SmartEnCity Site Vitoria-Gasteiz

Country & City

  • Spain
  • Vitoria-Gasteiz

Project

Contact Information

Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital of the Basque Country and one of the leading European cities investing in green economy. The city, which was the European Green Capital in 2012, has 240 000 inhabitants and a high proportion of green public areas, ensuring that the entire population lives within 300 metres of an open green space. Numerous tangible measures are in place to assist and increase biodiversity and ecosystem services. Vitoria-Gasteiz is committed to becoming smarter, using modern technologies to improve its citizens’ quality of life. Citizens play a key role in the definition of strategies covering ICT, mobility, energy and the urban environment, working together with public bodies, the private sector and research agents.

The implementation area of the SmartEnCity project in Vitoria-Gasteiz is the Coronación neighbourhood, which is a highly vulnerable area from a social and energy-efficiency point of view. With the focus on neighbourhood regeneration, the actions in the demo site cover three main areas:

  • energy rehabilitation of facade and building roofs in 1313 homes;
  • installation of a central heating system and a wood-fired hot water boiler;
  • rehabilitation of public spaces (streets, squares, pavement, benches, landscaping, etc.).

* Detailed information regarding the technical and financial performance will be available at a later stage.

The planned measures will reduce energy demand in the neighbourhood, increase the use of renewable energy, improve the comfort level of buildings, save costs on space heating and hot water and involve local residents in project planning.

Regulatory & Administrative

Regulatory & Administrative
Country
Encountered barriers
Solution
Spain

The Spanish electricity market has been running into deficit in recent years, known as a ‘tariff deficit’, largely as a result of the cost of running the country’s electrical system exceeding the revenues generated by the sales of power. In 2016, the Spanish government proposed a new deficit reduction measure called the ‘sun tax’ that increases the price of self-generated solar power, largely based around photovoltaic technology. According to Spain’s Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), the new law requires self-consumption photovolatic system owners to pay the same grid fees that all electricity consumers in Spain pay, plus the so-called ‘sun tax‘.

This regulation does not affect the project directly but it has removed the photovoltaic technology from the catalogue of possible technological solutions.

N/A

Spain

The deployment of district heating is a relatively new concept in Spain, and ownership and exploitation of the system, which needs political decisions regarding the involvement of the public sector, can delay the project.

The team has created a public-private management frame where several companies, together with the municipality of Vitoria Gasteiz, have signed an agreement for the management and exploitation of the district heating network.

N/A

Spain

Energy data monitoring is an important part of the project but unfortunately this collides directly with the Data Protection Law.

The solution would be to ask the owners to sign agreements that their energy monitoring data can be used for research, evaluation and energy management purposes.

N/A

Spain

The structure of ownership (mostly family-owned apartments) and property laws in Spain can also be barriers for the normal development of the project. Apartment owners in Coronación district have a decision-making power and an agreement from the community is needed before reaching any decision to undertake integral building refurbishment projects, and/or to connect to the district heating.

To face this challenge the team has developed a direct intermediate strategy with the neighbours through multiple meetings to inform them and to be sure that any decision taken has been done with a thorough knowledge of the project.

N/A

Social

Social
Country
Encountered barriers
Solution
Spain

The project aims to develop a district heating network, so many of the tenants need to get used to a centralised heating system. Nowadays, many of the tenants use individual heating systems and this change of model will be a challenge, both for the tenants and for the project managers.

The new public-private framework regarding the district heating network involves stakeholders from different backgrounds. Some of them come from important energy facility management companies and, taking advantage of this expertise, they will work to promote this new energy model , training programmes and ad hoc material with the tenants. Additionally, simulations will be shown to the tenants so that they can see, very specifically, which savings the new heating network will achieve and how this new model would positively affect their everyday budgets.

N/A

Best Practices

Best Practices
Country

Description

Links to lessons learned
Spain

The SmartEnCity project has developed a citizen engagement plan, taking into consideration the local conditions of each lighthouse city. As part of this, a qualitative research has been developed to map the citizen engagement reality of Vitoria Gasteiz, which is called the Citizen Engagement Strategy Model. The purpose of this model is to create a frame that can be useful for cities that are developing citizen engagement strategies involving the offer of innovative services and products. Additionally, the Communication and Citizen Engagement Committee (CCPC) was created within the governance structure of the Vitoria-Gasteiz’s lighthouse project in order to promote and guarantee the community involvement and citizen engagement.

The engagement activities in Vitoria Gasteiz include the involvement of the neighbourhood associations; door-to-door invitations to a meeting presenting the project; an exhibition for the residents of the refurbishing typologies, as well as a demonstration of how the connection to the district heating will take place; identification of lead users or early adopters who will be offered some workshops where they can learn from the experiences of other renovation projects, and be given the opportunity to visit the projects.

The tenants are being continuously informed about the benefits of the project through the information office opened within the Coronación district, and through specific dissemination actions that take place periodically to strengthen neighbours’ engagement. Ad hoc dissemination material has also been created and distributed among the tenants. Another important point related to communication with the stakeholders is that, as a rule, there is a single interlocutor with each community making the communication much easier and more direct, so that each community always talks with the same person to manage all the issues related to the project.

Challenges

Challenges
Country

Description

Links to lessons learned
Spain

Smart city projects normally implement relatively new technologies, thus increasing the financial risk due to the uncertainty of their success or impact. This sometimes makes it difficult to find the time and proper resources necessary to implement, test, launch and evaluate the results of these technologies. In spite of everything, in the last years, governments, private companies and investors are showing increasing interest in developing and financing this type of project, due to the impact they can have on cities in terms of environmental sustainability, economic competitiveness and improvement in citizens’ quality of life. The public sector, in particular, is more willing to take on the financial risk of the uncertainty of the projects for the benefit of its citizens.

One important financial risk is not reaching the target of 750 homes adhering to the project in terms of connection to the new district heating infrastructure. This is the minimum in order to guarantee the economic feasibility of the business exploitation.

Energy: 

* Detailed information regarding the technical and financial performance will be available at a later stage.

The solutions being implemented in Vitoria-Gasteiz are:

Energy efficiency in buildings

  • Retrofitting the building envelope
    • 750 dwellings (60 000 m²) in the Coronación district will be insulated
    • Existing energy systems will be replaced with a connection to the district heating

Energy systems integration

  • District heating and cooling
    • A new biomass (wood chip) district heating network will be deployed, and integrated energy management systems will optimise efficiency in homes, buildings and districts
  • Biomass boilers
Mobility & transport: 
  • Clean fuels and fuelling infrastructure
  • Electric, hybrid and clean vehicles
    • Acquisition of electric vehicles (taxis and private cars) will be granted, and the recharge network will be extended
ICT: 
  • Building energy management system
  • Neighbourhood energy management system