The Austrian capital – and Energy Cities’ member – recently took a big step towards its decarbonised energy future and started to phase out fossil fuels from new buildings. Since 24th June, they launched “climate protection areas” where new buildings can be built only if they have a climate friendly energy system.
Last year, the municipality adopted a new Smart City Strategy aiming for the reduction of local greenhouse gas emissions per capita by 85 percent by 2050. Thanks to the climate protection areas, they will be able to produce renewable heat for 80% of new buildings, putting the city on track to reach its goals while securing their energy supply.
Each climate protection area is identified based on the possibility to supply its energy needs with district heating systems. In addition, at least one additional climate-friendly heating system based on renewable energy or waste heat must be feasible. The city estimate that by autumn 2020, climate protection areas will enter into force in 8 out of 23 districts of Vienna. The rest will follow in 2021.
Neither the European Commission nor the EU Member States or private companies raised any objection against the measure – a very positive sign that might push other cities to adopt similar approaches.
As a next step, the city aims to extend climate protection areas and decarbonise existing buildings. This will be a much more delicate and complex task but Vienna’s government is convinced that is a necessary one, if they want to reach their ambitious targets…And we agree with them: renewable energy and district-based approaches to energy planning are the only option to achieve gas-free, resilient cities.