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Towards Smart Zero CO2 Cities across Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - SmartEnCity (Towards Smart Zero CO2 Cities across Europe)

Reporting period: 2020-02-01 to 2022-07-31

One of the main challenges for EU cities lies in the adaptation of their urban environments to accommodate more sustainable and inclusive societies that improve citizens’ quality of life, create jobs and wealth, and offer equal growth opportunities.
In this context, SmartEnCity intends to cope with this challenge, supported by the Smart Zero Carbon City (SZCC) concept: a SZCC is a resource-efficient urban environment where carbon footprint is eliminated; energy demand is kept to a minimum through the use of demand control technologies that save energy and promote raised awareness; energy supply is entirely renewable and clean; and energy resources are intelligently managed by aware and efficient citizens, as well as both public and private stakeholders.
Based on this, SmartEnCity’s main objective is to develop and demonstrate an adaptable and replicable systemic approach to urban transformation into sustainable, smart and resource-efficient urban environments in EU, through planning and implementation of measures aimed at improving energy efficiency in the main consuming sectors in cities, increasing the supply of renewable energy. This objective is more accurately defined by technical, replication, and social objectives of the project:
Technical objectives:
- Developing a methodology to guide the process of urban areas towards smart cities through the SZCC Strategy.
- Demonstrating how current technology paves the way for the SZCC concept.
- Holistic evaluation of the three Lighthouse (LH) projects.
Replication objectives:
- Developing Integrated Energy Plans in the LH/Follower cities.
- Definition of innovative business models.
- Developing D&C actions to pave the way for replication strategies.
Social objectives:
- Involving citizens in district renovation processes.
- Creating labour opportunities for vulnerable social sectors.
These objectives have been achieved through implementation of an integrated set of measures in the LH cities of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Tartu, and Sonderborg, intending to be replicated in Follower cities (Lecce, Asenovgrad), as well as in cities part of the extensive SmartEnCity network:
- Low-energy districts through energy retrofitting of buildings, district heating networks and renewable energy integration and management.
- Sustainable Mobility through clean energy private and public fleets, intelligent management for efficiency, optimized operation, and better integration of clean transport modes.
- ICTs deployment as enabling technologies for management, monitoring, evaluation, and integration of resources, also a tool for stakeholders’ and social interaction.
At the end of the project, all project objectives were achieved:
-The demonstrators have been completed and successfully monitored with at least 12 months of data, demonstrating how current technology can be successfully implemented for urban decarbonization.
-All project cities (both Lighthouse and Fellows) have developed or updated their decarbonization plans in the framework of SmartEnCity.
-Our three LightHouse cities have been selected into the mission of 100 Smart & Climate Neutral Cities for 2030, and as such recognized as being at the forefront of the path towards climate neutrality in the EU.
SmartEnCity has also developed the “Cities4Zero” methodology to define how the future Smart Zero Carbon city should be successfully implemented; This methodology provides details on dealing with specific subjects such as Citizen Engagement, Business models, integrated management models, baseline definition processes, and relevant standards. This methodology is published as a project outcome and can be accessed in the project website.

Other technical objectives achieved are linked to the objective of demonstrating how available technologies pave the way for Smart Zero Carbon Cities. This objective is focused on improving the energy efficiency of buildings through deep renovation interventions, maximizing the use of local, clean, and secure energy sources through the adoption of district heating and cooling networks, RES, and energy storage; and minimizing the use of fossil fuel vehicles through avoiding the use of cars or promoting the use of green vehicles, especially green public transport. This objective was fully achieved with the actions implemented in our three Lighthouse Cities, where energy retrofitting to high energy saving standards is a central part of the demonstrators to implement, with the improvement and providing of renewable supply to existing DH infrastructures, and with the introduction of technologies not foreseen in the original project. Regarding minimizing the use of fossil fuel vehicles, actions in this area have been initiated in the cities, with implementations in the fields of public transport (Sonderborg, Tartu & Vitoria), and bike sharing (Tartu & Vitoria),

Regarding the evaluation of the 3 lighthouse projects, delays in implementations in some cases hindered the achievement of two full years of monitoring of energy performance. At least 12 months of valid data has been gathered in practically all actions, and the relevant conclusions are available for review as project outcomes.

Two main outcomes can be highlighted as replication objectives. First, the project learnings and materials, including those described above, are brought together as a toolkit, in the form of an interactive map, called SmartEnKIT which is available in the project website. Regarding the network of cities, this objective is achieved with the currently running SmartEnCity Network, set up as part of the project. The goal linked to communication and dissemination to reach citizens and the technical community and promote the project achievements at the local, national, and European scales has been reached through efforts in communication and dissemination actions. In this area, there has been a remarkable effort to reach a big audience even during the lockdown times of COVID-19, where the project shifted towards a more digital presence.

Also, the involvement of the citizens in district renovation has been fulfilled through work in demo actions in our LH cities, with citizens as the main stakeholders. Their engagement has also been assessed and is discussed as another indicator of success.
Finally, as a short overview of all available results, the project’s final booklet, ‘The journey towards zero carbon emissions – A travel guide for cities’, is also available in the project website.
SmartEnCity has:
- Deployed complex, integrated measure sets in 3 different EU urban areas.
- provided an innovative methodological approach towards urban decarbonisation,
- Reached an audience of millions, while promoting sustainable actions, behaviour and lifestyle changes.
- Developed a number of replication, learning and dissemination materials.

Regarding the energy impact of SmartEnCity, the deployment of wide-scale innovative, integrated solutions in energy, mobility, and ICTs sectors has been completed in all three LH cities, with the actions deployed and finalized. Some key aggregated impact figures from the three demonstrators are as follows:
• Energy savings due to district renovation: 9.872 Mwh/y
• CO2 emissions saving due to District Renovation: 1.549 tCO2eq/y
• 181 buildings with 3105 dwellings retrofitted
• 188 clean energy vehicles, public and private deployed, along with 50 EV charging stations
• Total investment including public and private funds: 94.5 M€
SmartEnCity Tartu citizen engagement activities ambassadors program
SmartEnCity Tartu retrofitting works plan
SmartEnCity Tartu integrated infraestructures
SmartEnCIty Vitoria-Gasteiz -informative brochure for owners
SmartEnCity Sonderborg retrofitting works
SmartEnCity Tartu Bikesharing
SmartEniIty network events in Sonderborg and Asenovgrad
SmartEnCity Tartu retrofitting works
SmartEnCity Vitoria -Gasteiz Citizen engagement activities
SmartEnCity newsletter
SmartEnCity Sonderborg Roadmap2025
English version of the SmartEnCity postcard
SmartEnCity Sonderborg citizen engagement activities
SmartEnCIty Vitoria-Gasteiz retrofitting