The _EEAGold is the highest award given for municipal energy and climate protection activities at the European level. It is awarded to municipalities that have implemented at least 75 per cent of measures within their scope of action and have thus demonstrated an exemplary commitment to a sustainable energy future.
The award requires municipalities to be audited by two auditors, a national one and an international one. Applications for certification must be submitted to the national eea commission, which forwards them to the international office of the Forum eea, the certifying authority for the _EEAGold.
As early as the 1970’s, the municipality of Besançon became proactive in developing a local energy conservation policy by introducing measures in a number of areas. The measures developed for its municipal buildings and services as well as for its public transport earned the local authority a good reputation at national level. Besançon acquired experience in renewable energy, especially biomass wood, with the construction of an automated wood fired boiler servicing its district heating network and supplying heat to the equivalent of 13,000 dwelling units in 2006. This boiler made it possible to supply the network with over 50% of renewable energy. Besançon, with its “energy conservation” department, became a pioneer in facility operation, energy use management and procurement.
Many structuring projects like the tramway project led by Greater Besançon, the Vaîtes neighbourhood and the renovation of the former Vauban barracks, are underway, preparing a mutation towards a more sustainable city. The Territorial Energy and Climate Plan decided in 2009 and co-monitored with Greater Besançon proposes expanding its “energy and climate” policy with ambitious objectives in terms of town planning, mobility, housing and buildings. The Climate Plan made it possible to mobilise a number of local players. It was adopted in December 2011 by the Besançon City Council and in February 2012 by the Greater Besançon Metropolitan Council.
The municipality of Buchs has resolutely pursued the goals of the 2000 Watt Society in recent years by substantially expanding its district heating supply, renewing hydroelectric power plants, installing photovoltaic systems, measuring wind forces, establishing a public subsidy programme (including subsidies for building refurbishment) and extending energy counselling. These measures allowed the municipality to reduce its per capita primary energy demand from 4,060 to 2,670 watts between 2008 and 2011.
The municipality of Buchs has set itself ambitious quantitative goals in keeping with the requirements of the 2000 Watt Society. Regarding the municipal heat supply, Buchs is aiming to reduce the energy requirements of buildings by 20%, increase the portion of renewable energies and waste heat to 60%, and have 0.5 m2 solar panels per resident installed for domestic hot water supply – all by 2020. It has also planned to install additional photovoltaic systems and to build a biomass carbonisation plant.
The city of Bottrop is one of the remaining few cities in the Ruhr area that still has a working coal mine: the Prosper-Haniel mine, Germany’s largest coal mine with an annual extraction of 3.9 million tons. As a consequence, and in view of the city’s history and the need for structural change in the region, the concept of energy is tightly interwoven with the activities of the city council and the city’s stakeholders. In recent years, concerns about climate change have gained importance and now feature prominently in municipal activities. Bottrop has implemented detailed planning processes for energy, mobility and climate protection and adaptation, all based on adjustable energy balances, and appropriate activities and measures are continuously being implemented.
In 2010, the city of Bottrop won the InnovationCity Ruhr competition, and in the context of this project, which gained worldwide attention, the city strengthened its goals for energy efficiency and climate protection. It is now planning to reduce C02 emissions in a pilot area (about 70,000 inhabitants, in the southern part of Bottrop) by 50% by 2020, compared to 2010 levels. The project is supported by additional intermediate goals: Bottrop-Kirchhellen, in the northern part of the city, for example, is aiming to become energy self-sufficient. The city of Bottrop was successfully certified under the eea Gold programme in 2010 and achieved recertification in 2013.
By joining the European Covenant of Mayors for Climate, the Dunkirk Metropolitan Community has committed itself to meeting climate and energy challenges at the national and European level. It defined a territorial climate plan, which sets down the municipality’s commitment to sustainable town development. The plan was developed by about 190 main stakeholders from various backgrounds in a series of more than 30 workshops to ensure that it would entail a functional, balanced programme. The Dunkirk Metropolitan Community has set itself the goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 20% by 2020 and by 75% by 2050.
Exemplary measures and activities include the financial support provided for private refurbishment works (annual budget of more than EUR 700,000), the operation and planned extension of a district heating network (which currently supplies 180 buildings and 15,000 households with over 57% industrial waste heat), and a multi-faceted, target-oriented, active communication policy (organisation of national and international events on climate and energy, public awareness campaigns on waste separation and sustainable development).
The City of Düsseldorf had already implemented extensive energy policy activities when it joined the eea programme in 2003. It prepared its first energy and CO2 balance as early as in 1987, and in 1998 the city committed to environmental protection and the economical use of resources in its general principles. It also set a range of energy and climate policy goals as part of the ongoing energy and climate protection process and to promote future development in this field.
The programme “Preserving creation - 30 initiatives for climate protection” constituted an important milestone. The programme, which was adopted by Düsseldorf City Council in 2008, required steps to be taken to save energy, optimise energy efficiency and expand the use of renewable energies in order to cut Düsseldorf’s CO2 emissions by 10% by 2013. The city then developed the “Scenario Düsseldorf 2050” concept as a continuation of this important work, setting itself the target of limiting annual C02 emissions to 2 tons per inhabitant by 2050.
Greven’s ambition, represented by the Ems(T)raum Greven programme, is a change towards a sustainable city that is aligned with the needs of its people. Core aspects of the programme include compact city planning, a reinvigorated city centre, the retention and expansion of green spaces, the creation of a network of footpaths and bicycle tracks, and a well-balanced infrastructure. The city and the municipal energy utility have made a joint commitment to increase the use of renewable energy resources, and Greven’s municipal energy plan requires all available alternatives for the generation of energy from renewables (wind, solar energy, biomass) to be resolutely promoted. The plan additionally forms an essential part of the wider targets for the district of Steinfurt, which has defined energy self-sufficiency by 2050 as one of its goals.
Even before energy efficiency and renewable energies laws came into effect (e.g. EnEV2009, EEWärmeG), Greven applied a bonus point system in order to provide financial incentives for energy-efficient and climate-conscious construction, and the effectiveness of this system was recognised by the federal government in 2009.
The district of Gütersloh has been committed to reducing CO2 emissions within its scope of action for more than 10 years and has drawn up a climate protection manifesto for this purpose. The district achieved energy savings of more than 25% in its buildings over this period. In 2012, district administration of Gütersloh resolved to become energy self-sufficient by 2050. The necessary measures and intermediate milestones on the way to this ambitious goal form part of the development of an integrated energy and climate protection concept.
In 2013, the district of Gütersloh and its municipalities joined forces with the local business association, several financial institutions, the district trades association and numerous independent energy consultants to start the “Roofs for the Sun” (“Sonne sucht Dach”) initiative. As a first step, the initiative established a district-wide register of solar roofs, which was made available free to local residents. In a second step, 9 out of 13 municipalities conducted a solar energy advice campaign with information events and free solar and refurbishment consultations in residents’ homes. The campaign was very well received, and numerous consultation sessions resulted in people having solar panels installed on their roofs.
Lausanne has played a pioneering role in sustainable development and efficient energy use at the municipal level. The city was certified under the Swiss Energiestadt label in 1996 and was the first European city to achieve eea Gold certification in 2004. It continues to reduce energy consumption in municipal buildings, actively encourages industry, businesses and residents to increase their use of renewable energies, and promotes the increased generation of energy from renewable sources. Lausanne is continually expanding its municipal district heating network, which, in 2011, covered 20% of the city’s heating requirements and was supplied with 72% energy from renewable sources.
It has also broken new ground with its Project Agglomeration Lausanne-Morges (PALM). By 2020, the region will have 40,000 more residents and is intending to create 30,000 jobs. PALM aims at building a compact agglomeration that is well serviced by public transport and non-motorised traffic, contains generous green spaces and connects urban and rural areas.
Lörrach has positioned itself as one of Germany’s pioneering cities in the fields of climate protection and energy efficiency. The city was certified under the Swiss Energiestadt label as early as in 2002, and in 2010 it achieved eea Gold certification. The town has a proud track record of consistent energy management and well-targeted measures; currently 50% of its total energy requirements for municipal buildings originate from renewable energy sources.
In 2011, Lörrach prepared the study “Lörrach - Climate-neutral by 2050”, which defines measures and strategies for achieving its climate protection targets and thus forms the basis for planned measures and projects. Lörrach intends to be fully climate-neutral by 2050. It is planning to implement a range of measures in order to reduce its CO2 emissions by 3.5% annually and by 83% overall by 2050. The most important measures currently include three ground-breaking major projects, namely the development of a local heating network in cooperation with major consumers, a large-scale refurbishment campaign for residential buildings with high energy consumption, and the sustainable redesign of the area around Lörrach station.
The city of Lucerne is strongly committed to the principles of sustainability. In 2011, a clear majority of councillors decided on a new energy and climate strategy which entails phasing out nuclear energy by 2045 and implementing the principles of the 2000 Watt Society by 2050. The city subsequently defined a binding reduction pathway for municipal energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Lucerne has decided to accept this challenge and is on its way to meet its goals.
For this purpose, the city has already implemented a range of measures: the municipal energy utility (ewl) is improving the efficiency of its facilities and increasing the use of renewable energies, district heating and industrial waste heat. Since 2013, the city has procured green power from certified renewable sources for all municipal buildings and facilities, and the new building and zoning regulations define areas subject to more stringent building standards in line with the needs of the 2000 Watt Society.
The municipality of Ostbevern is one of Germany’s pioneering communities in energy efficiency and climate protection. Ostbevern has consistently implemented a range of energy policy measures and was Germany’s first municipality to be certified under the eea Gold award in 2005. Several of the measures were the result of pilot projects, many of which involved ground-breaking work. These include, among others, the construction of bicycle paths as a joint project of residents and the municipal administration (citizens’ bicycle paths) and the establishment of Regenerative Energy Ostbevern (REO), a company which allows local citizens to participate financially in systems producing renewable forms of energy.
Ostbevern has been able to demonstrate the success of its energy policy by resolutely and effectively implementing these and other projects and ideas, many of which were subsequently taken up by other municipalities and thus served as models. The municipality of Ostbevern has set itself ambitious climate protection goals, aiming, for example, to halve its annual per capita CO2 emissions by 2030. Even now, Ostbevern generates more than 100% of its power needs from renewable sources within the municipal territory.
The growing municipality of Saerbeck (7,200 inhabitants) has been implementing an ambitious project since 2009, when the council decided to completely switch the entire town’s energy supply to renewable energies and resources by 2030. To achieve this goal, Saerbeck developed an Integrated Climate Protection and Adaptation Concept comprising 150 individual measures and three key projects. Based on this concept, the municipality was recognised as North Rhine-Westphalia’s Climate Community of the Future in a state-wide competition.
Work on one of the municipality’s core projects, the conversion of a 90-hectare former ammunitions depot to an innovative bioenergy park, began in 2011 and has involved the construction of photovoltaic modules, seven wind power turbines and biomass power plants. The park has attracted businesses with an affinity to its philosophy and has developed into a centre of renewable energy generation and closed-loop recycling management that now plays an important lead role in Germany. The last of the wind turbines was commissioned in autumn 2013, and with a total output of 29 MW the bioenergy park now produces twice as much renewable power as Saerbeck consumes. The municipality has therefore not only met, but by far exceeded its goal of energy self-sufficiency, relying only on renewable resources. With the construction of the bioenergy park, annual per capita CO2 emissions dropped from 9 to 5.5 tons.
St. Johann has been committed to sustainable energy policy and climate protection for over 20 years. The municipality has participated in the Austrian e5 programme for energy-efficient communities since 1998 and has implemented numerous measures in all areas open to municipal action. In 2009, St. Johann was the first municipality in the Austrian state of Salzburg to be certified under the eea Gold programme, and it was successfully recertified in 2013.
St. Johann, a municipality rightly renowned for its exemplary energy policy, is distinguished by its strong commitment to implementing its energy and climate policy goals through an inclusive process firmly based in democratic values. This commitment is evidenced by the current energy optimisation programme for municipal buildings, which are being upgraded with photovoltaic systems, by measures to reinvigorate the town centre, the development of the Bischofshofen - St. Johann biomass heating network, the implementation and support of green power projects, and a wealth of information and advice available to residents.
The city of Vernier has pursued an energy policy that supports the goals of the 2000 Watt Society for a number of years, and it has defined a concrete action plan that ensures that this ambitious strategy can in fact be implemented. The municipality’s energy policy is based on the principle that all decisions and measures must minimise environmental impacts. This approach allowed Vernier to become the first municipality in the canton of Geneva to receive the eea Gold award in 2009, and the city was successfully recertified in 2013.
One exemplary measure is “Une nouvelle lumière”, which combines ecological and social benefits. This programme was aimed at promoting the use of energy-efficient technologies and environmentally aware consumption among economically and socially underprivileged groups. Energy consultants visited residents in two suburbs and provided free advice on how to reduce environmental impacts and save on electricity costs at the same time. The programme was first conducted in 2009 and then repeated in 2010 and 2013.
Virgen has promoted the economical consumption of energy and the use of local and renewable resources such as biomass, solar energy, hydropower and geothermal power for 20 years. The municipality started supporting the installation of solar thermal systems as early as in 1994, and in 2009 it was certified under the eea Gold programme as the first, and so far only, municipality in Tyrol. It continues to set energy policy benchmarks in the region.
Measures and projects with model character include a local heating network, which supplies municipal and private buildings with heat energy generated from local wood; the municipality’s financial involvement in the construction of several small-scale hydropower plants; and Virger Mobil, a car transport service operated by private drivers that is available for use within the municipality. Another of the municipality’s declared goals is that, from 2014, no new or refurbished buildings will rely on fossil fuels for heating, and it has committed to providing financial support for systems operated with renewable sources of energy.
In 2007, the district of Warendorf was Germany’s first district administration to commit to the eea process. With its rapid and resolute implementation of planned measures, the district was able to increase its implementation ratio from initially 66% to 81% by 2013 and thus qualified for the eea Gold award. It also reached an important milestone in setting itself up for future progress when it developed its energy and climate protection concept in 2011. This concept, which comprises a comprehensive inventory of the status quo, a district-wide energy and CO2 balance, guidelines for action and a list of measures for the coming years, was enacted in December 2011.
Since then, the municipal utilities have implemented a range of measures: The district waste management company (AWG), for example, optimised the utilisation of various types of waste and implemented new technologies as part of its deep commitment to conservation and resource preservation. It operates one of the district’s largest solar power plants on the roofs of its premises, and in 2010 a biogas fermentation plant was commissioned on AWG land to generate green power. AWG established a company offering mobile heat transport within the district in cooperation with a local truck company, and another pilot project involves the construction of a plant to produce oil from synthetics in residual waste.