Winners 2014

Innovative projects to improve the energy intelligence of cities

Nine projects from EUROCITIES members were submitted for the EUROCITIES awards 2014. The shortlist was drawn up by an independent jury, comprising Joachim Lorenz, head of the Department of Health and Environment, Sabine Bock, director of the NGO “Women in Europe for a Common Future”, Susanne Poelchau, head of the knowledge and research editorial team at the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation (Bayerischer Rundfunk), Iván Tosics, managing director of the Metropolitan Research Institute (MRI) in Budapest, and Marie-Hélène Vareille, policy officer at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the environment.

The jury has selected the following projects as winners for 2014:

Cooperation: Liverpool – REECH initiative

Through REECH, Liverpool works with a range of partners, including social housing providers and local authorities, to improve the energy efficiency of social housing and SME business premises in its most deprived communities. This €21 million project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will retrofit some 2,000 social housing units and 40 business premises with energy efficiency measures and low carbon technologies. In doing so, it will support local supply chains, promote skills development and encourage new business start ups in this emerging sector. There is a strong community involvement: the city is engaging with its residents to change their energy behaviour and make the best of the technologies installed in their homes.

Innovation: Vilnius – Interactive energy classification map

Residents of Vilnius’ 2,800 city-owned apartment blocks can now access an online map to evaluate and compare the heat consumption of their buildings. This interactive map uses a classification system, ‘actual energy consumption class’, to sort buildings into six categories according to their heat consumption, ranging from good to especially bad. Vilnius is currently in the process of renovating the blocks, with a goal of 600 by 2020. This would make a big difference to the city’s heat consumption, but in the meantime it hopes to raise awareness among residents of ways to improve energy efficiency. By visiting the map online or on their smartphones, residents can find out how their building ranks, compare its consumption over several years and compare it with other buildings in the city. The city then offers tips on how to improve efficiency, such as insulation, window and door replacement and heating system modernisation.

Participation: Malaga – Energy efficiency refurbishment in social housing through participation

Malaga is involving residents in the energy refurbishment of ‘Los Limoneros’, a social housing building made up of 140 apartments. The building is associated with unemployment, distrust in the local authorities, high crime rates and illegal activities, so the city realised that in order to succeed, it would need to get residents on board. This meant taking into account residents’ needs as well as the building’s technical requirements, and also setting up a ‘pilot project participative group’ bringing together residents, property owners and city council staff. Measures such as roof and floor insulation, heating sanitary water with solar energy and new ventilation have helped improve the building’s energy classification from a grade F to D. By installing 45 smart meters in low income housing across the city, it has also helped residents to better understand the impact of their energy consumption. In addition, Malaga carried out a wider awareness raising campaign, estimated to have reached some 23,000 people.

Special Mention

The Hague – Sustainability in The Hague neighbourhoods; participation in co-creation

The Hague is helping its residents turn their ideas for sustainability projects into reality. Through its ‘Sustainability in The Hague neighbourhoods’ incentive scheme, groups of citizens can apply for a grant of up to €8,000 to support the development of their proposals. This grant is intended to cover, for example, notary fees, professional advice or research, rather than the acquisition of projects or material. In order to apply, citizens must organise themselves into associations or foundations, which can include businesses and organisations, and then must present an outline of their idea to the municipality. In 2013, this process resulted in 27 plans, a number of which have already been implemented. This year, a further 31 projects have been approved by the city. Together, citizens are helping to put in place a range of sustainability measures, including new neighbourhood gardens, heating homes with residual heat from shops, and installing solar panels.