Graduate School „Energy Efficiency in the District - clever supply. rebuilt. activate.“


Content and objectives

Under the leadership of the TU Dortmund University and the Department of Urban Design and Land Use Planning at the Faculty of Spatial Planning, this graduate school is a joint excellence initiative of the major universities and reserch and two institutes involved in energy-related tasks in the Ruhr Agglomeration. It focuses on questions relating to the improvement of energy efficiency in neighborhoods. From October 2014 to December 2018 up to ten PhD. candidates conducting research in an inter- and transdisciplinary college focusing on issues relating to the improvement of energy efficiency in urban districts.

The PhD students are dealing with technical, structural and spatial, economic, legal and social issues and their interrelations - correspondingly different is the professional orientation of the participating professors and departments.

Each graduation will contribute to answering the overarching question: Which system innovations and structures are necessary to achieve a widespread implementation of measures of energy efficiency in different districts?

Within the current policies, the focus is mostly laid on the observation of increasing energy efficiency of a single building. In building complexes and neighborhood contexts a significant potential such as sharing of facilities can be seen. This on one hand generates a higher degree of exploitation of technologies and is able to increase the economical efficiency. On the other hand, in order to develop innovative approaches and options for the implementation of measures, which do not refer to individual buildings and their owners/users, but as well include a larger user base than have an extended spatial focus, a wide variety of causal connections must be considered.

For the description and analysis of different "dimensions" of a neighborhood can be used: Functional (living, working, leisure, etc.), structural and spatial conditions, socio-demographic structures, economic and cultural-historical contexts, technical conditions, as well as the legal framework.

Especially the links between these "dimensions" are to be recessed in a varying degree in the following three interdisciplinary research focuses.

  1. Socio-Technical Dynamics
  2. Participants, governance und courses of action
  3. Superordinated contexts

The College has the aim to better understand relationships that are relevant for improving energy efficiency and thus infer strategic approaches for the implementation of energy efficiency measures in urban districts.

The geographical focus of the research is laid on the Ruhr Agglomeration and its selected areas.

The Ruhr Agency for Promotion of Economic Development 'metropoleruhr' with its Regional Energy Efficiency Innovation Network (Regionales Innovationsnetzwerk Energieeffizienz) together with its partners from practice is supporting the transdisciplinary research.


The Faculty of Spatial Planning at the TU Dortmund University is the leading partner of the graduate school. Further involved are electrical engineering, information technology and social sciences. Involved in the consortium are also the Ruhr-University Bochum, the University of Duisburg-Essen, Bochum University of Applied Sciences and the Wuppertal-Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. Partner is the Ruhr Agency for Promotion of Economic Development 'metropoleruhr'.


August 2014 to December 2018

Project management and speaker of the Forschungskolleg

Professor Christa Reicher


The Research College "Energy Efficiency in the Neighbourhood" is funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and is supported by the Mercator Foundation.



RWTH Aachen

  • Prof. Christa Reicher - Spokeswoman of the Graduate School
    Chair and Institut of Urban Design

TU Dortmund (Konsortialführer)

  • Dipl.-Ing. Christian Lamker - Chief Coordinator of the Graduate School
    Department of Urban Design and Land Use Planning, Faculty of Spatial Planning
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Johanna Myrzik
    Institute for Energy systems, Energy Efficiency and Energy Economy, faculty of Electrotechnics and Information Processing
  • Prof. Dr. Hartmut Holzmüller
    Department of Marketing, Faculty of Economy and Socieal Sciences

Duisburg-Essen University

  • Prof. Dr. Angelika Heinzel
    Institute for Energy and Environmental Technics, Faculty of Engineering
  • Prof. Christoph Weber
    Department of Energy aund Economy, Faculty of Economy
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. J. Alexander Schmidt
    Institute for Urban Desingn and Urban Planning, Faculty of Engineering

Ruhr-University Bochum

  • Prof. Dr. Rolf G. Heinze
    Department of Sociology, Employment and Economy, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Prof. Dr. Joh.-Christian Pielow
    Institute for Mining and Energy Legislation, Faculty of Law

University of Applied Sciences Bochum

  • Prof. Dr. Petra Schweizer-Ries
    Sustainability Sciences in Context of Social Sciences

Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie GmbH

  • Prof. Dr. Manfred Fischedick, Dr. Ralf Schüle
    Vice-President, research Group Energy, Mobility and Climate Policy

Agency for Promotion of Economic Development 'metropoleruhr'

  • Rasmus C. Beck