Living Lab. NRW – Research, education, outreach
In 2022, the Living Lab. NRW will be founded in the midst of the heart of Wuppertal. It is the central research and educational institution of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (abbreviated NRW) for climate-neutral building and sustainable living in the city of the future.
This project’s aim is to promote research and education in the field of sustainable and climate-neutral building and energy-efficient supply through a network in NRW and Germany. This broad network will connect doctoral students from universities in the state of NRW. The Living Lab. NRW will also create a practice-oriented place of learning for pupils, trainees and students from NRW cities such as Wuppertal and beyond.
Furthermore, the Living Lab. NRW is a place where research results are vividly communicated to the general public and embedded in social discourse. Guided tours of the House Demonstration Units (abbreviated HDUs), exhibitions and thematic events are offered regularly.
House Demonstration Units
In 2022, the 18 competing teams of the Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 (abbreviated SDE 21/22) competition will build their HDUs on the Solar Campus, on the ‘Nordbahntrasse’ opposite of ‘Mirker Bahnhof’. At the event’s finale from 10th to 26th June 2022, the teams will present their HDUs to the public.
In January 2021, a jury of experts selected eight of these HDUs to remain in the Living Lab. NRW. The jury’s goal was to find innovative concepts that support diversity in research and teaching and thus contribute to a liveable, climate-neutral city.
These sustainable and architecturally appealing buildings will remain on site after SDE 21/22. From late summer 2022, they will be transferred to the Living Lab. NRW.
Participating teams are:
House Demonstration Units
The Living Lab. NRW community is being created through the networking of various actors from North Rhine-Westphalia and Europe. This community will conduct research in the jointly developed real laboratory and promote dialogue between science and professional practice.
“The Living Lab. NRW is an institution exploring how we build, live and reside in a climate-friendly way in the future. I am pleased that Wuppertal is hosting this place of exchange for many stakeholders shaping and further developing the urban energy transition. I invite scholars, researchers and institution to make use of the Living Lab. NRW as a platform to advance knowledge, pathways and discourse for a climate-neutral future.”
● Prof. Dr Andreas Pinkwart, Minister of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (abbreviated MWIDE) © MWIDE NRW | F. Wiedemeier
With the Living Lab. NRW, North Rhine-Westphalia will be established internationally as a research location for sustainable building and living. The Living Lab. NRW offers the opportunity to carry out measurements and analyses in the demonstration buildings over a longer period of time under real-life laboratory conditions, which are relevant for both research and academic teaching.
Students and doctoral candidates are supported through the founding and supervision of a research college. The MWIDE is funding a total of five doctoral positions in the project, which will focus on research on the demonstrators. In autumn 2021, there will be a call for applications for doctoral students from universities in NRW.
The Living Lab. NRW strengthens the expertise and training of young people in the field of energy-efficient construction. Cooperation in the area of school and university education as well as craft training will create a teaching, learning and event venue for pupils, students and trainees where the topics of the future will become tangible. On-site lectures and seminars from partner universities will actively integrate the Living Lab. NRW.
At the Living Lab. NRW, the general public is educated in the importance of climate-neutral housing and living in the city and practical ideas for implementation. At each of the eight sustainable, energy-efficient and architecturally appealing demonstration objects, an exhibition will put emphasis on the guiding ideas and innovation, thus making them tangible. In addition, there will be further theme-related exhibitions on the large 7000m² site. Expert lectures, conferences and panel discussions, which will be organised together with the Living Lab. NRW community, are also part of its programme.
Funding & implementation
The project is funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia (MWIDE) for at least three years. Project manager is Dr-Ing. Katharina Simon, curator and co-leader is Dr Daniel Lorberg. The project is realized in scientific cooperation with Prof. Dr-Ing. Karsten Voss, Chair of Building Physics and Technical Services at the University of Wuppertal. The heat supply for the Living Lab. NRW will be planned and executed together with the Wuppertaler Stadtwerke. ●