Dresden aims to create a neighbourhood that is as energy self-sufficient as possible, becoming a role model in Europe on the path to climate neutrality.

Dresden, one of the four German H2020 Lighthouse Cities, wants to serve as an innovation hub for other cities. It plans to close the energy and material cycles by recovering energy from bio-waste and wastewater, increasing the use of RES, developing guidelines for sustainable construction, and decarbonising the transportation system.
What is special about Dresden is that it will create a PCED with virtual boundaries, consisting of two distinct locations (A, B) that link the two most common building types in Germany and Europe: high-rise apartment complexes (A) and detached multifamily compact buildings (B).

Actions in location A

The Jessener Straße district is located close to the city centre of Dresden and is characterized by a compact building construction of high-rise apartment buildings. The area consists of residential buildings (multi-family rental house), small business and commercial buildings, a kindergarten and 65 parking spaces.

High-efficient Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, and Domestic Hot Water

Decarbonisation and flexibilisation of district heating:

  • Decoupling a sub-network to regularly lower the branch temperature.
  • Legionella prevention through digitalisation of the nodes in combination with hydraulic balancing, filter systems, solar PV solutions, compensation and heating bars.
  • Implementation of a low-ex-strategy for the entire district heating.
  • Integration of heat pumps.
  • Smart and model predictive control of flow and return temperatures in house substations and district heating transfer stations, including monitoring pressure, temperature and volume flows.

Integrated Renewable Energy Sources (RES)

Local photovoltaic and tenant model – “Mieterstrom”:

  • Virtual summation of meters.
  • Tenant model (electricity supply from owner to tenant).


  • Expansion of charging infrastructure.
  • Pilot bi-directional charging.
  • Dynamic V2G charging tariffs.

Actions in location B

The Van-Gogh- Straße district is located on the outskirts of Dresden and is characterized by loose building development. The area has two-floor apartment buildings of an older design with very high energy consumption. The goal is to implement a self-sufficient and completely regenerative supply of heat and cold.

Envelope retrofitting to reduce buildings’ energy demand

  • Refurbishment solution for existing buildings based on building mass as thermal storage.
  • Life cycle-optimized new construction solutions.
  • Optimisation of the entire energy generation system.

Integrated Renewable Energy Sources (RES)

  • Maximisation of own electricity use through power-heat coupling and storage use.
  • Heat supply for the district through decentralized heat pumps and near-surface geothermal energy.
  • Full use of building roofs for PV power production.

Grid Management and energy control optimisation

  • Monitoring of building operation, operational optimization and proof of target achievement.


  • Development of the infrastructure for a sustainable mobility concept.

Measures for communication and user acceptance

  • Support for social housing.
  • Informing residents about planned measures and their implementation.


The Climate-Neutral Lab acts as a centre for experimentation and innovation for strengthening the PCED’s impact, enabling the active involvement of local stakeholders and residents as well as knowledge exchange with other cities.

The specific objectives that Dresden CN-Lab aims to achieve are:
– Co-developing feasible and economic PCED plans in Leuben and Pillnitz area
– Developing planning processes and solutions to establish positive energy districts with additional focus on energy autarchy in Pillnitz area
– Developing the pathway towards carbon neutral Dresden via integrated energy and climate protection plan and climate city contract with it stakeholder and investment plan
– Improving institutional capacities of the stakeholders, increasing awareness of the citizens, and developing mutual understanding and commitment.


If you are a local stakeholder and want to help us make Dresden climate neutral, fill in the form in German.


Dresden CN-Lab has identified ten groups of local stakeholders to be included in the participatory process of the NEUTRALPATH project.