Energy efficiency and improving long term sustainability is very close to top of the list for most politicians and city administrations, we all realise that in order for us to continue improving our way of life that we need to find new and innovative ways to create energy and power our cities.
As part of the SINFONIA Project 2 pilot pilot cities will become smart energy cities, this means in practice that in selected districts there will be up to 50 percent savings in primary energy consumption while increasing the proportion of renewable energy sources and reducing CO2 emissions.
The SINFONIA Project (Smart INitiative of cities Fully cOmmitted to iNvest In Advanced large-scaled energy solutions) is funded by H2020 project and aims to boost resources for the rehabilitation and renovation of large-scale building districts with the aim of reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
Innsbruck and Bolzano are the lighthouse cities for the project, they are applying innovative strategies and technologies in several housing districts across their cities, reforming a total area of over 100,000 sq/m. This model will later be validated in five other European cities including Seville (Spain), Paphos (Cyprus), La Rochelle (France), Rosenheim (Germany), and Borås (Sweden).
The pilot cities present their development with special emphasis on three aspects: the transition to a low carbon economy that builds a more sustainable and competitive Europe, the technical challenge of buildings with almost zero energy consumption, and the need for cooperation between the key players: city administrations, research centres, experts, business and citizens.
Wofram Sparber, director of EURAC, Bolzano (Italy), has presented the pilot being carried out in the city. Three main actions have been carried out in Bolzano:
- Energy-efficient building reforms, which will get 40-50% of their energy from renewable sources and where consumers are given tool to help them to control their consumption.
- Implementation of district heating systems
- Intelligent distribution of electricity in the city to recharge bikes and vehicles throughout the city.
The technologies applied in Bolzano are more innovative than those currently available and aim to create a best practice model for others to follow. All of the initiatives are taking place in social housing that is owned by the city, so as well as giving city leaders an opportunity to decrease carbon footprint it also gives a great opportunity to interact with the citizens. This interaction will take the form of education on energy usage and how very small changes in behaviour can have a lasting impact on the long term sustainability of the city – as well as saving them money on their energy bills.
The SINFONIA Project requires a process in which the technical vision and citizen participation are united whilst also providing an incentive for regional development. The challenge is to achieve low carbon economy and society in which each city makes use of different tools that have been adapted to their particular needs. This is one of the key aspects, every city is different, the challenges are similar, but the exact way to overcome the them will need to be adapted slightly depending on the culture and attitude of citizens.