Open data-based planning tools for cross-sectoral energy supply in the district by means of open and integrated ICT ecosystems

The Open District Hub (ODH) initiative helps to develop energy-efficient residential districts using locally generated, renewable energy and smart systems. The energy transition is linking the infrastructure of electricity and heating. For sector coupling in buildings and districts to succeed, comprehensive models and modern tools are needed for the planning and operation of corresponding technical systems. The "ODH@Jülich" project, which has now been launched, will create these software tools.

Project objectives & focus

The exchange of energy between sectors – such as electricity, mobility and heat – offers many opportunities for the sustainable, CO2 transformation of the energy system. Renewable electricity, for example, could supply those sectors that today primarily use fossil fuels – above all heat generation in districts. There are many successful examples of this, which – adapted locally – should now be applied as intelligent, holistic district concepts. However, linking the sectors creates a complex system with strong interaction and feedback.

The "ODH@Jülich" project develops a planning and simulation tool for this system that is open to all users and integrates all sectors. It thus lays the foundation for a comprehensive cross-sector energy supply in urban districts as well as their (partially) automated planning and operation management process. The "ODH@Jülich" project is working on scientifically sound, data-based methods to develop a digital planning and simulation tool for energy supply in districts. Currently, there is no planning tool that can represent both the technological diversity and the different planning depths. The existing models also lack a building-specific and cross-sectoral view. The results of this project will be open access whenever possible, so that the results will be available to a wide circle of interested stakeholders and can be incorporated into the planning of many future districts.

"ODH@Jülich" is part of the Open District Hub association, where relevant companies and research institutes are organized, and knowledge as well as concepts are exchanged. The association promotes fully integrated and automated sector coupling. It initiates and accompanies pilot districts in new and existing buildings. It enables innovative business models that contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions. Existing stand-alone solutions are linked in an economically sensible way to create an open and scalable system solution along the value chain. Together, its members from business and science are creating a standard for integrating local and renewable energies into the planning, new construction, conversion, regulation and management of districts.


  • Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT 
  • Fraunhofer Research Institution for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Systems IEG (Coordinator) 
  • Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB 
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE 
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT 
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI