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Four European cities collaborate on energy planning

30 June 2015

by Jonathan Andrews

The STEP UP (Strategies Towards Energy Performance and Urban Planning) FP7 programme is working with four influential European cities–Glasgow, Gothenburg, Riga, and Ghent–to plan and deliver sustainable futures for people and businesses. STEP UP is supported at the highest political level in these cities, and is coordinated by the University of Strathclyde, led by Richard Bellingham, Director of the Institute for Future Cities.

“Sustainable urban futures offer opportunities to improve quality of life for people globally – but delivery requires substantial changes in a city’s systems and behaviour,” explains Richard. “Through STEP UP we work with cities to help them deliver sustainable futures that fit their needs and opportunities.”

Cities have a vital role to play in reducing carbon emissions. Not only are they responsible for over 75 percent of Europe’s emissions, they also have the potential, power, and influence to tackle those emissions.

The project has brought together 12 partners representing municipalities, commercial and research sectors to develop enhanced Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) which address three vital themes: energy and technology, finance and economics, and organisation and stakeholders. These partnerships have led to a better understanding of city challenges and opportunities, enabling frameworks for energy actions that also deliver significant social and economic benefits.

STEP UP developed tools and techniques to ensure SEAPs deliver on CO2 emissions reduction targets and are robust in changing circumstances. These tools are shared in an easy-to-use guide available, together with a brochure on developing innovative low carbon projects, on the STEP UP website.

STEP UP is supported by a network of European cities and its teachings are captured in new Masters Degrees at University of Strathclyde (MSc Global Sustainable Cities) and Riga Technical University (MSc Energy Efficient Infrastructure for Smart Cities).

To find out more about the project, please visit www.stepupsmartcities.eu or www.strath.ac.uk/research/futurecities.

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