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Unexpected parallels and fruitful brainstorming at final Urban-LEDS staff exchange between India and Croatia

The Staff Excahnge at the Mayors in Action Training

For the final Urban-LEDS staff exchange, a representative of the city of Thane (India) visited Zagreb (Croatia) from 7-11 March 2016 to exchange knowledge and experience with his Croatian peers with a view to gathering new ideas and strategies for spurring on low carbon development in Thane. Sanjeev Jaiswal, Thane’s administrative head, set out for Zagreb with a number of areas where new input could particularly benefit his home city, the first of these being energy management and citizen engagement.

City staff provided examples of energy management in practice to demonstrate how Zagreb engages citizens and stakeholders and deals with energy management in the city. Engineers from the city of Zagreb discussed the European Commission-funded i-SCOPE project, which uses 3D Urban Information Models (UIMs) to provide an open platform for the development of interoperable smart city services. A discussion on the EIS Energy Information System provided a fruitful example for possible replication in an Indian context, as the group went into detail exploring the tools the city applies to monitor energy use as well as how Zagreb optimizes energy consumption through a service for accurately assessing solar energy potential and energy loss at the building level. Zagreb’s methods of cooperating with citizens and public awareness-raising also provided inspiring input and new considerations that could benefit the administration and citizens of Thane.

As a second objective, Thane aimed to find out about energy efficiency with a particular focus on sustainable urban mobility. The City Office for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development and Zagreba?ki holding d.o.o. demonstrated how Zagreb deals with transport at a local, national and European level with reference to Mobility Week in Croatia, Central European Green Corridors, charging stations for electric cars and the Ele.C.Tra Project. The group explored methods to increase the numbers of electric cars and how to construct more charging stations and brainstormed possible activities for raising awareness of transport and mobility issues. The participation of Mr. Kresimir Miletic of the City Office for Social Protection and Persons with Disabilities led to a particularly productive discussion on mobility rights for disabled people. Unexpected parallels could be drawn between the very different cities of Zagreb and Thane on the topic of traffic and traffic jams, and the group worked together to propose solutions for how both cities can address this common challenge.

Regarding sustainable building, the Zagreb Energy Efficient City project (ZagEE) provided inspiration on how to achieve energy savings in public buildings and institutions. The introduction of LED lights as part of the ZagEE project proved to be an effective and replicable example that could benefit the city of Thane. Euronet EURONET50/50MAX also provided new ideas for how to unlock energy savings in schools and other public buildings. Interesting similarities between Croatian and Indian cities arose when discussing water and waste management and approaches to water management were explored in the context of E2STORMED, a project focusing on improving energy efficiency by means of innovative storm water management and by increasing water use efficiency.   

Participants then went on a 2-day training of the Mayors in Action project, which included a study visit focused on energy efficiency, sustainable buildings, transport, street lighting, and encompassing training in planning, implementing and reporting on sustainable energy action plans (SEAPs). The event included insights into energy retrofitting in private households and the MLEI-PDA PadovaFIT project, sustainable transport and particularly mobility in the Interleuven region, renewable energy in buildings, the installation of solar and thermal panels and systems of energy management in local governments.

For more information, visit http://urbanleds.iclei.org/.

Photo credits: City of Zagreb