Press release

International specialists analyse the SmartEnCity initiative

16 June 2022
Especialistas internacionales analizan en clave energética el proyecto SmartEnCity en el barrio de Coronación (Vitoria-Gasteiz)

International experts analyse the SmartEnCity project in the Coronación district (Vitoria-Gasteiz) from an energy point of view

The European project is holding its final conference on 14 and 15 June at the Europa Conference and Exhibition Centre in Vitoria-Gasteiz

For 6 years now, the cities of Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country), Tartu (Estonia) and Sonderborg (Denmark) have been the “lighthouse” cities where smart solutions have been implemented within the framework of the European SmartEnCity project: a project that aims to design a common strategy for the creation of carbon-free smart cities as part of the Horizon 2020 R&D&I Programme.

The SmartEnCity consortium, made up of 38 entities from six countries (Germany, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Italy and Spain) has carried out the project simultaneously in these three cities. TECNALIA has been the coordinator on a European level, and the Basque Government, Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council, EVE-Basque Energy Agency, Giroa-Veolia, and Visesa (which acts as local coordinator) have taken part in the project in the Coronación district, together with the MONDRAGON Corporation cooperatives; ETIC, Fagor Ederlan, KREAN, LKS IT Infrastructuras, Mondragon Unibertsitatea and Ondoan.

Now it is time to take stock at the final conference that will take place on 14 and 15 June at the Europa Conference and Exhibition Centre in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Over two days, international experts and representatives from several European cities will analyse the development and results of the Coronación district project, as well as the other lighthouse cities. There will also be expert panels, interactive sessions and networking workshops that will transfer experiences and learning.

This meeting, within the framework of the objectives of the European Union as part of its programme toward a decarbonised future, will also have the insight of representatives of the European Commission itself, as well as of the Mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Gorka Urtaran; the Regional Minister for Territorial Planning, Housing and Transportation of the Basque Government, Iñaki Arriola; and the coordinator of the SmartEnCity project and representative of TECNALIA, Francisco Rodríguez.

Coronación, a global project: Energy rehabilitation of housing, public space, heating network and smart electric buses

The Coronación project began with the energy retrofitting by Visesa of 302 homes and 26 communities, in which the conditions of the homes was improved thanks to the renovation of façades and roofs. Visesa also worked with residents to help them make an adequate and optimal use of their homes, maximising energy efficiency, reducing consumption thanks to improved insulation after the project finished, and guaranteeing its conservation.

The district’s heating network, managed by Giroa, has been based in the Aldabe Civic Centre since summer 2021. A community heating and sanitary hot water system powered by forest biomass was installed to fully replace gas. It currently supplies a total of 435 houses, in addition to the Coronación Parish Church.

The Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council will carry out the refurbishment of the public space as part of the project. As a result of a participatory process, the council will pedestrianise Aldabe Street and renovate the squares of Aldabe and La Ciudadela. The area will be modernised, and accessibility will be improved. The Department of Mobility and Public Space is considering redistributing the space in favour of pedestrians, minimising traffic and reducing its speed, as well as creating recreational areas with benches and planters.

More electric public transport

Another part of this project is the use of more electric public transport by replacing combustion buses with smart electric buses.

Francisco Rodríguez, Head of the Urban Transformation Lab at TECNALIA and Director/Coordinator of the project explains that “the work in the Coronación district is a turning point for how cities approach the decarbonisation of building stock, which is an essential part of their transition toward climate neutrality”.

The SmartEnCity project has received funding from the Horizon 2020 EU research and innovation program, in accordance with Subsidy Agreement number 691883.