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Covenant of Mayors’ guide on financing opportunities for local climate and energy actions is now available

09 March 2016

The Covenant of Mayors published a new version of the 'Quick Reference Guide on Financing Opportunities for Local Climate and Energy Actions'. The document provides an updated overview of the different financing programs which can support the implementation of cities' Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans.

At a glance, one can get an overview of potential financing solutions, from grant-based programs such as Horizon2020 to financial instruments to locally deploy Structural and...

Reducing energy consumption across Europe: the role of the people

26 February 2016

By Verena Brennan, BuildSmart project 

With the European 2020 targets approaching fast, there is an increased pressure on Member States to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and increase share of renewables as well as energy efficiency by 20% compared to the 1990 baseline. These EU climate and energy targets have now increased for 2030 and the European Commission envisions Europe as a low-carbon economy by 2050, which means more climate-friendly and less energy-consuming...

Carsten Rothballer: The beauty of the smart city approach is that everything is somehow directly or indirectly connected

26 February 2016

Tell us, how would you describe GrowSmarter in a nutshell?

GrowSmarter is special. It aims to showcase a series of 12 integrated smart city solution packages with numerous measures in the three Lighthouse cities Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona. The solutions range from advanced information and communication technology and better connected urban mobility, to incorporating renewable energy sources directly into the city’s supply network. The project enables public...

Can sustainable office buildings increase workers’ productivity?

26 February 2016

By Constanze Böttcher, DIRECTION project 

Efforts to make buildings environmentally sustainable often focus on the technical side, such as energy efficiency. But there is more to sustainability than just energy efficiency. Sustainability is also about the people using the building. Users should be involved in the planning of a building right from the start, even though this may be difficult in practice.

This is...

Towards Energy Union: The European Commission presents sustainable energy security package

26 February 2016


The Commission unveiled a package of energy security measures to equip the EU for a global energy transition to address possible energy supply interruptions. Energy security is one of the cornerstones of the Energy Union strategy, a key political priority of the Juncker Commission.

The package sets out a wide range of measures to strengthen the EU's resilience to gas supply disruptions. These measures include; moderating energy demand, increasing energy production in Europe (...

New EU procurement rules: better quality, simplification and benefits for SMEs

26 February 2016

New directives on public procurement and concession contracts will enter into force on 18 April 2016, providing an opportunity to turn public procurement into a strategic policy instrument.

This new EU-wide legal framework will help cities to promote smart cities solutions by allowing environmental and social considerations, as well as innovation aspects to be taken into account when awarding public contracts. Under the new rules, it will also be easier for small and medium-sized...

How to renovate Europe’s buildings using less energy

26 February 2016


Practical Approaches to the Building Renovation Challenge is a paper summarizing the findings of building experts; i.e. researchers, engineers, architects and practitioners, from some 40 EU-funded projects.

Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and over a third of CO2 emissions in the EU. Most of the buildings that will exist in the year 2050 are already built. Renovation of the existing building stock is therefore key to meeting our long term energy and...

EUSEW 2016 opens call for Energy Days

26 February 2016

Energy Days is an initiative to raise awareness of sustainable energy use and renewables, taking place in June 2016 as part of the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW).

Do you have an idea for an event to encourage energy savings, inspire interest in renewables or boost business from green energy? Why not register it as an Energy Day? The focus this year is on energy consumers. Guidelines and support are available for organisers, and registered events will be publicised on the EUSEW...

Hans-Günther Schwarz: The 2nd ICT revolution will enable the use of smart solutions in all aspects of life

29 January 2016


Tell us a little about ERA-NET Smart Cities and Communities and its objectives.

The ERA-NET Smart Cities and Communities is a joint activity of the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe and the Smart Cities Member States Initiative. Both networks have been around for a number of years, which has...