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We would like to share with you our latest publication “Improving the Energy Efficiency of Residential Buildings in Revitalisation Areas – Toolkit” – it is published and can be downloaded from the EDINA project website.

The publication contains – among others, information on improving energy efficiency in revitalization areas and methods of comprehensive improvement of energy efficiency by improving the technical performance of buildings in the investment processes. The toolkit is dedicated to city/municipal offices with municipal revitalization programs or other subsidy programs supporting the renovation of private buildings, property owners/managers, housing communities/cooperatives, social housing association, NGOs, or other interested parties.

The toolkit is the result of a two-year project entitled: “EDINA -Energy efficient development of Special Revitalisation Zones and urban areas ”.  The leader of the project is The Polish Institute for Urban and Regional Development, while the partners are: the Energy conservation Foundation and the Initiative Wohnungswirtschaft Osteuropa  (IWO e.V.).

The videos summarising the EDINA project are available here: https://edina.irmir.pl/improving-energy-efficiency-of-buildings-in-revitalization-areas-films/

Within the project duration a series of webinars under “Revitalization Academy” was organized. Webinars were recorded and those in English were covering the topics ( link available under the title):

We invite you to check out the webinars and other materials that were developed under the EDINA project https://edina.irmir.pl/en/

We hope those would be useful and help us all to improve energy efficiency in Europe.

Three4Climate: Cities from Portugal and Germany explore climate action projects in Slovenia

First stop: Maribor

The study tour started in Maribor, a charming city with rich historical and cultural heritage surrounded by the Pohorje Massif and picturesque vineyards, with a video welcome speech and an overview of local climate action by the mayor Aleksander Saša Arsenovič. Through various measures to strengthen sustainable mobility and green infrastructure, as well as by setting ambitious targets in this regard, Maribor is striving to maintain a high-quality living environment.

In the further course, the city’s projects related to nature conservation, improvement of biodiversity and the spread of green areas, parks and corridors were examined in more detail.

The city park Three Ponds and the small island in the Drava River, carefully maintained by the municipality and home to many birds and plant species, are great examples of the protection of nature and biodiversity. On the Drava promenade, the swans have even become its symbol. Every year the municipality erects a fence around the swan nests and passers-by can witness the rearing and growing of the young swans.

Great attention is also paid to the tree rows and flower beds in the city. Public green spaces destroyed by improper parking are being renewed, and projects to create “urban forests” in industrial areas and conurbations are planned.

Next, the programs in Maribor aimed at reducing car traffic and promoting cycling, walking and the use of public transport were presented. These include closing large areas to car traffic, building new bike lanes, establishing a bike parking facility (Kolesodvor) in front of the main train station, providing free parking for alternative fuel cars, establishing an electric car sharing system, improving public transport, etc.

Second stop: Kranj

The tour continued in Kranj, the third largest municipality in Slovenia, located on a rock below Šmarjetna gora at the confluence of the Kokra and Sava rivers. The mayor Matjaž Rakovec welcomed the participants in a video message and introduced the town and its climate action activities.

Kranj’s sustainable mobility strivings and projects were presented, especially in the field of e-mobility. One of them is KRsKOLESOM – the largest electrified bike rental system in Slovenia with 75 electric bikes. KRsKOLESOM goes beyond the city limits and other municipalities in the Gorenjska region in a joint Gorenjska.bike system. Other projects include the Prostofer Project – a volunteer service of active drivers providing free rides to elderly people who need transportation and Kranvaj – a free e-minibus service running through the Old Town.

The participants were then able to learn about Kranj’s various greening, infrastructure and digitalization projects, all of which are part of the city’s efforts to achieve a sustainable transformation.

Among the examples of projects presented was the greening of the roof of the Stane Žagar elementary school, with positive environmental impacts (water retention, cooling of the building on hot summer days and heat conservation in winter), as well as educational and social ones, as it is used by students and school staff as a classroom and outdoor terrace. Other efforts include a commitment by the municipality to plant 1000 new trees over the next 4 years.

Among the infrastructure projects and future plans are the creation of shorter connections between different parts of the city by public transport and the connection of the urban area with the surrounding natural environment through a pedestrian bridge and a new bicycle path. Digitalization efforts also include the Smart Settlement Mlaka pilot project, which will make it possible to gather all the settlement’s energy and water data in one place and make it available to the city administration, as Tomaž Lanišek, from the Unit for Development, Smart Community and Projects explained in his presentation.

The closing topics of the tour were regional approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as plans to increase energy efficiency in public buildings in Maribor and Kranj. Both cities shared their experiences and touched upon aspects such as the potential for using wastewater for heating purposes, the development of a sustainable energy plan for the region, and the involvement of stakeholders in and financing of public building renovation projects.

With the virtual study tour to Slovenia, the Three4Climate municipalities completed showcasing their local climate action activities within the project. Having virtually visited each other, the community representatives and the relevant departments in the three countries were able to build connections which will enable further exchange of tested measures and ideas in the future.

Online Conference: Blue and Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Change Mitigation

Online conference: Blue and green infrastructure for urban climate change mitigation

The event was addressed to city officials, local government employees, planners, designers and landscape architects actually involved in the management of greenery, rainwater management and development of blue-green-infrastructure in cities.

The online conference, broadcasted live from the studio was watched by 252 people. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions in a chat. The interactive online workshops brought together 42 participants and were conducted in three small groups using the Zoom platform and the Mural interactive online whiteboard.

Climate NBS Poland Online conference: Blue and green infrastructure for urban climate change mitigation © Ewa Iwaszuk

Online conference: plenary session

The first panel started with a presentation “Good Practices from Germany as an inspiration for Polish local-governments: presentation of innovative nature-based solutions from Berlin”, conducted by Ewa Iwaszuk from Ecologic Institute. It served as a starting point for a discussion with study visit participants: Jacek Kisiel (City of Warsaw) and Bożena Zając (City of Mysłowice), moderated by Tomasz Bergier from the Sendzimir Foundation. The panelists shared their observations from the visit and perspectives for the introduction of similar solutions in Polish cities.

Panel discussion: perspectives on introduction of innovative nature-based solutions and implementation of best practice examples from abroad in Polish context © Ewa Iwaszuk

The next item on the agenda was a discussion on the experiences of transferring solutions from abroad to Poland, using the example of the Biotope Area Factor (BAF) from Berlin, conducted by Ilona Gosk with urban planner Agnieszka Kowalewska. During the discussion, the provisions of Polish law, which limit the introduction of similar solutions in local land use plans, were discussed.

Discussion on the experiences of transferring solutions from abroad to Poland, using the example of the Biotope Area Factor (BAF) from Berlin ©Fundacja Sendzimira © Ewa Iwaszuk

The last panel presented the results of technical trainings, during which planners and designers developed concepts of specific blue and green infrastructure investments for the cities hosting the trainings. The panel opened with presentations of sample studies from Warsaw, Krakow and Gdynia. Tomasz Bergier, who led this part of the conference, discussed with the guests sitting in the panel: Łukasz Pawlik (Krakow) and Jacek Wiśnicki (Warsaw), who discussed the prospects of implementing the developed concepts. Other investments in nature-based solutions undertaken by cities were also discussed.

At the end of the conference, Ilona Gosk reminded the participants that we all face the challenge of implementing the European Green Deal. She expressed the hope that the presented inspirations will allow the conference participants to take better actions to adapt cities to climate change, achieve climate neutrality, and that the presented cooperation mechanisms will allow the effective use of external funds.

The recording of the online conference is available on YouTube (in Polish).

Interactive workshops

Thursday’s workshop was an extension of the discussions started during the conference. Small groups and use of cutting edge software allowed for interactive discussion and exchange of experience.

The workshop entitled “Cooperation of designers and officials in the implementation of green and blue infrastructure solutions” was conducted by Agnieszka Czachowska and Karolina Maliszewska from the Sendzimir Foundation. During the workshop, the readiness of cities for the implementation of nature-based solutions was discussed and the main difficulties encountered by municipal staff in the process of commissioning, supervising and using blue-green infrastructure facilities were identified. The participants searched for solutions to help implement pilot projects in line with the expectations of cities and designers.

The participants of the second workshop, conducted by Ewa Iwaszuk from the Ecologic Institute and Tomasz Bergier from the Sendzimir Foundation, entitled “How to implement comprehensive and multifunctional blue and green infrastructure systems in Polish cities”, wished there was more time to discuss all the issues raised in the workshop. The participants reported the need for further work on recommendations on how to adapt foreign solutions to Polish realities.

The last workshop entitled “Adaptation of local law solutions from abroad to promote the development of nature-based solutions to Polish conditions” was conducted by Ilona Gosk from the Sendzimir Foundation and urban planner – Agnieszka Kowalewska. During the workshop, participants discussed the conditions that must be met in order to successfully adapt solutions from abroad to the reality of Polish cities. A map of Polish good practices, submitted by the training participants, was also created.

Map of best practices in Polish cities, created during the interactive workshop: “Adaptation of local law solutions from abroad to promote the development of nature-based solutions to Polish conditions” ©Fundacja Sendzimira

Conference materials

The conference was held in Polish. Recordings from individual panels and presentations of the speakers are available on this website.

Addressing Climate Change in Cities: Berlin study tour for Polish nature-based solutions and local government experts

Berlin: a frontrunner in urban nature-based solutions

Nature-based solutions (NBS) can be implemented in urban settings to deliver a suite of services to address climate change, such as reduced demand for heating and cooling, stormwater management, microclimate regulation but also support human health and recreation. Thanks to their multi-functionality and sustainability NBS are increasingly applied as measures to address climate change in cities – in Berlin, a number of innovative NBS projects have been implemented in Berlin already since the 1990s to address such challenges.

Constructed urban wetland in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin forms part of rain-, grey- and blackwater management system, combined with urban farming at pilot site RoofWaterFarm © Ewa Iwaszuk

“I was very impressed by the fact that twenty years ago, when the climate crisis was not yet a widely discussed issue, such solutions were already being proposed in Berlin” said Monika Pec-Święcicka, Deputy Director of the Wrocław Municipal Green Spaces Management Authority. “The reasons were different, and they were the same as those which made our parents save water and collect paper, bottles and metal”.

Visiting the most innovative NBS sites in Berlin

During the two-day tour, the Polish experts visited the complex application of the sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS) at Potsdamer Platz, the Roof Water Farm and Block 6, a test-site for innovative urban grey and black water management combined with urban farming, ufaFabrik a cultural centre and home to Berlin’s oldest green roofs and a solar-powered “sustainable oasis of culture”. On the second day, the Polish experts learned about thermal management and on-site water management concept at the building of the Department of Physics of Humboldt University. Finally, the participants visited Rummelsburg Bucht, an eco-district with a complex rainwater management system and an exemplary model of the “Sponge City” concept.

Mr Werner Wiartalla of ufaFabrik explained the synergies between green roofs and solar panels: the lower temperature on green roofs, compared to traditional roofs, prevent overheating and allow for more optimal energy production in the hot summer months. Solar panels, on the other hand, provide shade which helps with maintenance of vegetation on an extensive green roof.© Ewa Iwaszuk

“The trip to Berlin was extremely inspiring”, said Aleksandra Zienkiewicz, Public Relations Coordinator of the Wrocław Municipal Green Spaces Management Authority”. What impressed me the most were the really very technical projects, such as the water treatment on and in the buildings at Potsdamer Platz, where the treated water fed an artificial lake that could cool down the area in a hot summer. On the other hand, however, the simplest solutions, connected with appropriate shaping of road surfaces, adapting roadside infrastructure to accept rainwater, or directing rainwater through from a paved up square to green areas, which are an integral part of that square, seem to be the easiest to implement quickly in Wrocław. What I hope will happen and become a standard solution”.

“I think that the selection of site visits was very appropriate It has fully shown that nature-based solutions require broader and interdisciplinary thinking, but ultimately lead to savings and an increase in quality of life” added Monika Pec-Święcicka. “I was most impressed by ufaFabrik’s actions, especially the solar panels that rotate in relation to the sun, and do not require manual operation, but rather use the laws of physics”.

Exchange between Polish and German NBS experts

The Polish participants had also an opportunity to exchange with Berlin-based sustainable urban development experts: Brigitte Reichmann from the Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing, Dr. Darla Nickel, Head of the Berliner Regenwasseragentur and Dr. Carlo Becker founder of bgmr Landschaftsarchitekten. The expert discussion addressed issues such as the involvement of private investors in the planning and implementation of NBS, application of ecological building criteria or the Berlin regulations for rainwater infiltration and implementation of decentralized approaches.

Mr Marco Schmidt from the Technical University of Berlin explained the details of the natural energy- and water-saving solutions implemented at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin © Ewa Iwaszuk

“My dream for the city of Wrocław is that, in new developments, all rainwater would have to be managed on site and that buildings would drain grey and black water separately, giving great opportunities for further use of such wastewater – which we could already see in Berlin – for the benefit of people and the environment” commented Aleksandra Zienkiewicz.

The study tour was part of the “Climate NBS Poland” EUKI project. The project aims to increase the understanding, acceptance and uptake of multifunctional NBS as a cost-effective urban climate mitigation and climate protection measure. By initiating and fostering cooperation and exchange between Polish and German planning, engineering and policy experts, the project seeks to build capacity, knowledge and skills among city officials, municipal staff and landscape planners to enable the conceptual and technical design and implementation of NBS.

Aleksandra Zienkiewicz and Monika Pec-Święcicka from the Wrocław Municipal Green Spaces Management Authority agreed the study visit served as an inspiration for innovative solutions that could be implemented in Wrocław © Ewa Iwaszuk

© Ewa Iwaszuk

© Ewa Iwaszuk

© Ewa Iwaszuk

© Ewa Iwaszuk

© Ewa Iwaszuk

© Ewa Iwaszuk