> Innovation

What is “smart” about the new Špitálka district? How is the life in an innovative city quarter going to look like? In the page about innovations, you´ll find 7 categories presenting 20 smart solutions – ENERGY, TRANSPORTATION, PUBLIC SPACE AND GREENERY, PEOPLE AND THE COMMUNITY, DATA AND COMMUNICATION, SMART BUILDINGS and WASTE. The list of individual ideas for the smart district is an outcome of the initial research done by the research institutes from Brno, and some solutions are also inspired by the lighthouse cities of the RUGGEDISED project and other places around the Europe. The project is still in the process, therefore the final selection of the solutions to be implemented will crystallize throughout the time. A detailed description of the smart district design is part of the so-called White Book of the Špitálka smart district project.

We´re still looking for the ideas – if you´d like to get involved, we´ll be happy to if you share your thoughts with us! 

To minimise the negative environmental impact of the project, we have to increase the efficiency and decrease the demand for the energy resources. In the “Energy” section, you´ll explore the smart solutions concerning both the primary sources of the energy, as well as operational and management measures. The chapters reveal how the office and residential buildings can contribute to each other, where can we sustainably source and store the heat and electric energy, and how can smart systems increase the climate comfort of the inner spaces and at the same time lower the energy consumption. 

A smart city is a city for inhabitants, not for the cars, therefore walking and cycling are the preferred means of transport. The proximity to the centre brings great opportunity of creating a 15-minute city – where all the facilities of everyday life are reachable within 15-minute walkable distance. The smart solutions in transportation bring better organisation of the traffic in the area and efficiency in usage of parking spots in favour of keeping the maximum of public space for the inhabitants of Brno. 

Nature and the city often stand as antagonists, however, there is a large space for implementing  natural processes into the fabric of a city. The proactive approach towards the environment not only consists of energy and water saving measures, but also of applying the physical, tactile green solutions in public spaces, making Špitálka a qualitative and enjoyable environment to stay in.  

Even though RE:Špitálka will largely influence the demographics and social mix in the area and bring new inhabitants, it aims to be still a space for everyone without a difference, thus following the diverse street life of the whole transforming district. Communal approach to the project will help to overcome a gap between different social groups by the common activities in urban gardens, workshops, or even right in the houses with mixed typologies and ownership models. 

Contemporary housing is dependent on various technologies and large energetic input. Refining of the technologies and active smart systems together with the clever passive solutions create a right cocktail for lowering the environmental impact of the housing to the minimum. Data systems, real time monitoring, energy effective building constructions and smart management of the energetic flows are only few cherries from the complex tree of the smart city. Current situation in the energetic and material market, geopolitical instability and, mostly, the accelerating climate change faces us with the great challenges for the cities of the future, and Špitálka wants to be a pioneer in this process. 

Re:Špitálka wants to support all major European trends concerning waste management. This is mainly related to the reduction of waste production (the ZERO Waste concept, the shared economy vision), sustainable waste management (waste management hierarchy) and the efficient collection and production of the secondary recycled materials. 

The development of an intelligent urban infrastructure is a never-ending process. The basis for operation of a smart city a robust and scalable infrastructure of information and communication technologies (ICT) that allows not only interpretation and collection of large amounts of data, but also management of the systems implemented in the buildings, administrative work for the municipality and participation and user involvement into the system.  The complementary challenges will be ensuring the stability and security of the ICT system.


“Evolution instead of destruction” – the motto of the project concludes the approach towards the industrial heritage of the area. Reusing the maximum of the constructions preserves specific genius loci of the area and together with using maximum of recycled and recyclable materials, the project aims to diminish it´s environmental impact to a minimum. 

We understand the meaning of the existing buildings on 2 levels – as a memory and a symbol of the industrial history of the place, and as a built matter waiting to be reappropriated and transformed. Adaptation of the 3 iconic buildings in the area therefore has a big importance in evolving the specific genius loci of the area, as well as saving big amounts of CO2 emissions by reusing the existing building structures instead of building the new ones. 

The newly in-built materials are required to be easily recyclable or decomposable – therefore it is preferred to work with natural materials and demountable material compositions (e.g. prefer curtain wall façade instead of solid wall with contact insulation system). 



Building industry is one of the key emitters of greenhouse gases, with huge secondary environmental impact coming from the enormous energy demand for production of the materials, and the direct negative aspects of enlarging the built surface of the land. 

The key rule is to work with the local materials, imported from less than 800 km distance. As much amount of material as possible should be recycled – for example use re-concrete (concrete made with the aggregate from the building waste), recycled gravel and stone, thermal insulations made of recycled materials etc… Newly produced materials should be certified for a sustainable production (e. g. timber coming from a sustainable forest management) and easily recyclable or decomposable – therefore it is preferred to work with demountable material compositions (e.g. prefer curtain wall façade instead of solid wall with contact insulation system). 


The area should be affordable and appropriate for different social and age groups. This overlaying condition applies to all the different aspect of preparation of the project – creating a business model which includes the units with regulated rent, proposing a public space with mixed activities or making the whole program barrier free. 

This will be reached by keeping a certain percentage of all the live & work units in the city ownership, to provide housing with regulated rent. The new permanent inhabitants and workers will bring the social balance to the neighbourhood, and the active ground floor with diverse activities including the social services should increase the safety of the neighbourhood. The public space will be variable and open for everyone, providing a freedom for the activities in the streets, which will be supplemented by the sports and leisure facilities in the roofscape. The communal gardens on the rooftop have the potential to become a meeting point for the neighbours. 

The whole programme will be barrier-free, including the rooftop activities. 


We create buildings, which will serve for the decades. Therefore, we have to take into account the possibility for the appropriation of the buildings according to the current needs, and even more radical refurbishment or rebuilding of the complex in the future.  

The new live & work complex is consisting of the modular double-height spaces with flexibility of inserting the self-built mezzanine floors and connecting the modules in between each other. This is reflected in the skeletal construction system, which minimises the loadbearing structure in favour of a flexibility in layout. The modularity of the structure provides perfect ground for prefabrication and therefore optimizing the material usage, building cost and CO2 emissions. At least 75% from the live & work units are required to follow the requirements for permanent housing, providing enough freedom in the choice of use. 

The flexibility of use is reflected in the other parts of the project (culture hub, cowork hub, event hub) as well. 


A smart city is a 15-minute city – where the pedestrians and cyclists occupy the public space. Špitálka will be connected into the cycling network of the city of Brno, and at the same time serve as a hub of a green transportation, fulfilling the ambition to become a hearth of the transforming district. 

Main advantage of the district is its proximity to the city centre of Brno, which is linked with the rest of the city by a dense network of public transformation. The ambition of creating a district with balanced programme for the wide spectrum of the everyday life lowers the demand of the inhabitants for transportation. Seeing bicycle as a most effective mean of transport for short and mid distances around the city, the smart district will provide enough bicycle stands for every inhabitant of the district. With the intelligent streetlights containing the chargers for e-vehicles, the district will become a hub for electromobility.  


All the rainwater must be processed on the site. Part of that will be naturally soaked into the large surfaces of the green roofs and the greenery in public space, or stored in the publicly accessible pond, helping to create a better microclimate in the area. Remaining rainwater and “grey” water from the operation of the complex will be reused to minimise the consumption of a drinkable water. 

Infiltration of the rainwater back into the ground is a crucial process for natural stability. The humidity stored in the soil and greenery is slowly released in the hot days, radically helping with diminishing the heat-island effect of the city and creating a pleasant environment for the people.  

The drained rainwater collected during the heavy rains, when the greenery and soil are not capable of collecting the water anymore, will be stored in the tanks. The rainwater with low content of salts and minerals has a perfect chemical composition for watering the gardens, as well as for washing the laundry. In such a minerally soft water, the detergent gets dissolved better, less of the detergent is needed and the washing machine is prevented from calcifying – together having a secondary positive environmental impact. The excessive rainwater which could not be naturally soaked or reused, will be transferred from the water tanks and infiltrated into the soil by the underground soakaway system. 

As a part of minimising of the consumption of a fresh drinkable water, the “grey” water from showers, basins and washing machines, will be hygienically stabilised and reused for flushing the toilets 

The city of Brno has already launched an open call for the projects helping to keep the rainwater in the environment, called “Nachytej dešťovku” (catch the rainwater).

More information about these programmes can found here.



Roof is a large space, which collects huge amounts of water during the heavy rains – and even by the law, we are obliged to process this water on our own land. The conventional roofs drain this water directly into the sewer on rainy days, and on sunny days it can heat up to 80 degrees Celsius, creating an unlivable area and worsening the heat island effect of the city. On the other hand, a green, or vegetation roof is capable of retention of a big amount of water and cools down the surroundings.  

The composition of the green roof can be made as extensive, or intensive. Intensive roof requires bigger amount of soil, therefore stronger construction of the roof and additional watering in the summer days. However, it can host all the different kinds of plants, from herbs and grasses, through bushes all the way to smaller trees, bringing a great water-absorbing capacity, and the real feeling of “green” roof. On the other hand, the extensive green roof is way more modest – consisting of smaller grasses and mosses. However, it requires only little soil layer with no significant impact on the construction and sustains even without water. 

The best performance of the green roof can be then achieved by a careful combination of both types. In the Špitálka project, the ratio was chosen to be 55/45 in favour of intensive roofs. This combination brings enough water-absorbing capacity, variety of environments for the insects and birds, great potential of long-term absorbing of the CO2 from the air, space for installation of translucent biosolar collectors over extensive parts, and last, but not least, a pleasant public space for the people. 

The aim is to make as big part of the roof as possible public – enlarging the space for sports and leisure activities and communal life. All the roofs will be connected by the skywalk, topped by the viewpoint from the cooling tower.  

The city of Brno has already launched an open call for transformation of the roofs, as a part of the nation-wide programme called “Zeleň střechám” (greenery for the roofs).

More information about this program can found here.


An advanced power distribution network that allows controlling of power generation and consumption in real time. The network uses renewable energy sources (RES) and combination of a battery storage and smart demand energy management system to shave the peak consumption and lower overall energy demand. 

A sustainable approach to a usage of electricity consists of several steps. First one is maximising the usage of the renewable energy sources – primarily by installing approximately 3000 m2 of photovoltaic panels. Due to the preference of using the roof for the activities of the inhabitants, and therefore lack of appropriate space for their installation, the aim is to embed them into the shading constructions and extensive green roofs, where the special transparent panels will be used – creating “biosolar” roof. 

The rest of the required amount of electric energy will remain to come from the public distribution network, although the aim is to make contracts for distribution only with non-emission/renewable energy producers. 

The consumption of an electric energy will be lowered by implementing the smart demand energy management system. By shifting the consumption of the energy-demanding appliances to off-peak hours, together with the battery storage, it will help with the “peakshaving”. 




An intelligent grid connecting all the buildings with different programmes into one centralised heating and cooling system. Sustainability is achieved by extracting the geothermal heat, smart management of energetic demands and clever usage of building constructions and earth as thermal “batteries”. 

The density of the built environment brings immense potential for achieving high effectivity of the energy usage. All the objects will be connected to one central energetic point, where the heat will be sourced, redistributed, and stored. This centralisation enables the effective distribution and recuperation of the heat between the buildings with different programme, and therefore different energy demands. By connecting them into one system we are also able to shave the peak points of energy consumption.  

The primary heat source will be a thermal grid of geothermal heat pumps, supported by the secondary heat source from the nearby heat plant. The supplementary heat will be extracted by recuperation of the heat from the ventilation system, and there is a possibility of extracting the waste heat from the nearby server building (to be explored). 

In the hot summer days, the exchange of the heat will be reversed, so that the cold will be extracted by the heat pump and the heat from the buildings will be extracted and stored in the geothermal storage. The cooling will be provided by active thermal mass – the pipes will be embedded into the ceiling, floor, or loadbearing structures. 



Makerspace is an open workshop, where the craftspeople, students, freelance entrepreneurs or any DIY enthusiasts can become members, and create according to their needs and fantasies. The workshop will be fully equipped with the tools and provide the space for a work. 

The idea of a communal workshop helps the inhabitants with providing a shared space and tools, which wouldn´t be affordable or feasible for them to own. The range of the tools is widely open from the basic screw drivers and drills, through advanced machines as 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC or sawing machines, all the way to the precise works as a sewing machine. The access to the makerspace will not only provide a common ground for the creativity of the inhabitants, but it might also motivate them to repair and reuse things, further helping with lowering the impact of the society on the environment. The space would be frequently used for an organised programme for the public, or for the various courses.  


Sharing store works as a library of the things, where the members can borrow the household items they would need. It is another step in the concept of the shared economy, when some tools and items are not feasible to be owned or they are not frequently used, but it is still beneficial to have them by a hand.  

Sharing store provides a common space to borrow all the different household items, that are often expensively purchased, stored in the wardrobes and garages, and then used only for a few times a year. It can provide various items of everyday life as special kitchen appliances, sports equipment or board games. Choice to not own and rather share and borrow for a monthly membership, is a cheaper, space-saving and CO2 and material-cutting alternative lifestyle. 

One library of the things already exists in Brno, you can find more information here.


Energy efficiency, safety, and comfort – those are the challenges to achieve by rethinking the system of streetlights. Wider implementation of intelligent led streetlights into the streets of Brno enables sustainability both in energetic and social field. 

Street lighting does not only provide a utilitarian function of “making the light” – on the contrary, it largely affects the human psychology and behaviour. Sufficiency of light in the public spaces provides feeling of safety and orientation, redundancy however creates light smog and negatively affects health of the organisms. Intelligent street lighting has the ambition to balance these counterparts. Energy-efficient LED illumination will adjust its brightness based on the momentary public need and intensity of natural light according to the data obtained from sensors. Where appropriate, lamps can be fitted with chargers for electric vehicles.  



Smart meters monitor energy supply and demand in public areas and all the buildings in the area. These data are interconnected in a single energy management system to optimise energy flows between buildings for an efficient use of energy – minimise the load in a peak moments, minimise energy losses and maximise the use of renewable energy resources

The energy systems of the buildings will be interconnected to provide energy flows between them, directed according to the momentary and predicted consumption data. The management system helps to balance the high energy demand of the office and operational buildings in the day, with the energy peak of the residential buildings in the evening. By even distribution of the network load, the overall energy consumption will be lowered. Optimisation of energy flows and their use will lead to cost savings, both for building owners and users. The goal is even to promote an energy responsible behaviour of the inhabitants of the smart city, by creating a well-arranged user environment of the system.


Energy produced by the local renewable energy resources will be stored in batteries, which will help to balance the peak demand of energy for the buildings and the vehicles.  The inclusion of battery storage ensures that the maximum onsite usage of the renewable energy can be achieved, minimising any imports from the national grid with a high tariff, or exports with a significantly lower value.

The development of control software and hardware will evaluate electricity market conditions and grid demand requirements, as well as potential oversupply from other renewables on the grid, and decide on how the battery is charged and discharged. Weather data will be used to monitor the probable level of generation coming from the renewables and thus affect the discharge rates to ensure that the required capacity is available for the following day. 

#inspiredbyprojectRUGGEDISED – more info here.


A smart parking system that offers users parking options in the area, enables  the booking of the parking place and makes it possible to use a mobile app to pay directly for the parking. Occupancy will be monitored in real time using a camera system. 

Parking spaces for the inhabitants in the area will be located underground the residential buildings. This will reduce the obstruction of public spaces that can subsequently be used for more meaningful purposes. The parking spaces in public space will be available for the visitors and managed by the smart parking system. 

If you choose a car to travel to the neighbourhood, the application will offer you where you can park in the area and at what price. The price will depend on the time of day (increasing or decreasing demand for parking) and on the specific location. The application will offer you more possible parking options in your destination and at the same time it will offer you alternative options of how you can get to your destination (bike, public transport, etc.). It will book place chosen by you and you will be able to pay the parking fee directly through the application. The occupancy of the parking spaces will be monitored by means of a camera system, which will ensure that the app is up-to-date. 

There is a possibility to be explored of replicating the smart solution of green parking payoff from the Swedish city Umea, which is also part of the RUGGEDISED project. The solution lies in networking the owners of existing parking spaces and stakeholders with new ones to create a system of contributions to shared mobility in exchange for reduced parking fee, in order to maximise the efficiency of utilisation of existing parking spots, instead of creating the new spaces. 



This solution’s objective is to lower the energy consumption of waste collection vehicles by monitoring their degree of filling and optimising the route of the collection trucks. 

Sensors will be installed at waste facilities to measure the filling percentage and indicate when the container has reached its maximum fill level – or when it has been emptied. Data will be communicated through a network to a centralised management system. The subsequent optimalisation of the collection periods and routes of the collection trucks will help to decrease the fuel consumption and the CO2 emissions, as well as contribute to the healthier and cleaner environment in the cities

#inspiredbyprojectRUGGEDISED – for more info click here.


The European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) introduced requirements to reduce primary energy consumption in buildings and minimise the use of energy from the fossil fuels. From 1 January 2020 on, this Directive requires that all new building project documentation comply with the requirement for so-called nearly-zero energy buildings (nZEB). 

The newly implemented requirement for the nearly-zero energy buildings goes further towards sustainability than the previously required “low eneregy” standard. With the nZEB, not only the good thermal envelope and low energy consumption is followed, but also the low remaining energy income is required to be majorly supplied with on-site renewable energy resources. Incorporating the active energy-efficiency and management systems supporting the passive building solutions is also part of the design.  

For the newly built parts of the complex, we´re following the passive certification for the building envelope, which requires even better energetic performance and lower energy consumption (less than 15 kWh for the heating and 120 kWh for the operation and appliances of the building) than the nation-required nZEB. The possibility to go even further with aiming for energy plus buildings, producing on site more energy than they consume, will be evaluated. 

To achieve energy efficiency, the ratio and orientation of the glazed facades will be evaluated. The active shading system will also help to cool the buildings down in a summer period and warm the spaces up in a winter, by their opening and closing according to the intensity of the sunlight. Intelligent heating and electric energy systems will provide sustainable inner climate in the spaces.  


An energy management system for public buildings that enables continuous monitoring and analysis of the indoor environment and thus an efficient setting of energy flows. Depending on parameters such as presence and amount of people in a room, sunshine, outer temperature, prediction of a room utilisation and others, the system can optimise the temperature and inner climate in the buildings. 

The energy necessary for heating / cooling and ventilation of the rooms will be supplied based on measuring of relevant parameters affecting the inner climate in the rooms and the whole building. . In the case there is sufficient sunlight, it will be possible to reduce the energy needed to heat the rooms that are directly affected by it. As the outer temperature gradually increases, heating can also be reduced in the rooms on the northern side of the building, etc. By measuring the carbon dioxide content in the rooms, it is possible to calculate how many people are present in the building and in each room, providing valuable information for modelling the flows of the users in the building and optimizing the utilization of the rooms and their inner climate. If longer absence of people in a room is detected, the lights will be turned off and other devices will also be switched into the power saving mode.
By measuring the energy consumption for heating, cooling and ventilation in the building and in the individual rooms, it is possible to trace whether there are any major differences between the rooms and subsequently identify the potential problems and solutions.  



#inspiredbyprojectRUGGEDISED– more info click here.


Local food production, water absorption, green transformation and neighbour interaction are few of many features of urban, or “communal” gardens. As a part of a green-blue infrastructure and solutions for social cohesion in a smart district, we want to take the advantage of this activity and offer the spaces to be appropriated. 

Seniors and teenagers, corporate managers and city workers… Gardening is an intergenerational activity – taking care of the plants, herbs, fruits and vegetables have a power to bond together social and age groups which otherwise would not run into each other so easily. As a part of an ambition to make Špitálka a socially mixed area, urban gardening can help find a connection between different neighbours, or between old and new inhabitants of this complicated area. The gardens can be implemented either as a temporary transiting activity before the transformation, as a stable part of a public space, or conceive the intensive green roofs areas as the communal gardens.  


Do you have an idea?