Special attention is given to energy efficiency in public buildings. It has been noted that carbon emissions, the use of energy and fuels have all fallen by 25% within 6 years since the new policy had been introduced into 120 educational facilities. The use of water has even dropped by 36% in the given period. Authorities are very active when it comes to the improvement of thermal efficiency in public buildings and modernization of heating system. Three public buildings have been already equipped with on-line systems monitoring the use of heat, power and water in order to manage current consumption and react quickly in case of failure. What’s more, Częstochowa is progressively switching from solid fuels to more ecological alternatives.
Częstochowa strives for diversification in energy supply. Therefore, it has been investing heavily in biogas, biomass, small-hydro, solar and wind energy, thus providing security of supplies. It pays attention to the fact that inhabitants are protected from monopoly on the energy market. Systems of sewage treatment and landfill site also participate in energy production. The city has adopted “Energy efficiency action plan for Częstochowa” aimed at energy savings of 9% till 2016 when compared with the 2009 levels.
It is worth mentioning that the provincial specialist hospital in Czestochowa generates hot water with solar collectors which, by the way, have the largest surface area in Poland. The facility is also self-sufficient in terms of heat production, it has modernized the hydrophore system so as to decrease power consumption and it is replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED lamps.
Częstochowa has been fostering green transition thanks to the synergy of the cooperation between energy sector, academia and local authorities. It actively encourages residents to acquire green habits, e.g. by means of an environmental portal “Energy and Environment” run in cooperation with Polish Foundation for Energy Efficiency. This website does not only serve educational purposes, but also involves people in active citizenship and decision-making processes concerning local energy policy. Financial support from municipal budget enabled dozens of citizens to install solar panels, while hundreds were able to replace heat sources with environmentally-friendly systems.
Częstochowa has acknowledged the significance of local authorities as a trendsetter indispensible for green revolution. Focus on sustainable development in the public domain can be also observed in other cities. The specialist hospital in Radom, one of the biggest medical facilities in central Poland, has invested 6.9 million PLN in photovoltaics and wind power. In this way, it aims to meet 100% power demand and become self- sufficient in heat generation. From 2012 the hospital will even sell excess energy to the grid. The next step involves installation of solar collectors as part of the Swiss-Polish Co-operation Programme. For the purposes of thermal renovation it has had all windows replaced, air-conditioning renovated and façade built with sustainable technologies. It is also preparing to phase-out traditional light bulbs.
Coherent energy policy in Częstochowa has contributed to budget savings, development of the whole municipality and it has substantially fostered environmental awareness among residents. Sustainable development necessitates an active role of the local authorities for the purpose of greening processes – other cities have now another shining example to follow.