Sustainable energy consumption, the use of renewable energies, energy efficiency and the reduction of CO2 emissions are the current challenges that cities and communities must overcome if they want to achieve the ambitious energy and climate targets if they want to achieve the set out by the EU in their EU 2020 strategy. By the year 2020, the European Commission wants to cut CO2 emissions by 20 per cent, increase the share of renewable energies to 20 per cent and improve energy efficiency by 20 per cent.
"Across Europe there are already numerous pilot projects and good examples of where these objectives are being applied. Since the launch of the CONCERTO initiative in 2005, the European Commission has promoted demonstration and research projects which focus on developing urban districts -- including new buildings and renovation -- and which in the process employ renewable energies and energy-efficient measures," emphasises Valerie Bahr, project manager at Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum and coordinator for the evaluation and publication of CONCERTO project results. Over five million people in 58 cities and communities in 23 European countries have benefited from this funding since the launch in 2005. A total of 1.830000 square metres of building space has been newly constructed or renovated to date, delivering a saving of 530.000 tons of CO2 .
The brochure "CONCERTO -- A Cities' Guide to a Sustainable Built Environment" clearly outlines on 68 pages the approach taken by the individual cities and communities cooperating in the project. Examples of planning, financing, participation, public relations and measurement instruments are presented. The examples show how the energy efficiency and performance of urban buildings can be improved. All projects share a common goal: to reduce CO2 emissions in the most cost-effective manner while at the same time improving quality of life in the urban environment. To achieve these targets, individual cities are taking different approaches according to the political conditions and the availability of resources. The examples also highlight the different ways in which political decision-makers and citizens can be included in the planning process.
The monitoring of technological data, the evaluation of demonstration projects, the transfer of knowledge and the information campaign will be conducted over the next two years by Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The analysis of the projects and the experience gained from them form the basis for future urban development projects, particularly for future projects of the EU's Smart Cities and Communities Initiative. Decision-makers in Europe's cities and communities are also supported in their efforts to create the necessary framework to facilitate the energy policy objectives.
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