The City of Vienna is betting on innovation and end-user engagement to achieve its transformation into a Smart City. Currently, the city is involved in two European Smart City initiatives, namely EU-GUGLE and Smarter Together, and is implementing in that framework significant investment projects in view of refurbishing the city’s building stock to increase their energy efficiency and foster the consumption of renewable energy.
In March, the construction of four zero energy gyms, as well as 13 additional classrooms started for two middle schools in Vienna. The new buildings will cover 3.500 square meters and the refurbishment will allow around 1.000 pupils to learn in an energy-efficient and sustainable environment. The new buildings will use energy from solar panels as well as geothermal sources, that will be reinforced through the use of heat pumps.
For all citizens, including adults, the city is also offering to rent electric cargo bikes for free for one day, to do everything by bike and transport children, picnic material or even washing machines without requiring a car. And even when using a car, green mobility is always possible: e-car sharing systems have been implemented in renovated building blocks such as the Wohnauslage Haufgasse, where three electric vehicles are being shared between the buildings’ inhabitants, according to everybody’s needs.
Together with the engagement of pupils in shaping the future of the city, the involvement of all citizens is very important in Vienna. “With the project results of Vienna, we can show at the international level which benefits there are in being a social oriented Smart City” says Ms. Barbara Novak, representative of the building committee in the city Council of Vienna. Several innovative actions to involve the city’s inhabitants have already been implemented, such as the organisation of an “Energy-savings Café”, where participants had the opportunity to learn how to easily save energy for up to €200 yearly thanks to easy changes, or the development of energy savings workshops for refugees. In addition, Vienna citizens also have the opportunity to be trained by an energy coach in the framework of an ‘Energy driving license’ course programme, given by the ‘Umwelt beratung’ agency.
Within the EU-GUGLE project, over 65.000 square meters of residential buildings dating from the 1950s and 70s are currently being renovated in Vienna. The objective: achieve at least 60% of energy savings and generate renewable energy on-site, through the installation of innovative systems such as multi-active solar façades and building integrated solar panels.