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Vienna establishes climate protection areas

Areas are identified based on their ability to supply energy needs with district heating systems and at least one additional renewable energy or waste heat heating system must be feasible.

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New buildings in the designated areas must have a climate friendly energy system
New buildings in the designated areas must have a climate friendly energy system

Austrian capital Vienna has announced a ‘historic’ step towards its decarbonised energy future by phasing out fossil fuel use in new buildings.

 

Since the first three “climate protection areas” were enacted in the city, last month, new buildings can be built in these areas only if they have a climate friendly energy system.

 

Smart city strategy

 

Vienna joined the Covenant of Mayors’ community in 2012 and has signed on the 2030 targets. Last year, the municipality adopted a new smart city strategy aiming for the reduction of local greenhouse gas emissions per capita by 85 per cent by 2050.

 

As a result of the climate protection areas, Vienna will be able to produce renewable heat for 80 per cent of new buildings, putting the city on track to reach its goals while securing its energy supply.

 

Each climate protection area is identified based on the possibility to supply its energy needs with district heating systems. In addition, at least one additional climate-friendly heating system based on renewable energy or waste heat must be feasible.

 

City authorities estimate that by autumn 2020, climate protection areas will enter into force in eight out of 23 districts of Vienna. The rest will follow in 2021.

As a next step, the city intends to extend climate protection areas and phase out fossil fuel heating and cooling systems in existing buildings.

The European Commission confirmed the exclusion of fossil heating systems by means of a regulation from the City of Vienna. No objection came from the European Commission, from other Member States or from companies.

 

Neither the European Commission nor any EU member state or corporations voiced any objection against the measure which the city notes could be interpreted as trendsetting in terms of climate protection and could encourage other cities to adopt similar measures.

 

As a next step, the city intends to extend climate protection areas and phase out fossil fuel heating and cooling systems in existing buildings.

 

According to Vienna’s government this is a much more “delicate and complex task” than for new builds but one that is vital in order for the city to meet climate targets.

 

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