30 Pilot-Networks

Development of network management instruments and computer-assisted calculation tools to determine energy saving potentials and their economic efficiency, and the initiation and evaluation of 30 pilot networks.


Federal Minister for the Environment about Fraunhofer ISI

Duration January 2018 – November 2018


30 pilot networks for energy efficiency and climate protection in Germany – doubling energy technology progress in medium-sized enterprises.

30 pilot networks, with approximately 400 companies, were supported with up to one third of their costs for moderation, initial consultation and monitoring.

The CO2 emissions of German industry presently amount to around 350 million tons, including indirect emissions from power production. There is thus a substantial reduction potential through more efficient handling of energy and substitution for currently utilised energy sources. In German industry, energy efficiency increased on average by approximately one percent per year from 1998 to 2008. In medium-sized enterprises, this ‘autonomous progress’ should be doubled via learning enterprise networks, a pioneering innovation in the area of industry self-organisation.

According to observations in Switzerland since the end of the 1980s, and in approximately 20 energy efficiency and climate protection networks established in Germany since 2002, energy efficiency in the 10 to 15 companies participating in each network increased by a factor of two to three times the industry average. The secrets of success for the learning energy efficiency networks are a professionally moderated, regular exchange of experiences among those responsible for energy in the participating companies, an individual initial consultation for each company involved, and IT-based investment calculation tools for the consulting engineers. As a result, the transaction costs of the companies are considerably reduced, profitable energy cost reduction measures are identified, and at the same time the performance and productivity of the consultations are increased.

The goal of the project supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) was to spread existing know-how regarding this innovative climate policy instrument rapidly throughout the whole of Germany. For this purpose three partners of the project consortium supported interested network initiators (e.g. chambers of industry and commerce, economic platforms, energy agencies and energy suppliers) in the establishment and operation of 30 pilot networks. An existing network management system (Learning Energy Efficiency Networks, LEEN), which was further developed during the project, serves to assure a minimum quality of network establishment and operation. Interested moderators and consulting engineers are trained in the professional use of this network management system by LEEN GmbH; following the successful completion of training they receive certification, which is a prerequisite for working with the 30 supported networks.

Tasks of IREES

  • The tasks of IREES in this project were the initiation and support of 10 pilot networks, further development of the LEEN management system comprising the complete procedure for the networks and of monitoring, the training of consulting engineers and moderators for this work, and part of the accompanying scientific research (e.g. regarding the transaction costs for the implementation of efficiency measures within the framework of the network).

    In addition, three partners of the consortium developed a large number of electronic investment calculation tools for energy efficiency investments and investment opportunities in renewable energy. Here IREES had the task of carrying out practical tests and supporting tool development, including a common user interface. These tools are available to every consulting engineer upon payment of a nominal fee.

    The progress of the project was reported via the Internet, a semi-annual newsletter and annual and regional conferences.

Project partner

  • Fraunhofer ISI (lead)

  • Modell Hohenlohe e. V

  • Eproplan GmbH

  • ÖKOTEC Energiemanagement GmbH


Catrice Christ
Catrice Christ