Both the city’s railway station and its bus terminal are just off the site of the project.

Bernhard Fink: When implementing the Smart City project, we took great care to ensure an open dialogue with the local citizens – every stage of the master planning process was only completed after having been thoroughly discussed with the people living there. We placed great emphasis on guaranteeing mixed and varied utilisation, developing the city as a whole instead of building separate neighbourhoods.

Thomas Schöpf: In Bregenz, we from Rhomberg Bau became a research partner of Smart City Rheintal via the ‘Seequartier’ project. It is a place where all the vital communications meet, resulting in beneficial secondary effects for subsequent utilisation in the fields of housing, travel, work and shopping.

Gerhard Aicher: A major focus of this concept was on ensuring connections directly to and from the lake but also to and from the neighbouring streets. You can use your bike to explore the entire architectural landscape of the project, even most of the upper levels of the apartment floors.

Tobias Forer-Perntaler: In cooperation with the Climate and Energy Fund, we were able to implement numerous CO2-saving measures as part of the ‘In der Wirke’ project. All units were built according to low-energy or even passive-house standards.

Gabriele Büchele: The contribution of the Municipality of Hard was creating suitable framework conditions and interlinking existing interests and age groups involved.

Guido Kempter: As a research centre for user-oriented technologies at the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences, we provided scientific guidance for the Smart City Rheintal, in particular with regard to the residents’ behaviour patterns identified within the buildings that were constructed in the course of this project. We implemented smart home technologies and observed that they really did have positive effects on the energy consumption behaviour of residents.

Christian Eugster: We collaborated with the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences in developing an algorithm adapting the production of hot water in boilers to actual user behaviour.

Martin Reis: For us or ‘In the Wirke’, for that matter, intelligent mobility behaviour means selecting the optimum means of transport for each trip. To ensure such a range of options in the first place, an appropriate infrastructure is needed. This is an absolute must have that was implemented very thoroughly here. Traffic was calmed in the building complex, battery-charging stations were installed for electrically powered vehicles, and there is also a car-sharing facility for electric cars as well as a good bus connection. It’s an intelligent solution, for the project is to make proper use of mobility options instead of simply owning vehicles.

Christian Eugster: One of the project’s particular challenges was to involve residents and visitors alike in topics such as saving CO2 and promoting renewable energy. At long last, however, everything came together smoothly and we learnt much for the future.

Project data – Implementation project of the 2nd Call 20111
Project start: 01.07.2012
Project end: 15.12.2015
Approved funding: € 1.490.100,–
Paid out funding: € 1.312.657,–
Vorarlberger Kraftwerke Aktiengesellschaft (Lead)
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH
i+R Gruppe GmbH
Fachhochschule Vorarlberg GmbH
Rhomberg Bau GmbH
PRISMA Zentrum für Standort- und  Regionalentwicklung GmbH
Stadt Feldkirch
Bosch Software Innovations


Project lead

DI Christian Eugster
illwerke vkw

Tel: +43 (0) 5574 601 73107