Climate neutral city by 2050 Gent


Name of the Hosting Project Partner:


Contact person(s) for Study Visit (Name, e-mail):


Short description of the TOOL/MEASURE 

Name of the Measure:

Climate neutral city by 2050 Gent

Type : (Autonomous  or Part of an integrated action plan?)
Topic addressed (please mark in colour):

  • Integrated energy
  • Transport mobility
  • Land use planning
Managing Organisation (if not project partner, please provide name of the organization and website):

Gent Municipality

Geographic Coverage (Country/Region):

Gent Belgium

Starting Date and Expected Ending of the tool or measure:

2015 – ongoing


Beneficiaries / Target Group:

Gent Metropolitan Area

500.000 inhabitants in Metropolitan Area

256.261 inhabitants in Gent

Rationale (starting point, challenge, objectives, initiator(s) and stakeholders involved):

City Challenges: we don’t need a smart city strategy, we need a city/urban strategy that is smart: data is foundation, technology as enabler, working together is smart.

In January 2015, Ghent launched a new Climate Plan 2014–2019, which will guide the city towards climate neutrality by 2050. To reach this target, the city will work with its citizens, companies and organisations.

An integrated package of measures (premiums, cheap loans, building advice) is available for citizens, as the city wants to double the amount of energy efficient renovations in the residential sector. Special guidance is provided for disadvantaged households.

The city launched a project to guide companies on energy management; so to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy production within enterprises. Two ESCO projects have been planned to reduce energy consumption in public buildings owned by the city. The amount of locally produced renewable energy should be doubled by 2019 by lifting barriers and facilitating citizens and companies.

Through a new mobility plan the city aims to be trendsetter in sustainable mobility. And as a last pillar, the city wants to promote a local, sustainable food system.

Financing (costs? regional/national/European public or private resources?):

The strategy is under implementation and the entire financial envelope is yet to be estimated.

Funding was ensured through various projects. The Flemish Government is also supporting citizens’ projects through energy loans. City subsidies are being granted with social corrections.

Implementation Modality / Methodology:

Focal points are dictated by the global evolution:

  • In 2050, 70% of world population will live in urban areas.
  • Residential and commercial buildings consume 1/3 of the world energy
  • Cities produce nearly 80% of the world CO2 emissions.

They base their development plans on systemic approach.

As 60% of the infrastructure needed in 2050 is not yet built, they focus on building new infrastructures with the future in mind: efficient use of resources, land-use, electricity infrastructure, water infrastructure. Creativity is sought for and encouraged. As future beneficiaries of the public services and infrastructures, children have been involved in strategy elaboration (contests etc.).

They see an opportunity in SmartCity concept, but the starting point is the BEI, by sectors. Until now they have concentrated on buildings and they will move on to transport.

Projects implemented:

1. Check your home tool – a tool to support citizens with information on energy refurbishment and funding instruments. It’s an online tool to raise people’s awareness about which steps to take, costs and where to inform themselves.

2. The Energy Central – home scans and advice. The biggest bottleneck identified was the information overload and they had an ambition to develop a social climate policy.

3. Living Streets – a public space experiment as one of the projects resulting from a multi-stakeholder transition area

4. Collective PV-project – BuurzameStraten, a project where they want to make use of the PV-potential of well-oriented but so far unused roofs. It also aims at balancing energy peaks and testing battery technology and electric mobility possibilities within one designated neighborhood, by simulating a virtual power plant.

5. Zawent-experiment – ZAWENT stands for ‘Zero Afvalwater, Energie-en NutriëntenTerugwinning’, where they seek to integrate our aims with regard to renewable energy, heat recuperation, and nutrient recovery within the context of a new neighborhood development.

Internal organization of the implementation of the measure / Administrative Work-Flow:

The municipality chose to work closely with citizens. They involved 4ple helix actors to transition from business-as-usual approaches to innovative approaches.

Collaborative designing of city development as well as raising awareness on the reasons to engage in reaching the vision is a key aspect in their actions.

Performance Indicators  (if applicable):

1. Check your home tool – 85.170 site visits, 60.347 unique users from March 2015.

2. The Energy Central – 117 scans, 143 credit requests

3. Living Streets – 2 street in 2013, 18 streets in 2016

4. Collective PV-project

5. Zawent-experiment


1. Check your home tool – online platform

2. The Energy Central – REGent initiative

3. Living Streets

4. Collective PV-project

5. Zawent-experiment


1. Check your home tool – 2014-2019: 33.459 CO2 tons for households

2. The Energy Central

3. Living Streets – generation of co-creation projects promoted by citizens

4. Collective PV-project

5. Zawent-experiment – Upscaling labo-scale technology, and smart public private investment and cooperation and explore systems transition and integration.


Strong features of the tool/measure:

1. Check your home tool – the programme’s code has recently been uploaded onto an open source platform. Easy access to information, after years of awareness building an current media climate

2. The Energy Central – home advice rather than a central information and service counter

3. Living Streets – the project has been recently transferred in Bruxelles. Public space is a shared living space again, more than a car-dominant zone.

4. Collective PV-project

5. Zawent-experiment

Weak features and criticalities of the tool/measure:

Small scale projects implemented so far need to be scaled up and accelerated.

From the starting, did you apply any change in design and implementation? Any corrective action?

They chose to implement and support small scale projects, to pilot and adapt according to the conclusions and recommendations they reach to.

What are the lessons learned for your region? For other regions? What would be conditions for potential transfer?

1. Check your home tool – necessity to have a personal follow-up.

2. The Energy Central – the tool is also applicable to industrial actors: energy coaching project for SMEs

3. Living Streets – Successful initiative (starting from a CO2-reduction ambition) but soon reaching the creative limits and touching the need of systemic change with regard to urban planning, mobility, etc. but with great effects with regard to social cohesion and city marketing.

4. Collective PV-project

5. Zawent-experiment

What are the next steps/follow up actions? (if applicable):

1. Check your home tool – what is the tipping point between futureproof renovation and non-sustainable measures and identification of alternatives, if this is the case.

2. The Energy Central – exploring the possibilities to design a home portfolio, where all data related to plot are integrated and accessible to the house owner.

3. Living Streets – What if we made certain streets or neighbourhoods car-free? With parking possibilities at the corners of the neighborhood. What would the effect be on urban planning? But what if we want to go for a 100% electric mobility, where car batteries become home batteries –and where do we then want to deploy car charging stations?

4. Collective PV-project – to establish the scale to reach 2050 ambition because of the availability of technological solutions but often the lack of knowledge or investment capital possibilities to start or scale up initiatives. Deploy the success factors for this project. How can complete neighborhoods be addressed in terms of energy efficiency and experiments be done with collective systems such as larger combined heat and power engines or heat networks? Or collective renovation? Or even develop energy positive hubs within the city?

5. Zawent-experiment – How can we redesign urban planning taking grand societal challenges into account (energy as not just an efficiency measure, but as a planning imperative). How to make citizens more than just energy users? Can they also become shareholders in new energy systems and cooperatives?

Additional comments:



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This