Climate Star 2016 - Awarded projects

Category 1 – up to 10,000 inhabitants


Alsómocsolád (Hungary; 346 inhabitants)

Village of the Future.

Alsómocsolád is a pretty little village with 346 inhabitants. It is the ideal place for families with children, who favour a sustainable lifestyle. This was not always the case, though. The number of inhabitants has decreased by two thirds in the past 60 years. Since the 1990s, a great deal has changed for the better. A community centre with municipal offices, post office, library, minorities office and a multi-generation residential home have been established. A waste water system was set up in 2006. The village development programme began in 2010. Sustainability and raising awareness top the agenda. The surface rainwater is now managed, waste separation and a local currency known as “Rigac” have been introduced, and a ‘Home of Virtual Natural Sciences’ and forest school opened. The village in the south-west of Hungary has also drawn on the expertise of external specialists to establish itself as a driving force in the region. Fourteen of the small region’s workshops took place here. Since 2013, 41 families have signed contracts to have their homes refurbished and 19 have taken up animal husbandry and vegetable cultivation. A solar plant has been installed on the community centre and the street lighting switched to LEDs. The inhabitants, local organisations and associations are involved in the most important issues.

Krumbach (Austria; 2,300 inhabitants)

“local for global” actions for climate justice

What is climate justice? What has it got to do with me? And how can I contribute? The market town of Krumbach in Lower Austria provided answers to just these questions. For one whole year, local inhabitants were involved in the campaign according to the motto of “Think global, act local”. Events included a performance by a theatre group from Nairobi, the ‘Shaping globalisation’ exhibition, a book presentation and discussion with author Hans Putzer and Johann Kandler from Climate Alliance on “hunger wars”, and the puppet show ‘Climate justice and sharing’. The parishes got involved with a fair trade parish café and at Krumbach’s schools, there was fair trade orange juice for the children taking part in the ‘Gehen geht’ mobility initiative. The regional and fair trade products were delivered using e-mobil car share vehicles. A specific aid project with an orphanage in Ghana was supported, enabling consideration of the subject of climate justice in more concrete, comprehensible terms. This was also reflected in the figures: over 1,000 people, from young to old, participated in the events – an outstanding achievement given there are 2,300 inhabitants! Activities also had an impact beyond the market town’s borders and fell on fertile ground. Krumbach has been a part of the first FAIR TRADE region in Lower Austria since 2013.

Krumpendorf (Austria; 3,500 inhabitants)

“live smart” Climate Ambassadors with energy saving tips for asylum seekers

While energy-saving tips are nothing new, Krumpendorf am Wörthersee is causing a sensation across Austria. The “Live Smart” project focuses on asylum seekers and refugees. Two Syrians fled the war and received a warm welcome in Krumpendorf. In autumn 2015, they began working with local initiatives to develop an energy-saving course for asylum seekers. The workshops are now run by a team of volunteers and are not linked to any specific integration project. The volunteers travel from asylum seekers centre to asylum seekers centre by public transport and explain to residents everything they need to know about saving energy. Beside power consumption, heating and warm water, the topics of waste separation, mobility and, last but not least, climate change are also covered. The message of a global code of ethics is a central component of the “Live Smart” campaign. During the workshops, “climate ambassadors” (in the best sense of the word) are trained, who then pass the course content on. Experience has shown that there is extensive potential for savings. If asylum seekers do not receive any information, their energy consumption is double that of Austrian households. The workshops are a success and meanwhile take place across the whole of Austria. Energy-saving tips are also already available in Arabic and Persian.

Ober-Grafendorf (Austria; 4,600 inhabitants)

Settlement street to eco street

While adaptation to climate change is an entirely new concept for many communities, the municipality of Ober-Grafendorf in Lower Austria is already making progress. Within the EU project ‘Changeable Mostviertel. Fit into the climate future’ launched in 2012, an eco-road was set up in 2015. The trial area runs 100 metres, alongside a main road. Within the ‘DrainGarden’ project, new technology for decentral rainwater usage is being developed in collaboration with the University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna. Special substrates affording high water permeability and good retention properties have been installed and combined with three species of plants. The water permeability, storage capacity and impact on the microclimate are being investigated. Up to 500 litres of water are stored per cubic metre and evaporate via the plants. This corresponds with the cooling capacity of a 100-year-old beech tree on a hot summer day. The advantages for communities are four-fold: an improved microclimate, less watering of green spaces in the summer, less rainwater in sewage plants and flood protection. A positive side effect: the pressure on the municipal budget is reduced. The substrates are moreover being developed so that they can in future be produced throughout the whole of Austria using regional materials.

Sarentino (Italy; 7,000 inhabitants)

Wood power Sarentino

Making a virtue of necessity. The wood power consortium comprising the community of Sarentino to the north of Bolzano, the heating plant cooperative and Öttenbach power station have achieved just this. In line with the general trend, they started planning a wood gasification plant back in 2011. However, after the first supplier went bankrupt, the search for alternatives began. In 2014, they found what they had been looking for; trial operations were launched in spring 2016. The plant is operated exclusively using chopped wood delivered by farmers from the region, who have joined forces to form a supplier association. Thermal energy is supplied in a conventional manner by means of a wood chip boiler with a filter system. What is special is the use of a hot-air turbine driven by the thermal expansion of the air to produce electrical power. The technical specifications: thermal output of 1.6 MW, electrical output of 200 kW. Compared to other thermal oil or gasification systems, there are no emissions on the one hand and the system requires little maintenance and is safe on the other. It also relieves the existing heating plant system, which previously had to be fired with heating oil during peak periods. The heat generated is used exclusively in nearby local businesses and households. The power is fed back into the grid.


Category 2 – up to 100,000 inhabitants

Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg; 33,900 inhabitants)

Den Escher Geméisguard (vegetable garden)

Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg is showing how it is possible to make fruit and vegetable production into a successful project known beyond the country’s borders. Planning began at the end of 2011; the greenhouse of 960 m² in size with an integrated low-energy office in a timber construction was subsequently inaugurated in June 2015. Heat is produced in a wood gasification boiler using local wood. Rainwater is used for watering. Allowing 240 m³ of drinking water to be saved every year. Vegetables are cultivated on a 600 m² outdoor site. All of the power requirements are covered by certified green energy – helping to avoid 5 tons of CO2 per year. Processing and sustainable packaging take place at the site. Last year, more than 5,000 kg of organic vegetables were produced and sold at regional markets to both private individuals and kindergartens. The project also includes a vegetable and herb learning garden, where 254 children participated in workshops between June and December 2015. The project is also having a positive impact on the labour market. Four of the 14 staff participating in a job creation scheme have since found full-time employment in the open market. In light of the project’s success, a second location is already being planned and is due to begin operating in 2017.

Filderstadt (Germany; 45,200 inhabitants)

E-E-S-mentors (ecology, energy and sustainability mentors) by immigrants for immigrants

Everyone should get involved in climate protection. Filderstadt in Baden-Württemberg is showing how a growing target group that many municipalities have accorded little attention to date can now be addressed. The E-E-S-mentors project developed by migrants for migrants was unknown territory for all involved. From the town’s environmental officer to the energy agency, waste industry through to the fair-trade initiative “ff – faires Filderstadt”. The aspects of climate, environment, energy and sustainability previously only considered individually have now been combined with that of integration. Intercultural information and advice are being offered to private households with a migration background. Eleven multilingual inhabitants of Filderstadt participated in seven training sessions. They analysed consumption behaviour and gave practical advice in Albanian, German, Greek, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Turkish and Ukrainian. Within this, the focus was on personal discussions. For good reason: hearsay and word-of-mouth propaganda play a decisive role in communication among people with a migration background and enjoy high credibility. More than 150 households were approached directly. PR work and regular reporting mean the project has attracted a great deal of attention.

Götzis (Austria; 10,660 inhabitants)

“energy.conscious.götzis” citizens on the path to energy autarchy

Achieving energy autonomy together. The town of Götzis in the western Austrian state of Vorarlberg shows just how. The project “energie.bewusst.götzis:” was launched in 2015. A concrete goal to achieve within a reasonable period of time was first set, namely to reduce energy consumption by 1 percent every year. If this succeeds, funding from supporters of the citizen-owned PV plants will then be used to finance energy playgrounds. The “Energy Bonus” scheme rewards energy-efficient behaviour. Energy savings are supported by up to 30 percent with cash for any purpose and by up to 40 percent with investment grants for energy efficiency measures. Since 2014, all kindergarten children as well as all year 3 pupils at primary school have covered the subject in class. Children have also created a mascot: Frederik, the energy-saving mouse. Twenty personal stories on energy autonomy were developed in a story workshop. Schoolchildren, parents and teachers discuss their mobility and nutrition behaviour within the “probier amol” [“Just try it”] project. The collaborative project is also reflected in figures: 90 tonnes of CO2 could be avoided in municipal facilities through energy management and the “Energy Bonus” scheme, 88 people acted as “probier amol” testimonials, and two citizen-owned PV plants were established. A third will follow in autumn 2016.

Karposh (Macedonia; 59,900 inhabitants)

Reconstructed public facilities in Karposh

Climate change and high energy consumption are also increasingly an issue in Macedonia. The rising cost of fossil fuels, most of which must be imported, is affecting both the local inhabitants and the municipal authorities. The municipality of Karposh in the capital of Skopje is leading the way to a resource and money-saving future. A young and committed team from the environmental department set itself the goal of following the global trends and activities in climate protection. A refurbishment campaign was launched and 14 public buildings renovated – from their cellars right up to their roofs. This included ten schools and four kindergartens. The package of measures included insulating façades and walls, exchanging windows and doors with energy-saving alternatives, insulating the ceilings of the top and bottom floors, cleaning or exchanging the heating systems and replacing light bulbs with energy-saving light sources. At the request of the local population, the façades of a further 14 residential buildings were also renovated. The energy savings surpassed all expectations: energy consumption could be decreased by 65 percent in the public buildings and by 45 percent in the residential buildings. Karposh will now share the experiences gained with other local authorities and municipalities in Macedonia.

Pesaro (Italy; 94,700 inhabitants)

Public tender for heat services in existing buildings

The harbour town of Pesaro on the Adriatic coast is taking a two-pronged approach to optimise the heat supply in municipal buildings: internal expertise is being combined with external investments by private partners. The town’s energy manager is cooperating with a work group comprising specialists from the authorities on this project. The energy consumption of 131 municipal buildings was analysed. Information such as the location, date of construction, land register details, photos, renovation work and electrical and thermal consumption in recent years was compiled. Energy audits were completed and heat camera images also taken for selected buildings. The municipality would have then had to invest 19 million Euros to implement the measures discerned. Because this was inconceivable due to the stability pact, a public tender was launched, including guidelines for the heating services. The municipality continues to pay the annual heating costs of 1.9 million Euros while the private company is able to reduce consumption through efficiency measures and thus make a return on their investment and generate profit. Allowing outdated systems with high energy consumption to be replaced with efficient models. The contract has now been awarded; energy savings of 30 percent are expected.


Category 3 – over 100,000 inhabitants


Basel (Switzerland; 167,400 inhabitants)

2000 watt tours / solar boat trip to the 2000 watt society

Energy and climate policies are difficult to communicate. It is even more difficult to explain these to the general population. The canton of Basel can also tell a thing or two about just this topic. Because classic tours were only moderately successful, a new approach was adopted in spring 2015. Public guided tours on the vision of a 2,000-watt society are held ten times a year. In a very special setting: participants travel aboard a solar-powered boat past the beautiful city backdrop. During the tour, they experience the highly visible milestones of Basel’s climate policy. Aboard a unique vessel, they travel along the River Rhine and learn about the city’s most significant achievements. Enjoyment is combined with in-depth information – enabling a positive experience and fond memories. Listed buildings that have undergone energy refurbishment, a hydroelectric power plant and the city’s wood-fired power plant feature on the itinerary, for example. Several hundred people have participated in the solar boat tours so far. The advertising for this project allows people not participating in these tours to also be reached. The aim of the city marketing: Basel is currently renowned for its museums and zoo, as a trade fair venue and pharmaceutical location. In future, it is to also be considered a pioneer in the field of energy.


Category 4 – Networks of local authorities

District of Korneuburg (Austria; 77,830 inhabitants)

ISTmobil, the micro-public transport system in Lower Austria

Many outlying communities are familiar with the problem of a lack of access to public transport. They ask themselves how an alternative basic mobility system could look. The district of Korneuburg has found a solution: “ISTmobil Korneuburg”. The pilot project of the state of Lower Austria taps into existing resources, such as taxi and car hire companies, and also integrates in current isolated micro public transport systems. Innovative planning software enables the optimisation of routing and journey pooling, helping to avoid empty miles. Simple booking and cashless payments are possible using the mobilCard. The service was launched in 17 communities in April 2015. Two further communities joined the initiative one year later. With 800 pick-up points, the district affords a good network. Hubs outside of the service area are also connected to the network (e.g. Tulln railway station). A home pick-up service is available for people with reduced mobility. The tariff system has been agreed with all communities. To achieve the best possible occupancy rates, group tariffs are available from two people. In the first year, 20,000 passengers used the service. Satisfaction among the customers is high: 72 percent rated the ISTmobil services as “very comfortable” and 66 percent as “easy to use”.

Gossau - St.Gallen - Gaiserwald (Switzerland; 100,800 inhabitants)

Energy network GSG (Gossau - St.Gallen - Gaiserwald)

How can towns convince companies to reduce their energy consumption and CO2 emissions and agree to binding goals? The energy network GSG energy network has managed just this. The regional platform for energy and resource efficiency was established in 2011 as an unregistered partnership between 11 local companies; the energy towns of Gossau, St.Gallen and Gaiserwald; the local utility companies; the Gossau and St.Gallen West trade associations; and the energy department of the canton of St.Gallen. In 2015, the network already comprised 30 companies. The goals are an exchange of specialist expertise, an increase in energy efficiency, and the use of renewable energies and waste heat. The GSG energy network is the ideal platform for an exchange of experiences and also provides new impetus. A specially created coordination office supports the concrete development and implementation of ideas. The financial feasibility, company structure and social and political commitment to a universal heating network is currently being clarified. The outcomes emphasise the project’s success. A two percent increase in efficiency every year has been contractually agreed with each company – and they have all achieved (or even exceeded) this to date.

Network ALTBAUNEU (Germany; 20 cities and districts; 7 million inhabitants)

ALTBAUNEU - an initiative of districts and cities in North Rhine-Westphalia

The energetic refurbishment of buildings harbours a great deal of potential. A high quota is a key factor in the attainment of climate protection goals. At the same time, the market is also of interest to the local economy financially. The network ALTBAUNEU tackles exactly this aspect. In 2005, several municipalities in North Rhine-Westphalia launched a pilot project. The network is now coordinated centrally and developed continuously by the EnergieAgentur.NRW. Individual campaigns such as the house-to-house advisory service and awards campaign for well-refurbished buildings have been developed with municipalities as special milestones, discussed in guides and made available to all partners. Local campaigns and measures can thus be coordinated simply and easily, advertised jointly and synergies harnessed. By involving local trades, architects, engineers, and (savings) banks, the added value is kept in the region. The website has been set up as an information platform for inhabitants. In the past three years, the number of users has increased from 40,000 to 70,000. Since 2013, the number of participating municipalities and districts has risen from 16 to 20 – together they are home to more than 40 percent of the population of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Future space Thayaland (Austria; 15 municipalities with 27,470 inhabitants)

“Electric mobility Thayaland” moved by solar power

It all began with a vision: a 100 percent regional energy supply in Thayaland. Building on the long-standing tradition as a model climate and energy ‘future region’ (since 2009), the aim is to create further added value in the region. The founding of Thayaland GmbH with its “e-mobil Thayaland” project in collaboration with local inhabitants, businesses and institutions constitutes another major step in this direction. The project management company is responsible for the local electric car sharing scheme, searches for roof space for solar energy and raises the capital for projects by involving citizens and cooperating with regional banks. In the first ten days, 35,000 Euros were raised through loan agreements – that’s 20 percent of the planned budget! The “Solarstrom, e-mobil Thayaland und mehr” campaign was officially launched in April 2016. According to the slogan of “Sonne in den Tank” [“Sun in the Tank”], solar power plants are being installed on suitable roofs (max. output 250 kWp). This in turn enables five electric vehicles to be powered in a climate-friendly manner. These vehicles are already being used by more than 50 people, who have covered almost 40,000 kilometres without generating any emissions. A further three PV plants and three electric cars for the car sharing scheme are ready for implementation and currently require financing.