Energetic in its core

The city of Litoměřice, in Czech Republic, has been tackling the issue of energy management like no other in the country, being determined to become an energy-independent and low-emission city of innovation.

  • Location: Litoměřice, Czech Republic
  • Population: 24 000
  • Theme: Energy management
  • Places visited: Municipality of Litoměřice, Kindergarten, City Office

Small in size, indeed, but big in initiative. And energetically so, even more, when considering that it has become the Czech flagship city in the area of energy management. It is Litoměřice, and its credentials speak by themselves: a part of the Energy Cities initiative, signatory of the Covenant of Mayors and recipient of the prestigious ‘A’ rating in the Local Agenda 21, an initiative founded at the Rio Summit.

Still, these accomplishments are not random. The city defined ‘energy’ as a critical issue in its Strategic Plan of the City of Litoměřice, which rests on five pillars:

  1. Attractive, picturesque and prosperous city.
  2. Pleasant city for life in the heart of the garden of Bohemia.
  3. Healthy city, city of culture sport and education.
  4. City of innovation, energy-independent and low-emissions city.
  5. Responsibly, effectively and well-managed city.

The energy pillar, thus, aims at achieving a distinct level of self-reliance in terms of energy production by employing local renewable sources of energy, highest-possible energy savings and savings of operational costs. All of these with a healthy environment in mind.

The Václav Havel park, outside the city rampart, features a FullCapacity solar and Wi-Fi bench. Photo: Viktória Selmeczy.

This overarching strategy is further pursued by partial strategies, such as the 2030 Energy Plan of the City. By 2030, Litoměřice aims to save 20% of its energy consumption and increase the share of renewable energy on the total energy consumption. Local authorities in the Czech Republic are largely autonomous in terms of energy management and can even become a supplier of electricity to the power grid. In case a planned geothermal project is built, the share of renewables on total energy consumption will be 50%; in case the project is not finished, it will amount to 14%, which is still a significant number compared to other Czech municipalities.

Coupled with the share of renewable energy, CO2 emissions bound to energy production are expected to decrease by 80% in the geothermal scenario and by 41% in the second case. Together with increasing the share of renewable energy sources, the city also aims to increase energy efficiency of existing buildings and facilities.

All in all, the city’s focus to achieve the aforementioned will reside in initiatives related to low-energy building renovation, photovoltaic panels, a savings fund and geothermal energy. And along these energy management prevalence topics, the city is also investing in promoting a healthy and sustainable living for its citizens through smaller interventions, such as solar benches — featuring Wi-Fi hotspots and USB ports to power cell phones — or the procurement of 10 electro mobiles and 4 hybrids for the city’s state-funded organizations and hospital. Moreover, participatory governance is at the city’s core, having created a platform for citizens to propose future projects and having launched a joint city-local businesses forum to facilitate cooperation.

Over half of the cars available to officers at the municipal authority are electric. Public charging stations — using excess energy from the plant atop a kindergarten — are the next step. Photo: Pavel Dostal.

CHALLENGES & SOLUTIONS   

Considering a departing point in which Czech municipalities did not have enough experience with the design of a comprehensive energy strategy, a need to start from scratch was required. Therefore, key personnel in the municipality received lectures and capacity-building, projects started to be prepared, adequate communication with municipal representatives was addressed, and the Energy Cities platform served as a nucleus for best-practice sharing.

On the energy savings fund creation, the biggest challenge was to set a good benchmarking year as a reasonable and motivational basis for the involved actors. The system had to rightly respond to possible building extensions so that the concerned municipality-funded organizations (e.g. school) would not be negatively and unjustly affected by it.

SMART AND GREEN

In the end, the ‘smart’ philosophy of the city is sustained in a very simple approach — as wisdom asks for — which is to focus in its people. Besides all the aforementioned, it offers them financial incentives — as much as 40.000 CZK (1.500 EUR) — as a subsidy for environmental-friendly sources of energy, including photovoltaic panels, and it also uses small grants to support sustainability activities, such as fair-trade markets.

It has also created an online platform to share its expertise with other interested cities (www.energetickymanagement.cz), offering access to the E-manager application, which allows keeping track of energy consumption, building passports and deadlines. And through the www.dobrapraxe.cz portal, the city shares best practice examples from other innovative achievements with other localities.

All the measures taken since 2011 area leading to increased sustainability. The city is tackling energy consumption reduction, the emissions from municipal representative’s transport, and the exploration of renewable sources, such as geothermal and photovoltaic (PV). On the latter, for instance, there is an ongoing discussion on greening the municipal buildings roofs with extensive vegetation to increase the efficiency of the panels. In this line, the surface of the roofs would cool down and the efficiency of the PV panels could increase in the order of 3-5%. That said, Litoměřice is not waiting for some luminous miracle to get a sustainable future: it is lighting it by itself.


Litoměřice – A focus on accomplishments

  • 2011: Position of the Energy Manager was created
  • 2012: Complex monitoring of energy consumption — approximately, 50 municipal buildings.
  • 2013: Energy Plan of the City until the Year 2030; launch of own photovoltaic plants.
  • 2014: Accession to the Energy Cities Initiative; establishment of the Energy Savings Fund.
  • 2015: The first Horizon 2020 project and the first renovation of buildings in low-energy standard.
  • 2016: The first Engineering, Procurement and Construction  (EPC) project concluded; accession to the Covenant of Mayors.
  • 2017: Another three Horizon 2020 projects supported.
  • 2018: PAVE project: The first energetically active public building.