22 October 2018

Heat supply for Baden without gas and oil - is that possible?

1st Design Thinking Process in Baden: How does the systematic phase-out of fossil fuel based heating in public buildings, single-family homes, rental apartments and companies succeed? On 18 and 19 October, 24 selected participants dealt with this question during a DesignThinking Workshop in Baden.

©Energiereferat Baden G.Koch

©Energiereferat Baden G.Koch

The challenge and central question is: How will Baden get rid of fossil heating systems by the year 2050? Heating without gas and oil is one of the central challenges if we want to slow down climate change and implement the energy transition. This was also agreed by the participants of the workshop. But how could that succeed? Gerfried Koch, head of the energy department Baden and co-initiator of this process: "We thought and played through a difficult topic in a very unusual way. And in the process, new ideas and suggestions have emerged from citizens of Baden and invited experts. We will continue to work on these valuable inputs in order to realize the energy transition in Baden".

In the climate and energy model region Baden (KEM Baden) a design thinking process was used for the first time to find solutions to this difficult question. As a cooperation partner of IIASA and the Climate and Energy Fund, the city of Baden was initiating this two-day workshop to find ways for the city and its inhabitants to successfully implement the energy transition.

The workshop included suburban interviews with residents and owners of single-family homes, rental apartments, businesses and public buildings. Now there are many ideas and implementation suggestions at the table. Some results exemplified: Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) still need special advice and support for the corporate energy transition; an energy policy based on voluntariness will not be enough; it takes courageous intervention measures; single-family home owners need a complete package from independent advice to technical implementation without fossil fuels; Baden Energy Transition Award to call good projects before the curtain.

Design Thinking is a creative and at the same time systematic way in which several teams develop suggestions or work on the solution of complex questions. And with quite unusual methods: Ideas and solutions have been -for example- built with Lego. For many participants, it has been a while since they built their ideas with Lego building blocks. Design Thinking brings a deep and comprehensive understanding of problems, enabling ideas and solutions that go beyond conventional thinking. For the process in Baden, the renowned Design Thinking coach Klaus Weissmann was present.

The principle is: DO! According to the motto: "Do not speak, show me!", Simple functional models emerge in a short time. Affected parties play an active role in the development of proposals.

The Design Thinking process is embedded in RISK’s coDesign research project (funded by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund) and is being tested and implemented in the two climate model regions Baden and Freistadt. Expanding experiences from Baden and Freistadt on the 91 climate model regions in Austria is planned.

©Energiereferat Baden G.Koch

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Last edited: 29 October 2018


Junko Mochizuki

Senior Research Scholar Water Security Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

Thomas Schinko

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar Equity and Justice Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

Jenan Irshaid

Researcher Equity and Justice Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

Researcher Water Security Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

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