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European Energy Award: City of Bonn honored for the fifth time

For its energy-saving successes, efforts in climate protection and exemplary projects, the City of Bonn has been awarded the European Energy Award (eea) for the fifth time.

Lothar Schneider, Managing Director of the Energy Agency NRW, together with Ilga Schwidder, Managing Director of the Federal Office of the European Energy Award, presented the award to four municipalities as well as to a district within the administrative area of Cologne on Tuesday, 25 August.

Deputy Mayor Gabriele Klingmüller accepted the award on behalf of the City of Bonn: "We are very pleased about this award. It is an incentive and motivation for us to continue along our chosen path. We have set the course for this against the background of our declaration of Climate Emergency that came with numerous action-oriented decisions in recent months," said the Deputy Mayor.

Every four years, the municipalities and districts must be re-certified for the European Energy Award. Once again it became clear that there is no such thing as a routine: Legal requirements are increasing, and measures are only considered positive if they clearly exceed these stipulations.

For the fifth time since 2003, the City of Bonn is among the winning cities. And three times in past years, Bonn did even make the European Energy Award in the Gold category - the last time in 2015. In this round of awards, the City of Bonn achieved 73.9 percent of the possible points and thus came in only just below the 75 percentage marks required for a Gold Award.

The City was able to score points for the current award on the basis of its good climate protection monitoring, the expansion of the district heating network by SWB public services as well as the consulting services provided by the Bonn Energy Agency and the energy consulting of the consumer center, which is co-financed by the City.

Two new projects were also included in the evaluation for the first time: One of them is the participation in the joint project "ZURES" on adaptation to climate change – a joint project with research institutes and other municipalities. The result was the creation of a planning reference map based on the outcome of a climate analysis to evaluate the bioclimatic significance of open spaces and settlement areas. Further advantages were the newly established bicycle rental system of SWB and its integration into the public transport tariff structure.

Exemplary climate protection activities of the City of Bonn

The beginnings of climate protection activity in Bonn date back to the mid-1990s. Within the framework of the energy and climate protection concept of 1999, more stringent energy efficiency standards were formulated for the first time with regard to the building sector and it was decided that energy concepts should be mandatory in urban land use planning and in urban development competitions. Within the framework of this energy and climate protection concept, a complex energy and CO2 balance sheet was also drawn up for the first time. The data collected at the time still form the basis for the annual update of the current urban CO2 balance today. 

Under the impression of the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster, the Bonn City Council clearly reaffirmed its commitment to municipal responsibility for limiting greenhouse gas emissions by adopting the "Master Plan for Energy Transformation and Climate Protection" in 2011. A BMU-funded climate protection and climate adaptation concept was used to show the possibilities for further reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With the introduction of a control center for climate protection, expertise in climate protection and climate adaptation was bundled within the city administration. In 2012, the Bonn Energy Agency was founded as an award-winning showcase project on the initiative of the City of Bonn, offering independent, free initial consultation on energy-efficient construction and renovation. 

As a UN city and headquarters of the Secretariat of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the City of Bonn uses its international contacts for climate partnerships with the cities of Cape Coast in Ghana, La Paz in Bolivia and Linares in Chile.

A glance into the future

In 2019, the Bonn City Council passed a citizens' petition declaring the symbolic climate emergency for Bonn. As a reaction to this and to a further decision to achieve climate neutrality by 2035, a comprehensive package of measures was compiled to gradually make a greenhouse gas-free energy supply possible.

Five concrete measures from this package and a comprehensive participation concept adopted from a citizens' petition have now been put on track and on the way into the budget planning:

  • Climate Neutral City Administration by 2035
  • Solar Bonn Initiative
  • Solar Obligation for New Construction
  • Photovoltaics Support Program
  • Advice and Promotion of City Greening
  • Concept for the Participatory Process "Bonn 4 Future - We for Climate”

Background: The European Energy Award

The European Energy Award is a prize for municipalities and district administrations, which is based on a Europe-wide quality management system and certification procedure, with which the energy and climate protection activities of the municipality are regularly recorded and evaluated, planned, controlled and regularly reviewed in all areas according to a standardized procedure. This is to identify and use the full potential of sustainable energy policy and climate protection at all levels of government. All measures that a municipality implements are accounted for and evaluated on the basis of a points system. In a second step, this analysis is used to plan possible new measures to be implemented in the short to medium term. If a municipality achieves half of the number of possible points, it will be recognized with the Award. If 75 percent of the potential points are achieved, the Award is presented in Gold Standard.

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  • fotoherkules/Fotolia.com
  • Birgit Rücker/S
  • Foto: Michael Sondermann/Bundesstadt Bonn
  • Giacomo Zucca/Bundesstadt Bonn

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