A spotlight on the energy transition: Energy Leaders from Upper Austria

This website is a showcase for the energy transition in Upper Austria. It presents successful projects and programmes that contribute to Upper Austria's leading role in the energy transition.

It features "Energy Leaders"- companies, municipalities and initiatives from Upper Austria that are pioneers of the energy transition. Many of these shining examples were awarded the "Energie Star", the Upper Austrian prize for sustainable energy projects. Some are technology leaders in their field. Successful regional programmes and their impacts are also described. These projects and programmes show how energy efficiency, renewables and innovative energy technologies contribute to climate protection, increased quality of life and economic competitiveness.

Be inspired and motivated by our Energy Leaders! By joining forces, we will succeed the energy transition!

Information on the energy strategy of the region of Upper Austria and its implementation can be found here.

For information on the OÖ Energiesparverband, the energy agency of the region of Upper Austria and host of this website, please visit the website here.

Publication: Energy Transition Leaders Upper Austria

Projects and programme

Municipality of Braunau: together for a sustainable energy future

Braunau im Innviertel, an Upper Austrian municipality with around 17,000 inhabitants, started its energy transition in the year 2000 with the commissioning of Europe's largest cross-border geothermal project "Braunau-Simbach". In 2014, the municipality drew up a comprehensive energy strategy with the aim of progressively switching to renewable energy and reducing its overall energy consumption. Since then, a range of projects were implemented. Step-by-step, municipal buildings were converted to renewables (geothermal district heating, biomass, solar): 11 PV systems were installed on public buildings, 4 electric vehicles were added to the municipal fleet, and the street lighting was refurbished to environment-friendly LEDs.

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KWG: 100 years – 100 roofs

KWG is a local renewable electricity company in Schwanenstadt, Upper Austria. It is a cooperative with over 1,000 members and generates 100 % renewable electricity for the area. As part of its "100 years – 100 roofs" programme, KWG is installing PV systems on unused roof surfaces. Financing is done through an open public participation model with attractive repayment conditions.

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BRG Traun: Climate protection – starting with ourselves!

BRG Traun is a secondary school in Traun, Upper Austria, with around 800 students and over 90 teachers. In the 2019-2020 school year, it launched the "Climate protection – starting with ourselves" project. Adopting a comprehensive approach, several ideas were brought to life and an array of smaller and larger measures were implemented. So far, the range of activities has included a climate hike day, the election of "energy and climate coordinators" in each class, CO2 and noise monitors for the classrooms, a campaign to encourage cycling, participating in the physics Olympics and more. Through this project, students, teachers and parents work together on increasing their own environmental awareness.

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Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf: 134 million Euro investment for "Future Energy Plant"

The Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf paper mill is one of Smurfit Kappa Group's largest locations in Europe with around 360 employees. Its core business is producing paper for the manufacturing of corrugated cardboard packaging (average production capacity: 450,000 tonnes/year). The mill has an export share of around 90% within a radius of 600 km.

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Lighting contracting for companies - New lighting with innovative financing

An increasing number of companies are interested in converting their lighting systems to modern LEDs to benefit from lower operating and maintenance costs as well as offer better lighting for employees. With the financing and operating model of "energy contracting", companies can often implement such projects without using own capital. A specialised contractor (ESCO) implements the project and the investment is financed by the savings. In Upper Austria, the regional Energy Contracting Programme (ECP) enables and supports this type of refurbishment project. The regional energy agency of Upper Austria, OÖ Energiesparverband, manages this programme and supports companies in the project implementation.

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Anton Bruckner Private University Linz: A region-owned passive building for music, drama and dance

The passive house building of the Anton Bruckner Private University for Music, Drama and Dance is characterised by modern architecture, a sophisticated acoustic concept, highest energy efficiency standards, and innovative building technologies. It offers optimal conditions for high-level training of around 850 students. In this new building, owned and built by the region of Upper Austria at the foot of the Pöstlingberg in Linz, all departments of the university are now united under one roof and have 25 % more space than before. The construction process was managed by the regional building department.

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Megatrend: Large-scale PV for companies 96 systems installed with regional support

Falling prices for photovoltaic (PV) systems and increasing interest in the energy transition have resulted in ever more companies installing PV systems. PV is an important element in decarbonising companies and achieving a fully renewable energy supply.

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First PV community in Upper Austria

PV is on the rise in Upper Austria and has conquered many roofs of single-family houses, public buildings and companies. However, in the past, implementing PV systems in multi-family buildings was challenging: PV electricity could only be used for the "common areas" (ex: stairwell lighting, elevator), not in the apartments themselves. Since 2018, a change in the law has given residents the opportunity to own and use PV electricity on a larger scale together and optimise their selfconsumption as part of a "PV community". This was the first step towards renewable energy communities.

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Vorchdorf's energy transition: together as community

The energy group of the municipality of Vorchdorf is successfully turning the energy transition from theory into practice. Many projects have already been implemented in this Upper Austrian municipality of around 7,000 inhabitants. The energy group develops each project upon three key pillars: energy savings, replacing fossil fuels with renewables and community involvement. Thanks to well-designed projects, the municipality saves each year the average annual energy demand of 150 people and generates an amount of clean energy equal to the annual heating oil demand of 785 homes!

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Upper Austria – Leader in biomass heating "Carrots, sticks and tambourines" for bioenergy

Upper Austria, one of Austria’s 9 regions with a population of 1.5 million, holds a leading position in biomass heating: 15 % of primary energy comes from sustainable biomass, 35 % of all dwellings are heated with clean biomass and there are over 6,000 jobs in the biomass heating industry. The region is home to leading biomass boiler companies. More than 25 % of all modern small-scale biomass boilers installed in the EU are manufactured by Upper Austrian companies. The manufacturers cooperate in the Cleantech-Cluster Energy, managed by the regional energy agency, OÖ Energiesparverband (ESV).

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Upper Austria: Leading the industrial energy transition

Upper Austria is the industrial heart of Austria and generates 25 % of the country’s industrial exports. Since manufacturing is responsible for 44 % of the total energy consumption, its decarbonisation is critical for the energy transition. Already 2.3 billion Euro per year are invested in the energy transition, of which 30 % are spent on energy efficiency measures in industry.

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Fronius: Energy pioneers by conviction

"24 hours of sun" is Fronius’ vision for a fossil-free energy future. The family-owned Upper Austrian company develops, manufactures and markets solar and battery technologies for the energy transition. Fronius is also successfully implementing the energy transition in its own manufacturing and logistics: 63% of its energy consumption is supplied by renewables. The Austrian locations are largely heated and cooled CO2-free and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation were reduced by 5% in 2019 (despite a 5% increase in transported weight).

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Closing the gap – turning strategies into projects in municipalities

The "Gemeinde-Energie-Programm" (GEP) is one of Upper Austria’s energy programmes for municipalities. Managed by the OÖ Energiesparverband (ESV), the regional energy agency, it boosts the implementation of local energy action plans by activating, motivating and providing technical support for concrete energy efficiency and renewable energy investments. A facilitation service with proactive contact with municipalities, onsite energy advice and individualised guidance in project planning are at its very core.

Programme description

Energie AG PV-Contracting: A successful model for solar energy for companies

The financing and operation model of energy supply contracting makes it possible for companies to use solar power without having to take on the investment or risk. The Energie AG successfully offers this innovative business model, for which it received the Upper Austrian award for sustainable energy projects (the "Energiestar") from the regional government and the OÖ Energiesparverband, the regional energy agency.

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Starlim: A world leader in efficient injection moulding

By pairing with Starlim, the traditional toolmaking company Sterner developed into the world’s largest processor of liquid silicone. The company now manufactures 5,000 different silicone products at three locations in the Wels region. Most of these products go unnoticed in our daily lives. They are used, for example, as seals in cars, as dampers in kitchen drawers or in the form of keyboard mats. Each year, over 11 billion silicone parts make their way from the headquarters in Marchtrenk to industrial customers in Europe, America and Asia.

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Resch&Frisch – successful through sustainability & efficiency

At Resch&Frisch, sustainability and profitability are mutually dependent, not contradictory. The well-known company from Wels has shown through a mix of measures how entrepreneurial success and innovation go hand in hand with resource and energy efficiency.

Project description


Lighting up Upper Austrian municipalities: 34 new contracting projects in 2 years

Benefiting from modern and efficient street lighting as well as guaranteed annual electricity and maintenance cost savings despite a tight municipal budget? Yes, it is possible, as shown by the 34 street lighting contracting projects that have been successfully implemented in Upper Austria in the past two years alone.

Programme description

BMW engine plant in Steyr: energy efficiency is imperative

Sustainability is part of the BMW Group's business model. A clear commitment to sustainability has long been anchored in the company’s corporate strategy. Group-wide, measurable targets across all corporate levels ensure that decision-making processes consider both economic and environmental factors. For the BMW Group Plant Steyr – BMW’s largest engine plant worldwide – this primarily means goals for reducing product-specific energy consumption. The staff members follow the motto "Only known problems can be solved". Detailed energy monitoring lays the foundation for effective and extensive efficiency measures. These are accompanied with investments in renewables, innovative technologies, and employee training and engagement programmes.

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Renovation of the primary school in Reichenau A tailor-made suit out of wood!

Built in the 1970s, the primary school in Reichenau im Mühlkreis was bursting at the seams. Originally planned as a primary school, the building was also being used as an after-school care service and nursery school. The challenge was retrofitting and expanding the building to achieve a modern teaching environment, a barrier-free access and bringing it up-to-date thermally and technically – and doing this in an environment-friendly manner while complying with the cost requirements of the region of Upper Austria! The project was awarded the Energiestar, the Upper Austrian prize for sustainable energy projects, by the regional government and the OÖ Energiesparverband (the regional energy agency).

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PV goes to school

For more than 55,000 Upper Austrian children in 362 primary and secondary schools and 188 nursery schools, solar energy and energy efficiency have become part of daily life. The innovative and comprehensive programme "PV goes to school", developed and run by the regional energy agency OÖ Energiesparverband (ESV), offered a 75 % subsidy for the installation of a 3-kWp PV system, a toolbox of novel educational material on renewable energy, and a 1-day training for teachers on how to integrate these topics in their curriculum. 40 % of all Upper Austrian primary and secondary schools (children aged between 6 and 15) and 25 % of all nursery schools participated in the programme. Overall, 2 MW PV were installed.

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KEBA efficiency by innovation

"Automation by innovation" is KEBA’s motto. The Linz-based company is convinced that energy efficiency and innovation go hand in hand. For product development, KEBA’s experts monitor industrial trends, develop top-quality solutions and are always on the lookout for opportunities for improvement. The company demonstrates the same high level of innovation in its own building and production technologies though continuous optimisation and the most modern technologies. The Facility Management is constantly finding new ways to further increase energy efficiency – which also increases competitiveness, working conditions and motivation.

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Sparkasse OÖ: Our employees are our greatest capital for energy efficiency!

"How can we reach our colleagues?" This question was the first step in launching the Sparkasse Oberösterreich’s internal energy-efficiency campaign. The goal: increasing employees’ enthusiasm for energy efficiency and encourage conscious energy-efficient behaviours. The submission of more than 100 ideas for energy-saving measures and almost 30% electricity savings in the central administrative building in Linz (sBC) clearly show the success of the initiative.

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Goodbye oil, hello renewables! How Upper Austria is eliminating oil heating

Upper Austria is a leading region for the energy transition and climate protection. Energy efficiency and renewables have long been a top priority and significant progress has already been made. Greenhouse gas emissions in the buildings sector were reduced by 32 % in the past 10 years and more than 60 % of all space heating already comes from renewables.

Programme description

TIGER IS GREEN – and committed to energy efficiency!

Producing more with less energy - this is the motto at TIGER Coatings, a manufacturer of high-quality, innovative coating systems. To achieve this, the family-owned company headquartered in Wels, Austria, uses established measures like smart LED lighting systems and efficient circulator pumps. It also undertakes ambitious projects, such as the "Gemba Support Centre". This new award-winning office building is heated with waste heat from the production process and cooled with groundwater. An intelligent control system ensures an optimal indoor climate.

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Weber Hydraulik does it all: biomass, solar energy & energy efficiency

Thanks to a diverse mix of measures, Weber Hydraulik has its energy consumption under control despite increasing production. Waste heat recovery, concrete core activation, innovative lighting technology and biomass heating: energy efficiency is a top priority for the metal processing company. Weber Hydraulik is convinced that innovative energy technologies bring more than "just" low operating costs.

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The International Clean Energy Challenge: bright young minds tackle the energy transition

A cutting-edge event, 64 young professionals from around the world, 11 partner companies, 5 days in Upper Austria, 1 mission: tackling real-life challenges for the energy transition!

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Peneder: higher productivity and efficiency for our customers

Peneder is a specialist in smart industrial and commercial buildings for new build, expansion and modernisation. Even in the most complex projects, it increases its clients’ energy efficiency as well as productivity with smart building technologies and automation. Through its tailored energy concepts, energy costs can be reduced by over 30 %. Peneder also sets standards in its own company buildings: The modern headquarters in Atzbach scores high in functionality and efficiency as well as being heated and cooled in an environmentally-friendly manner – with regional biomass.

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ÖkoFEN: Pioneer in renewable heat and clean mobility

Generating clean, renewable heat in a smart, user-friendly and affordable manner – this is ÖkoFEN’s mission. Technological leadership is at the core of the company’s values. The boiler manufacturer from Niederkappel/Austria has specialised in pellets, a local fuel that allows automated and easy to use renewable heat supply. ÖkoFEN also focuses on renewable electricity and green mobility in its own activities. The company’s Clean Mobility Programme has shown that innovative financing models can make e-mobility affordable for many people. Around a quarter of the employees at the European headquarters are now proud drivers of electric cars.

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bellaflora: a green oasis for sustainability

bellaflora is an Austrian garden centre chain with 27 locations. It primarily offers plants for hobby gardens, balconies and indoor living spaces as well as a wide range of gardening products. As the "green number 1" (the company slogan), bellaflora is strongly committed to sustainability, actively avoids environmentally and climate damaging products and sets itself clear goals to reduce its own ecological footprint.

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Obermayr: Innovators in sustainable timber construction!

A wood-processing company constructing its own building out of wood is hardly worth mentioning. However, Obermayr's production hall sets new standards for energy technology and design. In addition to offering high energy efficiency, low operating costs and an optimal work environment, it attracts considerable attention to the innovative company.

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Rexel Austria: Success through customer proximity, innovation and sustainability

The Rexel Group is a global electrical wholesaler that offers a comprehensive range of products for household, commercial and industrial customers. Rexel Austria designs solutions and services for new build, retrofit and maintenance in the fields of automation, electrical, lighting, network and security technologies, energy efficiency and energy management. Sustainable development and environmental responsibility are strongly embedded in the company's corporate strategy.

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