Our client was the European Commission. We applied our areas of expertise of inspiring action and advancing knowledge and worked with other European partners on research into energy efficiency and ways to integrate the uptake of renewable energy sources on a community level.
The towns and cities were:
- Almere - a new town close to Amsterdam.
- Milton Keynes - a new town north-west of London.
- Viladecans - a town close to Barcelona, with many elements of a new town.
- Ajaccio - the historic capital of the island of Corsica.
Specific activities included the submission of an integrated strategy plan, collection of energy data and influencing behavioural change.
Areas of research included:
- Influence on occupant behaviour, attitude towards renewable energy systems and perception of quality of life.
- Influence on the local economy and local policy.
- Processes in decision making.
- Marketability of eco-buildings.
- Cost reduction and added value of energy services.
There were numerous challenges for both the project as a whole and the towns and cities taking part. Each town/city set out to create state-of-the-art comfortable homes, offices and community buildings, while integrating various sustainable solutions. A major challenge was to keep up with the financial crisis and the resulting downturn in the building industry, while adapting the project to match with the building process and maintaining the high goals. This led to a prolongation of the project by two years and resulting in more ambitious buildings and solutions.