Achieving zero-energy balance districts in Malaga and Mons


The final challenge is to achieve zero-energy balance districts both for districts refurbishment and new urban planning. 

Sustainable Districts and Built Environment
Integrated Infrastructures and Processess across Energy, ICT, and Transport, Citizen Focus, Integrated Planning, Policy, Regulation and Management, Standards, Baselines and Performance Indicators and Metrics, Business Models, Procurement and Funding


This commitment is born by the union of relevant industrial and research actors coming from the ICTs, energy and construction sectors, working together with the public administration for tackling a major challenge: the management, control and optimization of energy at neighbourhood level. The final industrial goal is to develop a new solution able to operate, in a holistic and integrated way, all the energy elements (thermal and electrical) located in European neighbourhoods: renewable energy sources, stationary storage devices, electric vehicles charging infrastructure, district heating networks, building loads, etc.

The final aim of this control system, called E+, is to reduce the energy consumption and CO2 emissions at neighbourhood level, while paving the way for a high share of distributed renewable energy and the massive deployment of electric vehicles. In addition, two public authorities in Málaga and in the Mons region have been included in the consortium to ensure the involvement of citizens and final users, the consideration of their concerns and the social awareness regarding the new energy model.

The solution will be prepared to work under the current conditions but it will be defined to operate in the coming low carbon energy scenario: with high shares of renewable sources, massive deployment of electric vehicles, large number of storing devices, active participation of users in the energy market and smart energy grids. The new proposed solution is addressing a new market, already not developed. Therefore, new business models will be defined in order to facilitate and protect the interest of the three sectors.

Finally, two key aspects for ensuring the replication and exploitation of the proposed control system are (1) the interoperability of the different energy and ICTs elements and (2) the establishment of a new regulation frame prepared for the energy operation at neighbourhood level. Therefore, the partners of this commitment will provide recommendations and proposals addressing European policy makers, regulators and standardization bodies.

Concerning the relation between the activities envisaged in this commitment and the potential actions defined in the OIP, the main synergies are in priority areas 2 "District and Built Environment", 3 "Integrated Infrastructures", 10 "Standards" and 11 "Business Models". Particularly, this commitment is fully aligned with potential action 4 of priority area 2 "Large scale deployment of zero energy new districts and zero energy new buildings", as the final goal of the commitment is to develop a solution to create zero energy balance in new and existing districts. Moreover, a clear contribution will be made in priority area 10, in line with several potential actions, as the partners will analyse and develop recommendations for standards and protocols for communications and data handling and representation at district level, both for energy management operation and for decision support tools.

This commitment is fully aligned with EIP by bringing together industry and cities in order to accelerate the deployment of a Smart City integrated solution involving three main different sectors. The final goal of the commitment is to achieve Zero Energy Balance in the districts, thus contributing to the EU’s 20/20/20 climate action goals by improving energy efficiency at neighbourhood level and reducing CO2 emissions. 

Moreover, different standard districts will be defined, leading to recommendations for the urban energy planning in Europe, both for new neighbourhoods and refurbishment, thus facilitating the replication and scalability of the solution. Furthermore, new recommendations for standards and interoperability of the systems for the energy management at district level will be developed.

Finally, the solution will increase citizens’ freedom to operate and manage their energy consumption and generation, becoming prosumers and being an active part of the energy system.

The consortium has been designed looking for the integration of the whole network chain of the project scope, which is the ICTs, energy and construction sector. The consortium is integrated by three large companies representing these sectors (IBM, KEMA and ACCIONA respectively), two SMEs (Mons demonstrator manager and software development company), two research and innovation organizations (one based on energy and the other one on ICTs) and finally two public authorities (Málaga and Mons energy agencies). All of them are best-in-class actors in the field of ICTs, energy and construction. In addition, the consortium accounts on the support and collaboration of the Spanish DSO ENDESA, who operates in the demo site of Málaga. 

Even though the focus of the works is not on the transport and mobility sector, the necessary infrastructures for the deployment of the electric vehicle are very present in this commitment and some of the partners have a wide and proven experience in this field.

Is the commitment potentially open to additional partners and if so, in which priority area (please tick the relevant options)?

  • Sustainable Urban Mobility
  • Integrated Infrastructures and Processes across Energy, ICT, and Transport
  • Policy and Regulation
  • Business Models, Procurement and Funding


The final challenge is to achieve zero-energy balance districts both for districts refurbishment and new urban planning. Several actions will be carried out to ensure the achievement of this gol:
- Develop the E+ energy management software for the implementation of the new energy management concept
- Define and develop the hardware platform that will enable the control of all the energy elements at district level and to integrate them with the E+ operation models.
- Characterize the districts at European level, according to disposition, consumption, size, energy resources and other parameters and define the representative topologies.
- Produce a set of public recommendations for neighbourhoods urban planning.

The project is expected to be running until mid 2016. The resources commited by the partners are huge. 511 person-month will be mobilised for a total budget of 126 M€, including the investments in infrastructures already made by Malaga (102 M€) and to be made by Mons (21 M€).

Results expected in

  • 2014 District modeling and simulation; Energy operation strategies for districts developed and data management of E+
  • 2015 Recommendation and new standards and systems interoperability; ICT soultions for E2+. Software interface developed and depurated; Demo sites strat up; Validation methodology
  • 2016 and beyond Final version of the solution (E+); Final version of the new business model for energy management at district level; Final recommendations and guidelines for energy urban planning;