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Frankfurt’s energy transition: Passive houses, a CO2 budget, and an app to collect residents’ ideas

Frankfurt am Main is one of the more densely built-up cities in Germany, known for its banking sector and home to one of Europe’s largest airports. The city is also the centre of Germany’s digital logistics: 80% of the country’s Internet traffic runs via servers in Frankfurt. With this multi-faceted economy, the city has more than 750,000 inhabitants and is growing rapidly.

It is vital for both citizens and the environment that Frankfurt becomes more climate friendly. The municipality’s goal is a 95% carbon emissions reduction by 2050 compared to 2010 and a halving of energy use in the same time frame. The administration has put multiple plans and processes in place to put the city on the right pathway, including a ‘Masterplan 100% climate protection’. There is a special emphasis on involving residents in the city’s transformation, for example through an app with which they can share their ideas and complaints directly with the municipality.

Komotini’s plans for a climate-friendly future

Komotini is a municipality in north-eastern Greece with just under 60,000 inhabitants. Still recovering from the effects of the financial crisis of 2008 and dealing with the resulting financial restrictions, the municipality is now planning to take its energy supply into its own hands. With an impressive track record of active citizenship and a fruitful cooperation between the administration and residents, there are high chances that these plans will soon be put into practice.

Public-public partnerships and deep energy retrofits: The case of Porto Region

The metropolitan area of Porto consists of 17 municipalities in northern Portugal which are home to 1.7 million people. Its Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) from 2012, drawn up as part of its membership of the Covenant of Mayors initiative, defines its goals as follows: compared to the 2005 baseline, CO2 emissions will be reduced by 25% in 2020, while energy efficiency is expected to increase by 20%. Additionally, renewable energy sources are anticipated to grow by 30%.[i] Like many other local SEAPs, these targets go way beyond the targets set by the European Commission. In order to reach them, the 17 municipalities work together with local agencies to initiate an energy transition steered by public institutions.

Rijeka: The energy transition of Croatia’s seaport

Rijeka is Croatia’s most important seaport, and, with a population of 128,000 people, the country’s third-largest city. The city’s economy is largely dependent on shipbuilding and logistics. Selected as the European capital of culture in 2020, Rijeka is working hard on an energy transition. In 2009, Rijeka became one of the first cities in Croatia to join the Covenant of Mayors and committed to reducing its carbon emissions by at least 20% by 2020. The city achieved a reduction in CO2 emissions of 38 kilotons, or around 10%.

Rijeka has seen the largest number of renovations of apartment buildings in Croatia: the programme is under way and at least 123 apartment buildings will be retrofitted, with the help of EU funds (60% grant rate). While there is an increase in energy consumption due to newly built facilities, there will be an overall reduction in CO2 emissions.