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Challenge / Goal

The challenge was to determine which technologies and which renewable energy sources would be best suited to provide for the future energy demands of the site. Through the site’s proximity to the river Aare, the suitability of a low-temperature thermal network supplied by groundwater and/or river water was of central interest. The seasonal constraints on groundwater and river water use, to ensure a sustainable use of these resources, needed to be accounted for.


For the creation of the energy model, the site of Insel-Holligen was divided into 6 areas. Each of these areas was modeled as a separate energy hub (or energy subsystem). In the model, they were linked to each other via the existing and candidate infrastructure (in this case the low temperature network). The demand, possible energy sources and energy technologies, were provided by the energy planners through a set of inputs. These included for each hub: the heating and cooling energy demand profiles at different temperature levels and a set of candidate energy supply technologies.

Using Sympheny's algorithms, a menu of optimal energy supply solutions for the site was identified, ranging from a cost-minimising solution to a CO2-emissions minimising solution. These solutions are combinations of supply technology candidates and thermal network connections offering the best balance of economic and environmental performance (solutions on the pareto front). Besides finding the optimal energy systems’ set, Sympheny provided the planners with optimal sizing and locations of conversion and thermal network components to be installed, through the algorithm’s hourly energy balance resolution.


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Time period

Planning time: 6 months to 1 year


Sympheny; EnergieWasser Bern (ewb); Eicher+Pauli

Service providers

Sympheny; EnergieWasser Bern (ewb); Eicher+Pauli

End users

Municipality of Bern

    Main benefits

  • Reducing operation costs

  • Improving energy supply efficiency

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