Towards Smart Zero CO2 Cities across Europe

Project activities: SmartEnCity’s main objective is to develop a highly adaptable and replicable systemic approach towards urban transition into sustainable, smart and resource-efficient cities in Europe. This will be achieved through the integrated planning and implementation of measures aimed at improving energy efficiency in main consuming sectors in cities, while increasing their supply of renewable energy and demonstrating the benefits.

The ultimate goal of the SmartEnCity approach and the combined actions is to move European cities towards the Smart Zero Carbon emissions vision. This goal should be achieved by a number of Europe-wide replicable strategies aimed at:

  • Reducing energy demand through the use of innovative technologies in building retrofitting, sustainable and clean transport systems and intelligent control ICT; as well as raising awareness of all involved stakeholders.
  • Maximising renewable energy supply, through the use of locally available sources.
  • Involving all relevant stakeholders and including citizens into the planning and decision making process is an underlying element in all steps. A holistic evaluation of the three lighthouse projects is also central for the project, taking into account not only the district energy efficiency but also soft factors, such as how the interventions contribute to an increased quality of life in the district and the whole city, the acceptance by the citizens as well as the improvements in the city economy.

The SmartEnCity approach will be firstly defined in detail, and subsequently laid out and implemented in the three Lighthouse demonstrators (Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain, Tartu in Estonia and Sonderborg in Denmark), to be further refined and replicated with the development of Integrated Urban Plans (IUPs) in all participant (both Lighthouse and Follower) cities.



Project is supported by European Union Horizon 2020 programme (grant contract nr 691883).

Project budget:  27 890 138,75 €

Project duration: 2016−2021

Project aims: Developing a highly adaptable and replicable systemic approach for transforming European cities into sustainable, smart and resource-efficient urban environments. 

Project web page: 

Project results: 

  • Retrofitting of about 2,500 dwellings and over 165,000 m2
  • Benefits for 29,300 inhabitants
  • Energy savings of about 30,000,000 kWh/y
  • CO2 reduction of 19,000 Tn/y
  • Increased use of renewable energy sources for heating
  • Smart lighting concepts
  • Innovative strategies for sustainable mobility (electric vehicles, bike and car sharing, biogas buses etc.)

Project partners: Altogether, 35 partners from six countries from European countries. The main partners are so-calles lighthouse cities Tartu (Estonia), Sønderborg (Denmark) and Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain). In particular, all of them are implementing the efficient and smart energy-saving solutions within one district of a city. Their experience is implemented by follower-cities Lecce (Italy) and Asenovgrad (Bulgaria)

Project web page: 

Contact person in TREA: Martin Kikas (, +372 524 5225)

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