Stanz im Mürztal is located in a rural area in the province of Styria in Austria. It has a total population of 1 844 inhabitants and a surface area of 70 km2. The region is industrial and has been affected by economic structural change in recent decades.
As in many European regions, people tend to move into metropolitan areas, which is one reason for depopulation. The economy is small-scaled, which is reflected in the high percentage of people who commute from the municipality.
Our village decided to search for new ways to deal with these challenges. Therefore, we started a ‘Local Agenda 21’ process in 2016 to enable an integrated development of the village with the knowledge and support of the inhabitants. Since then, about 80 active residents deliver ’hands on’ on the development of a local strategy and implementation of measures in different areas with great commitment.
Over the past few years, the issues of enhancing the village centre, the creation of new mobility options and measures to improve the quality of life have been addressed.
In the future, we want to focus more on the issues of self-sufficient energy production at local level and support to energy-producing communities. The goal is to increase the supply of renewable energy sources, which is currently around 30%, up to 100%. This is combined with multipliable, innovative business and cooperation models for the financing and flexible use of these energy sources. This also helps to ensure the sustainable economic development of the community.
Furthermore, we want to deal with the question of voluntary work: we are fortunate to have many people involved in community life. Thus, we want to explore the question of how this situation can be secured in the future and what non-monetary compensation there can be.
Village strategy :
Stanz gains acknowledgement for energy efficiency
The energy and climate policy commitment to the ‘e5 programme for energy-efficient communities’ – the Austrian branch of the European Energy Award – got Stanz recognition and four out of the five ‘e-s’.
The European Energy Award is an international quality-management and certification tool. The programme encourages and supports around 1 700 municipalities across Europe to modernise their energy and climate protection policies, save energy and costs, and make greater use of renewable energy sources.
Stanz multifunctional centre among finalists for Architecture and Sustainability Award
The new multifunctional building in Stanz is one of ten nominated for the Austrian State Prize for Architecture and Sustainability.
Seventy two projects from all over Austriam ranging from school buildings to residential complexes, to commercial buildings, applied for the prestigious award. The ten finalists have been selected by an independent jury. The winners will be announced at a festive event in December 2021 in Vienna.
Photo © Kurt Hoerbst
Stanz wooden centre recognised for sustainability
The newly constructed multifunctional building in the centre of Stanz was recently recognised as a sustainable action – it was awarded the prize for exemplary timber construction of the province of Styria.
This new local centre is an expression of the consistent structural implementation of the sustainable development of the village: it houses the local food supplier and affordable housing options for all age groups, all in a cozy, people-friendly architecture and construction.
Stanz: the transformation of a rural community
Stanz, the location of the second Smart Rural 21 regional workshop, used the opportunity to showcase its smart strategy, firmly grounded in social innovation and local participation, as well as investment in renewable energies.
The village is a ‘Renewable Energy Community’ in its commitment to only use green energy, save on energy costs, prevent blackouts, use energy tokens to organise the community in a smart way. All of this included active citizen participation in the planning process, which in turn created a sense of pride of being a part of the local community.
Stanz hosts the 2nd Smart Rural 21 project regional workshop
The Austrian village will see two days – 4-5 November 2021 – of exchanges on Smart Rural 21 project outcomes and smart village approaches and solutions, particularly those that contribute to CO2 emissions reduction, including renewable energy and local energy communities.
See the detailed programme here!
Social innovation at the interface of energy transition and digitization
Follow along with our Village Roadmap here :
To strengthen the community's resilience and autonomy one of several projects in Stanz im Mürztal focuses on the exploitation of local renewable energy resources. As a consequence Stanz has committed itself to the foundation of a renewable energy community, according to article 22 RED II 2018 of the European Union. The implementation process, starting in 2021, has followed the local policy to combine technical and social innovation in order to secure effective results and sustainable development within the community During the project and as part of the sociological field study/participation process, an information event, six facilitated working group meetings, qualitative interviews, and a two-day conference were held in the course of the project. It became apparent that there was a great interest in the topics of local energy transition as well as a local voucher system, which was seen as a local currency by the participants of the participation process. The token engineering study considered the legal, technical, economic and ethical aspects in order to create a merger of both the energy and voucher systems. The conclusion has been to focus on the implementation of a token based management of the energy supply within the renewable energy community, with the gradual expansion of energy based applications within the municipality.
Step 2/8 : Identification of relevant cases
Cases of Renewable Energy Communities and processes for accelerating transitions to renewables were identified, considering the local conditions with support of an specialist expert of SR21. The report on Best Practices of Renewable Energy Communities presents examples and processes related to the development of decentralised micro-grids and energy communities, also considering the application of blockchain-based technologies.
Step 3/8 : Research & examples on Blockchain & Local Currencies
Desktop research on good practices of local currencies and innovative applications in the field of blockchain. Relevant case studies were contacted. Best practices were also presented to stakeholders in Stanz, making theproject tangible and feasible.
Step 4/8 : Working groups & semi-structured interviews
Working group meetings took place with citizens, followed by an information event on the Renewable Energy Community (REC) for citizens of Stanz. A total of over 70 people attended the event. A series of semi-structured interviews were also carried out with local stakeholders and specialists.
Step 5/8 : Token System Design Stanz Coin
Out of different token economy standards and infrastructures the most relevant cases were identified. The Token System Design was carried out, including Economic, Technical and Ethical Engineering and the design of legal compliant smart contracts.
Step 6/8 : Open-Space conference
The aim of the open space conference was to exchange and discuss previous results from the field research and participation as well as with regard to the token design at expert level. On the first day of the event an exchange was held among experts from different relevant projects in Stanz on the municipal energy transition. On the second day there was a key note and the working groups brought together their results and derived the general conclusions.
Step 8/8 : Final report
A Report on ‘Stanz Token summarises the outcomes of the analytical work and stakeholder engagement. It concludes that a focus on the implementation of a tokenbased management of the energy supply within the renewable energy community is recommended, with the gradual expansion of energy based applications within the municipality.
Second Regional Workshop of the Smart Rural 21 project
Recording of day 1 of the second Regional Workshop of the Smart Ru-ral 21 project, held in Stanz im Mürztal, Austria. The event presented the outcomes of the Smart Rural 21 project, as well as Smart Village approaches and solutions, with a particular focus on how Smart Villag-es can contribute to reduction of CO2 emissions, including through re-newable energy and local energy communities.
10th Smart Rural Café, Stanz, 6 September 2022
Stanz im Mürztal, one of the Smart Rural 21 project selected vil-lages, was chosen to receive additional expert support for the full implementation of its smart village strategy. Its project scope was to define the role of blockchain for leveraging the output of renew-able energy resources and to combine technical and social inno-vation. The project goal was to define possible cases for the use of a local digital currency based on renewable energy. As a first step, a renewable energy community was implemented in Stanz. Citizen engagement and an intense participation process provided the ideal basis for the token economic analysis. The Smart Café showcased the results of the Stanz feasibility study.