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International event recognises Bristol's green achievements

International event recognises Bristol's green achievements

International event recognises Bristol's green achievements

The positive steps Bristol's local authorities, businesses and residents have made in boosting the city's renewable energy supply have been recognised at an international event in Paris.

A panel of city leaders from around the world gathered in the French capital as part of the climate summit currently taking place there, which is due to conclude on December 11th.

Organised by the European Commission, the session featured a member of the European parliament and was hosted by Claire Roumet, executive director of Energy Cities.

Attendees included Gregor Robertson, the mayor of Vancouver, Canada, and Katrin Stjernfeldt, mayor of Malmo, Sweden.

A number of topics were explored at the event, with Stefan Schurig, director of the Future of Cities and Climate and Energy department at the World Future Energy Council, leading an opening discussion on what it takes for cities to be 100 per cent sustainable.

In Bristol, renewable energy sources have grown to make up 25 per cent of the city's power supply, partly thanks to local solar projects.

This was among the successes presented to the global panel by Daniella Radice, assistant mayor for neighbourhoods with responsibility for environment at Bristol City Council.

Ms Radice also discussed one of the local authority's action plans - the Bristol Billion. The aim of this initiative is to invest $1 billion (£664 million) in delivering substantial carbon and energy savings by making the city's buildings more efficient.

The project would involve refurbishing 56,000 homes - which equates to nearly a third of the city's housing stock - in order to cut down on energy consumption and help lift people out of fuel poverty.

Ms Radice said the council's aim in visiting the Paris event was to exchange ideas with other international cities and attract investment in programmes that have the potential to transform Bristol.

She continued: "We have the lowest per capita carbon emissions of all the large UK cities, but I have been sitting at the table with even more ambitious cities such as Vancouver and Malmo, which shows the challenge we have ahead in terms of being in the very top league internationally.

"We have a clear picture of where to go as a city but we know we need investment to help, and we have sent this message loudly and clearly to a broad range of people and organisations at this world summit."

Bristol City Council has sought to lead the way on renewable energy by installing 1.3MW of solar photovoltaic panels on its own operational buildings.

Approximately 650kW of solar capacity has been rolled out in 2015 alone and a further 250kW is due to be added before the end of the year.

The local authority also derives 5MW of electricity capacity from two wind turbines activated since 2013 and is planning to complete two solar parks delivering a combined 10.2MW of power in the coming months.

Businesses seeking to boost their own energy efficiency can start with simple steps such as using energy-saving lightbulbs, keeping track of consumption with energy audits, switching off unnecessary electrical devices overnight and at weekends and choosing an environmentally friendly and accredited cleaning company such as Aurora Pro Clean.

 

Posted by William Rodriguez

Image courtesy of ThinkStock