Charting green, digital success in cities

  • environment
  • knowledge society

Daniël Termont, mayor of Ghent, talks about our Green Digital Charter as a driver for ICT-based energy efficiency in cities in the latest edition of European Energy Innovation

An interview with Daniël Termont, mayor of Ghent and chair of our knowledge society forum, was featured in European Energy Innovation magazine’s spring issue. Below is an extract from the interview.

“The digital age and the explosion in use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) give us the opportunity to rethink how we live and work together. ICT can help improve energy efficiency by more efficiently managing urban transport or energy supply and demand. The downside is that ICTs themselves consume energy, and there is a risk that the savings they achieve are overshadowed by those they generate.

The Green Digital Charter (GDC) is an attempt by city authorities to make sure that doesn’t happen. It represents a commitment by our city governments to improve energy efficiency through the use of ICT. By signing, cities pledge to work together to deploy five large-scale ICT for energy efficiency pilot projects within five years, and to decrease our ICT carbon footprint by 30% within ten years. Implementation of the charter is being supported by the European Commission through the NiCE project, coordinated by EUROCITIES.

So far, 42 major European cities have signed the charter, including 11 capital cities. We have developed ways of comparing performance on ICT and energy efficiency. We have shared our experiences and learned from one another. And, crucially, we have gained access to an expanding database of successfully tested projects, tools and ideas.

As GDC signatory cities, we take part in three types of activities which support the fulfilment of our commitments. Study tours offer the possibility to interact with project managers in the host city and really understand how a project works. Secondly, there are technical trainings, which help cities tackle the barriers and challenges we face in delivering on our commitments. Finally, we organise roadshows, which are networking events that allow the creation of partnerships between cities and other stakeholders to develop new projects.

European cities have both traditional and new solutions at their disposal to become more energy efficient. Digital technologies are among the latter, offering us great potential for reducing energy consumption and for better managing our city infrastructure. We need to make the most of this as cities, by sharing our experiences through EUROCITIES and projects like NiCE.”

Read more on pages 34-35 of the latest edition of European Energy Innovation, available here



EUROCITIES staff contact

Nikolaos Kontinakis