Vitoria-Gasteiz , along with Tartu in Estonia and Sonderborg in Denmark, is one of the 3 Lighthouse cities of the SmartEnCity project (2016-2021) . Funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the project aims to develop a systemic approach for transforming European cities into sustainable, smart and resource-efficient urban environments in Europe by developing strategies that can be replicated throughout Europe in order to: 

•Reduce energy demand through the use of innovative technologies in building retrofitting, sustainable and clean transport systems and intelligent control ICT; as well as raising awareness of all involved stakeholders.

•Maximising renewable energy supply, through the use of locally available sources

Vitoria-Gasteiz within the project seeks to 

•Demonstrate Building Retrofitting: 750 dwellings (60,000m2) in the Coronation district will be insulated, and their energy systems replaced with a connection to the district heating.

•Integrated Infrastructures: A new biomass (wood chips) district heating network will be deployed, and integrated energy management systems will optimise efficiency at home, building and district level.

Vitoria-Gasteiz progress so far : 

In the second half of 2019, the first round of retrofitting works were completed in demo district Coronación, and the monitoring started to proof the reduced energy consumption. In the second phase of retrofitting works, another nine buildings will receive new envelopes and roofs to improve the thermal performance. Also, the preparation of the 3rd and last phase of retrofitting has already started, in which, eleven buildings shall be renovated within this year. 

On February 2020, the tender on District Heating was awarded by the Municipality. This means that, Vitoria Gasteiz will see soon how the network deployment works start in the streets of Coronación demo district.

Citizen engagement 

Citizen engagement has been the real challenge. Transmitting to the occupants the necessity of energy efficiency has required a giant effort from the beginning, being very aware that success could only be ensured by transmitting all the necessary information and solving the questions and concerns about the project in a fast and effective way.

To inform the occupants, many activities and dissemination materials have been produced. On April 2016 two information sessions were held with the participation or more than 550 attendees. In the fall of that year, the first six preliminary projects were exhibited and a citizen information office was opened where citizens were able to be informed in depth.

During 2017, the information process continued by organizing meetings with building owners, Press Conferences and information sessions for citizens, a new site office was also opened in the centre of Coronación District.

The main engagement effort has been made in the first years of the project although has continued as the project has gone forward.