Energy  |  Successes  |  02.09.2011

Breda - climate neutral by 2040

The City Council of Breda, a town in southern Netherlands, is currently running a project aiming to make the town climate neutral by 2040. The process consists both of a comprehensive insulation and energy saving programme, as well as of rasing awareness about climate change and its effects.

The project gathers over 50 action plans and involves 19 local governments in the region. Examples of action plans are:

  • an insulation and energy saving programme for social housing carried out by social housing companies that, in return, receive permission to construct new housing projects;
  • a local climate summit, co-organised with energy companies, banks and housing companies;
  • a programme training people on social welfare benefit to become energy advisors;
  • a "more is less" programme stimulating house owners to invest in energy saving measures, involving free advice and lower prices for the refurbishment;
  • an ecological footprint measurement service for companies provided by students, which helps to minimize the costs and maximize profit for the planet.

The key piece of the project is a 27,5 million euros investment in a 4 mW Green power plant owned by the local government, which uses local sources like heat pumps and bio-fuels from the surrounding woodlands, and supplies 6000 households with energy, 2000 of which newly built and 4000 refurbished according to the latest energy saving standards. The town has invested 30 million euros in this project,with the aim of proving that a household can be independent from fossil fuels and still save 10% on energy costs.

The Green councillors in Breda have pushed for this project, which alderman Wilbert Willems (in charge of culture, transport and environment) considers a success. He agrees however that his municipality is in a way lucky to be able to finance such an investment, as the town still owns most services, such as parking, waste collection, water supply and a library. As these make profit, the city council could finance environmental projects.

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