Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability

The Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability studies the future as an independent non-profit research institute and researches what comes (innovation) and what stays (sustainability).

Borderstep is active in the field of applied innovation and entrepreneurship research. We focus on developing problem solutions and action strategies for a sustainable economy.

Short description of the project contribution

Berlin city district concepts – prototypes of the Smart City

The Borderstep Institute coordinates the city district concept and Smart City workstream. In two districts of Berlin, Borderstep and several partners are specifically testing how a more flexible, current-controlled operating mode of residential quarters can be achieved. The technologies used include buffer storage, thermal storage in building mass, Power-to-Heat aggregates, a modular cogeneration unit and smart building techniques. This should create flexibility to better react to the challenges of the growing generation of electricity from renewable sources.

Using external signals (market / grid), suitable business and billing models (for the energy and housing industry) are developed and tested for flexible energy supply in city districts and software applications for energy customers. Additionally, the results of the flexibilisation measures and processes should be evaluated through a comparison with other districts and properties, and the transferability to the building sector and the potential for the energy transition should both be analysed.

WindNODE Challenge – the energy transition as a joint project

The Borderstep Institute also supports the participation and dissemination workstream by organising idea contests around the energy transition for different target groups, e.g. companies, craftsmen, scientists and interested citizens. The workstream takes advantage of the location at the heart of ‘German start-up capital’ Berlin and seeks to create new networks where creative individuals from the start-up scene and long-established players put their heads together and consider the innovation questions put forward by the ‘smart energy system of the future’.

Furthermore, new business models are sounded out through analysis and assessment of various incubator concepts for cooperation of start-ups with ESPs and the industry. To this end, the Borderstep Institute and Berlin Partner are conducting a joint study.


8: City district concepts and Smart City

  • 8.2: Model region Berlin / Prenzlauer Berg district
  • 8.4: Comparison and transfer of city district concepts

9: Participation and dissemination

  • 9.3: WindNODE Challenge - the energy transition as a joint project

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