Erneuerbare Energien


Welcome to the WTA Commission "Climate Protection, Energy and Simulation"

We´re on! The establishment of our department marks a new milestone for climate protection and the use of renewable energies. We are proud to be able to present the latest developments and innovative approaches to you here.

Our Mission: To promote the combination of tradition and innovation by using digital technologies to preserve our cultural heritage and lead it into a sustainable future.

Our Aim: Promote decentralized, renewable energy concepts to reduce dependence on imported energy and strengthen security of supply. We rely on solar, wind, geothermal and other local energy sources to make our historic buildings energy-efficient.

What we offer: A platform for the exchange of knowledge and practical experience in order to harmoniously combine climate protection and heritage conservation. We bring people together who want to work for environmental protection and the preservation of cultural heritage.

Innovations & added values:

Contact persons

Prof. Dr.-Ing. John Grunewald
TU Dresden

Dipl.-Ing. Katja Tribulowski
TU Dresden

Secretary General:
Dipl.-Geogr. Anita Morandell Meißner
TU Dresden

Total Number of Members: in formation

Adapting to climate change: Our research shows that we can reduce the energy requirements of historic buildings without compromising their historic substance.

Effects of climate change on architectural monuments:

Listed buildings generally consume significantly more energy than modern buildings and do not meet today's energy standards. This not only leads to increased operating costs, but can also jeopardize the substance of the listed buildings in the long term due to vacancy. Climate change-related phenomena such as increased rainfall, temperature fluctuations and extreme weather events as well as the drying out of the building ground also contribute to damage to the building fabric. Research in the field of energy-efficient refurbishment of historic buildings suggests that targeted measures can significantly reduce energy requirements without compromising the historic fabric and that buildings can thus be made more resilient to extreme weather events.

Local, renewable sources: We use innovative technologies and approaches to tap into local energy sources and use them sustainably.

Decentralized renewable district solutions:

Decentralized district concepts focus on the most self-sufficient supply of renewable energy possible from the surrounding area. The municipal heating plans of cities and communities show that it is much easier to tap into land potential and integrate various sources at district level. This makes it easier to co-supply listed buildings in a neighborhood.

Technical aspects:

  • Energy source of the future: The seasonal shifting of heat and cold by using the ground is a sensible strategy in our latitudes.
  • Utilizing the potential of cold local heating networks in conjunction with near-surface geothermal energy.
  • "Fit for renewables" for refurbishment in existing buildings takes precedence over "saving money, whatever the cost"!
  • Tapping into local, renewable sources and using them sustainably instead of importing and transporting energy over long distances.

Socio-economic aspects:

  • Involving residents in the development of sustainable energy district concepts, strengthening the social concept, creating win-win situations and defusing conflicts.
  • Development of new business models for energy suppliers (use of local areas for PV, geothermal energy, heat storage).
  • Overcoming energy poverty through low operating costs based on renewable building energy supply.

Digital planning: We use digital tools to optimize planning and maintain historical values.

Use of digital planning tools:

Capturing the individuality and complexity of historic buildings often poses a particular challenge. The uncritical application of traditional methods and standards can, for example, lead to the incorrect or oversizing of technical systems. On the other hand, the possibility of a digital building survey, on which many of the subsequent calculations are based, has developed considerably. Recording the relevant parameters of buildings using modern digital technology and barrier-free further use in digital building planning tools support needs-based planning.

In addition to the analysis and optimization of energy requirements, the development of local, sustainable energy sources is a particularly important component. Of course, the CO2 emissions of the materials used in the renovation also play a major role, as do the CO2 emissions saved through the preservation of historic buildings in the form of gray energy. Last but not least, climate protection measures should be checked for effectiveness after implementation. This includes the precise calculation of heating and cooling energy requirements, the modeling of air flows and pollutant distributions, the prevention of damage to building components caused by moisture and mould, and the calculation of heating networks and energy systems.

The department's close links with research in the fields of architecture, building physics, renewable energy systems and software development add important aspects of environmental protection and sustainability to the WTA's range of expertise. This frames innovative technologies and approaches for energy efficiency as well as methods for assessing and reducing the ecological footprint of monuments.

Be part of our working groups:

  • Regenerative planning methods and building information models
  • Development of local renewable sources
  • District concepts & networks
  • Sustainable materials & life cycle
  • Digital quality assurance & monitoring

Shaping things together: If you work in one of these areas and are passionate about climate protection, renewable energy and the preservation of our cultural heritage, then you've come to the right place! Become part of our community and contribute your expertise.

Innovation meets tradition: Involvement in the WTA-Commission

Shaping together: The WTA's “Climate Protection and Digitization” unit is calling on a wide range of experts and enthusiasts. If you work in one of these areas and are passionate about climate protection, renewable energy and the preservation of our cultural heritage, then you've come to the right place! Become part of our community and contribute your expertise.

Your participation means far more than just contributing to influencing key issues such as climate protection and the ongoing digitalization. It opens up a world of networking and offers countless opportunities for professional development.

Profilbild Prof. Dr.-Ing. John Grunewald
Prof. Dr.-Ing. John Grunewald


Prof. Dr.-Ing. John Grunewald
TU Dresden

Presentation of the working groups of Commission 12

Working Group 12.1: Regenerative planning methods and building information models

Initial situation and objectives: Architectural monuments are part of our cultural heritage. They are places of remembrance, create identity and are repositories of knowledge that need to be preserved for future generations. In the recent past, high energy prices and advancing climate change have increasingly led to discussions about the energy supply and energy-efficient refurbishment of listed buildings.

The constant availability of cheap fossil fuels has led to a downgrading of the value of energy in the past. The energy optimization of buildings in the planning stage is still not common practice (the energy pass is the regulatory proof at the end of the planning stage). The oversizing of technical building systems has so far made it difficult to integrate regenerative sources economically. Fossil-based planning approaches are therefore no longer up to date.

Instead, new planning methods for renewable energy sources must now be established. Regenerative planning methods rely on the use of digital twins to map real conditions. These support the precise design of supply concepts in order to take account of the limited availability of renewable sources. This requires the consistent implementation of building information models (BIM) as part of the digitalization of planning processes.

Dirk Weiß
Acting head: Dirk Weiß

Main focus of work:

  • Building-specific, dynamic, year-cyclical determination of energy requirements and evaluation of user comfort
  • Upgrading buildings for renewable energy systems (e.g. low system temperatures, energy demand optimization, storage effects and load shifting)
  • Selection of suitable technical system solutions for existing buildings (distribution systems, transmission systems, communication systems, control strategies)
  • Creation and description of practicable workflows for BIM (e.g. documentation of suitable software applications, interface definitions and exchange formats)
  • The aim of the working group is therefore to collect and, if necessary, standardize the terms used in practice with regard to heat, water and water vapor transport.

The results of the working group meetings should be published as a status report. If necessary, corresponding information sheets can be generated from this.

Building in SIM-VICUS
Building representation in SIM-VICUS

Working group 12.2: Development of local renewable sources

Initial situation and objectives: The energy-efficient refurbishment of existing buildings is essential for the success of the energy transition due to their significant number and higher consumption. The use of renewable energy sources in existing buildings and listed buildings is more complex than in new buildings. The buildings and their supply concepts are generally designed for the availability of fossil fuels, high flow temperatures and small heat transfer surfaces.

The current focus on photovoltaic systems on particularly valuable existing buildings appears to be short-term and not holistic. Instead, decentralized district concepts must be given greater focus in order to supply listed buildings in the district. A regenerative energy supply for existing buildings is usually an individual task. It must therefore consider a wide range of possible local heating, cooling and electricity sources and requires a complex consideration of building use, source availability, building fabric, supply concept and renovation planning.

The working group takes the technical building conditions as a basis for planning and deals with the development of locally available regenerative sources.

Acting head: Hans Petzold
Acting head: Hans Petzold

Main focus of work:

  • Development and evaluation of local renewable energy sources
    • Electricity, heating and cooling supply
    • Geothermal energy, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, wood pellets, heat pump technology
    • Land potential for energy generation, distribution and storage
  • Site assessment
    • Data preparation from digital databases
    • GIS systems
    • Environmental cadastre
Ground collector for the extraction of geothermal energy
Ground collector for the extraction of geothermal energy

Working Group 12.3: District concepts and networks

Initial situation and objectives: To date, the building stock in our cities has largely been supplied with fossil fuels via direct gas connections or district heating. Both building owners and network operators therefore need to think about suitable transformation paths. This process is now picking up speed with the ongoing municipal heating plans of cities and municipalities and should be completed by 2026 / 2028.

Suitable grid-based district concepts are the prerequisite for sensibly tapping into potential areas and integrating waste heat from various sources. Renewable energy generation at district level has the advantage that the pressure on listed buildings with regard to the production of renewable energy is reduced or this problem may no longer be relevant at all.

The aim of the working group is to evaluate the energy supply at district level and to develop methods for integrating listed buildings in the district context into the energy and heat transition. The aim is to enable engineers, planners and decision-makers to think of buildings and energy supply and distribution systems in the neighborhood context more as a networked system.

The focus is also on extensive energy self-sufficiency. Energy imports should be reduced and the use of locally available renewable energies increased. Joint decision-making is necessary in order to think and act as a neighborhood community. Local people can contribute their different specialist skills. As a result, decentralized energy concepts can be adapted much better to the respective local conditions and tailor-made energy supply solutions are made possible.

Acting head: Katja Tribulowski
Acting head: Katja Tribulowski

Main focus of work:

  • Methods for the design of grid-based neighborhood concepts
  • Integration of listed buildings at neighborhood level
  • Utilization of synergy effects in settlement structures
  • Contributions to municipal heat planning
  • Involvement of local people
District concept in SIM-VICUS
District concept in SIM-VICUS

Working Group 12.4: Sustainable materials and life cycle

Initial situation and objectives: It should be critically noted that when it comes to renovation measures in the field of building conservation and monument preservation, standard solutions that are used in the construction of new buildings are used far too often. This can lead to structural damage and irreparable loss of historic building fabric. The preservation of monuments - the historic building fabric and appearance - should have top priority. Particularly when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of listed buildings, comprehensive property-specific analyses and a holistic approach are important in order to find tailor-made solutions that are compatible with listed buildings.

In this context, the working group focuses on giving weight to methods for assessing and reducing the ecological footprint of buildings. The focus is on analyzing life cycle data in order to promote the use of materials and construction methods that are compatible with listed buildings and environmentally friendly. At the same time, the working group strives to minimize material-related CO2 emissions and to quantify the positive effects of preserving historic buildings on the CO2 footprint. Both traditional and innovative approaches are taken into account to ensure a balance between the preservation of cultural heritage and environmental responsibility.

Acting Head: Dr. Xiaoping Xie
Acting Head: Dr. Xiaoping Xie

Main focus of work:

  • Assessments of the CO2 footprint or gray energy with a focus on preserving the historic building fabric
  • Life cycle analyses for resource-efficient construction
  • Regional integration of site-specific recycled building materials
  • Implementation of the principles of the circular economy in the construction industry

Working Group 12.5: Digital quality assurance and monitoring

Initial situation and objectives: In recent decades, computer-aided digital planning tools have developed into an important instrument for evaluating the climate impact of a wide range of measures. They offer the potential to address a wide range of issues relating to energy efficiency and climate protection in the planning process.

However, the use of digital tools in planning practice faces major challenges. The creation of a sufficiently accurate energy-efficient building model can be very time-consuming and labor-intensive, especially in existing buildings, and requires specialized knowledge and expertise of the software and the special features of the existing building fabric. In addition, the accuracy of the results depends heavily on the quality of the input data.

Quality assurance of the digital processes and the availability of reliable input data are therefore of crucial importance.  Verifiability must be continuously guaranteed and become part of the integral planning process. The refurbishment of existing buildings poses a particular challenge in terms of data acquisition compared to new buildings. Insufficient data is the rule. The working group will therefore collect, systematize and document the available scientific methods in order to effectively address the problem of fragmented data availability.

Sustainable quality assurance in the area of energy-efficient building and district planning can only be implemented through systematic TARGET-ACTUAL monitoring. Broad, data-based quality assurance through systematic comparison of key energy figures from building planning and operation is not provided by the energy consumption and energy requirement certificates that have been prescribed to date. Generally applicable methods must be established for the comparison of planning parameters and consumption data (monitoring).

Acting Head: Stephan Hirth
Acting Head: Stephan Hirth

Main focus of work:

  • Definition and documentation of digital test scenarios
  • Boundary conditions and limits of the applicability of digital tools
  • Quality management in the area of input data and parameterization
  • Support of the target-actual comparison through monitoring procedures
Logo SIM-Quality
Logo SIM-Quality Funding code: 03ET1570B

Our guiding principles

WTA Commission 12 develops innovative approaches to seamlessly integrate climate protection into the preservation of historical monuments. By bringing together tradition and sustainability, the unit reconciles ecological and cultural values and opens a new chapter in the preservation of our architectural heritage.

The unit's close connection with current research in architecture, building physics and renewable energy systems promotes sustainable approaches to energy efficiency and supports the assessment and reduction of the ecological footprint of historic buildings.

Luther House Wittenberg
Luther House Wittenberg
Gropius Building Berlin [© immoeinfach auf Pixabay]
Gropius Building Berlin

Overview of events, training courses and workshops

On this page you will soon find an overview of all the dates of our training courses, working group meetings and other offers.

Establishment of WTA Commission 12 »Climate Protection, Energy and Simulation«

The creation of the unit marks the beginning of a new era for the WTA, characterized by the combination of traditional values with pioneering technologies. This visionary project, which aims to nurture young and enthusiastic talent, reflects the WTA's commitment to pioneering the combination of environmental protection, heritage conservation and digital progress. Unit 12 opens up new horizons for professionals from various disciplines such as civil engineering, building physics, architecture, geology, energy technology, building services, energy consulting and other relevant fields. It not only offers an opportunity for participation, but is also conceived as a platform on which the future of our architectural heritage can be rethought and redesigned. You are cordially invited to become part of this exciting development, which will be a valuable service to both your professional career and the preservation of our built heritage.

Each working group pursues specific goals and uses strategic approaches to tackle the multi-faceted challenges in their field. Take a look at the focus areas of each working group, perhaps you can help us with our forward-looking activities.

Signature for the new establishment of the WTA working group on climate protection, energy and simulation - symbolic image
Signature for the new foundation

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