Seestadt Aspern, literally the seaside city at Aspern, is home to Smart City Wien’s large-scale experiments. The planned community of 20,000 people in the northeast corner of Vienna will be completed in 2028. Much like Masdar City, Aspern aims to act as a “living laboratory” to prove various new technologies, from smart electric meters to entire smart energy grids. Aspern Smart City Research (ASCR), the company in charge of research in Aspern, sorts its projects into four “Smart” areas: Building, Grid, User, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Smart Building

Smart Building
The “Smart” residential building in Aspern. Credit: Wien3420, Amelie Chapalain

Three buildings make up this project: a residential building with 213 apartments, a school building, and a student home. They are all equipped with various energy, heat, and water technologies, including photovoltaic panels, heat pumps, and top-of-the-line energy storage. All of this is monitored by a Building Energy Management System (BEMS), which tracks energy consumption on a building level and allows them to flexibly act as both consumers and producers of electricity.

Smart Grid

Every piece of the energy ecosystem in Aspern is connected to a cutting-edge low-voltage smart grid, designed by Siemens. Traditional energy distribution is one way, unresponsive, and centralized, while a smart grid aims to be flexible, active, bidirectional, and spread throughout the city. To achieve this goal, ASCR has numerous sensors, such as smart meters and power quality meters, monitoring energy flow. Part of the program is determining the minimum number of these sensors to develop a detailed model to build a smart grid on. Using this data, ASCR aims to eventually actively adjust the grid to best serve the community at any time.

Smart User

ASCR’s Smart Home Control App. Credit: Aspern Smart City Research

ASCR also recognizes the importance of people in a smart city. The Smart User program involves individual level data: 111 households have agreed to have their energy consumption and air control system data collected for research. They also have access to a Smart Home Control app, which gives them access to this data and control of home automation features. Users are also surveyed on their usage and enjoyment of various projects in Aspern.

Smart ICT

All of the sensors throughout Aspern are tied together in an integrated ICT system. Data comes from buildings, the grid, and external sources, such as weather reports and surveys. This data is reported, analyzed, and used to develop models and improve the entire city. ASCR uses machine learning systems and other methods of dealing with large amounts of data to produce recommendations. They are also experimenting to find the best data collection intervals and other tweaks to maximize efficiency.

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