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Ostritz „Energy-ecological model town“


Reorientation of a town

The town of Ostritz relies on the broad use of renewable energies. The entire town is fully supplied with ecologically generated energy. In addition, education is offered about the subject. All relevant local stakeholders have become involved in the process to develop the ecological model town.


Blick auf die Kloster WasserkraftanlageSource: Stadtverwaltung Ostritz

Ostritz is situated between Görlitz and Zittau in the "Three Country Triangle" on the German-Polish-Czech border. In 1990 it had around 4,000 inhabitants. As a result of the economic changes in the time after German Reunification, and due to the demographic changes, Ostritz has now shrunk to a population of around 2,700.

The town and its surrounding areas had a heavily industrialised character until 1989. Emissions from the nearby brown-coal power plants, the local textile industry and the lack of sewage plants severely damaged the environment and the region's reputation.

Since 1990, the town has been working to change the situation by implementing the standardised concept "Energieökologische Modellstadt Ostritz-St. Marienthal" (Energy eco-town Ostritz-St. Marienthal). The concept is based on using renewable energies for the local energy supply. These measures are combined with offers for related tourism and education.

Project description

Blick in den Lagerraum des BiomassekraftwerkesSource: BTU Cottbus

With the town's decision for an energy-related reorientation, a comprehensive change in the environmental situation was launched. The concept envisaged a gradual erection of plants for use as renewable energy supplies. This should act as an example for other towns and regions and demonstrate the possibilities of renewable energy use. The process was the result of the redevelopment of a sustained, ecological energy supply in the region.

In the first phase of the project, a biomass power station with a local heating network was built, with which 75% of the population could already be supplied with heat. The main energy sources are woodchip from residual and thinning wood material. In addition, local solar-energy systems for heating water were integrated into the heat generation.

A water turbine was installed in the historic sawmill of the St. Marienthal monastery. This and the erection of several wind turbines and various photovoltaic systems on the roofs of public and private buildings contribute to the town energy self-sufficiency. Today, the town generates four-times more electricity than it consumes.

In the second phase - from 2004 - the stakeholders concentrated on the overall, sustained ecological development of the town. For example, the local administration has created interesting education courses which not only attract expert members of the public. A conference centre for sharing knowledge in environmental and energy matters was built, for example.

Many small projects, such as the installation of a reed bed for wastewater treatment for an urban district, the use of rain water in public buildings or the creation of "Environmental recommendations" for the Ostritz town administration and the Catholic residential and nursing home "St. Antoni Stift" complete the overall concept.

In recent years, many sustainable projects have been realised, which not only strengthen the development of the town in terms of energy, but also from a social, economic and cultural perspective. The cultural path "Klosterstrasse" is a connection which links the town and the monastery. A permanent exhibition "Energie-Werk-Stad(t)t" has been created here, which provides insight into the interrelations between energy generation and recovery.

The development and implementation of the concept is supported by local stakeholders, such as the St. Marienthal Monastery and citizen groups, as well as by the local administration.

The town has been awarded many renowned environmental prizes for the overall concept and implementation.

Project chronology

1997Erection of a biomass heat and power plant on a former industrial wasteland
1997Installation of a solar heating and rain water treatment and photovoltaic system
1997/98Erection of four wind turbines
1999Completion of the permanent exhibition "ENERGIE-WERK-STAD(T)T"
2000Start of operation of a hydroelectric plant with a nominal output of 104 kW
2003Launch of an environmental management system in the International Conference Centre IBZ
2005-2008IBZ project "Prima Klima", tri-national education project with pupils, etc.
2005Start of the project "Umwelt baut Brücken" with school classes from Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary and Slovakia
2006Expansion of the wind farm to a total output up from 4 MW to 14 MW


  • Sustainable energy supply for the town and the region
  • Redevelopment and strengthening of a severely suffering environment
  • Resource-saving use of energy supplies and areas
  • Environmental education
  • Knowledge-sharing of experiences gained and passing-on of expertise to copiers

Types of measures

Ausstellung der Stadt Ostritz zum Thema EnergieSource: Stadtverwaltung Ostritz

  • Activation of the historic barrages on the River Neisse to generate electricity
  • Use of solar energy (photovoltaic, solar-heating)
  • Construction of a biomass heat and power plant and local heating network
  • Erection of a wind farm
  • Installation of a reed bed for wastewater treatment
  • Installation of rain water treatment systems in public buildings
  • Integration of environmentally relevant matters into education in the town's primary schools
  • Founding of the International Conference Centre St. Marienthal for knowledge sharing
  • Launch of environmental management for public buildings


Blick auf das neue Heizwerkgebäude in OstritzSource: Stadtverwaltung Ostritz

The innovative content lies in the grouping together of distinct measures for "converting" a local authority from the environmentally damaging industrial community into an exemplary eco-town. Based on the technologies available on the market and tested technical solutions, an ecologically friendly and economically sustainable energy supply has been created. Education courses based on this, exhibitions, workshops and the ecological orientation of the local primary school led to a growing dynamism for the sustained local development. The high level of commitment from the public must be stressed here as a factor in the success of this process.


Further information


  • Tat-Orte-Preis from the "Deutsche" Bundesstiftung Umwelt" (Germam Federal Foundation for the Environment)
  • German and European Solar Priz
  • Awarded the "Innovationspreis Weiterbildung des Freistaates Sachsen" (Saxony Education Innovation Prize) with the project "Prima Klima", 2002
  • Saxony's environmental prize for "Innovative, creative performance in environmental and nature conservency and environmental education" for the Förderverein Freie Grundschule Ostritz e.V. school, 2008
  • The town of Ostritz was represented as a global project at EXPO 2000 in Hanover with the project "Energieökologische Modellstadt Ostritz-St. Marienthal". This participation is considered one of the greatest "awards" and reognition for the project.

The projekt site ist to be found at postal code: 02899 - town: Ostritz - street: Markt 1.

Poject site on Google-Maps: Ostritz - Energieökologische Modellstadt

Last update: 10.01.2018

Additional Information


  • Stadtverwaltung Ostritz (project sponsor), Markt 1, 02899 Ostritz, Tel.: 035823-884-0, Fax: 035823-86584, Email:, Web:
  • Stiftung Internationales Begegnungszentrum St. Marienthal (Project realisation), St. Marienthal 10, 02899 Ostritz - St. Marienthal, Tel.: 035823-77-0, Fax: 035823-77-250, Email:, Web:
  • Ver- und Entsorgungs- Ostritz GmbH (VEGO), Mr Bungenstab (Director), Görlitzer Strasse 33, 02899 Ostritz, Tel.: 035823-86254, Fax: 035823-86294

Record inserted on 30.06.2009 by the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) within the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BBR).

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