In order to meet its 2020 energy targets, Europe will have to undertake renovation of its building stock, which is currently responsible for 40% of total energy consumption. The EU-GUGLE Smart Cities project will test nearly-zero energy building renovation models at the district level, aiming to renovate 260,000m2 of living space and achieve 40-80% energy savings per pilot district, whilst increasing the share of renewable energy sources by 25%. Under the leadership of CENER, Spain’s National Centre for Renewable Energies, EU-GUGLE hopes to trigger uptake of building renovation technologies throughout Europe.

Towards smarter cities

EU-GUGLE (“European cities serving as Green Urban Gate towards Leadership in sustainable Energy”) is one of the very first projects launched under the Smart Cities initiative, and will demonstrate the feasibility of nearly-zero energy building renovation models at district level, in view of triggering large-scale replication of sustainable renovation models across Europe

Citizens generally look favourably upon renovation projects, fully aware that renovation adds value and comfort to their homes. Yet, despite technologies being readily available on the market, the complexity of the building renovation process puts up barriers to full technology uptake. In order to overcome technical, financial and social constraints – which are difficult to address separately – integrated strategies are needed at city level.

Over the five years of the projects, the cities of Vienna (AT), Aachen (DE), Milan (IT), Sestao (ES), Tampere (FI) Bratislava (SK), Gothenburg (SE) and Gaziantep (TR) will join efforts to combine the latest research results relevant to smart renovation of groups of buildings at district level and use this knowledge to renovate 260,000m² of living space.

By implementing a balanced mix of technical, socio-economic and financial solutions adapted to local needs, the participating cities aim to achieve 40 to 80% primary energy savings per pilot district, whilst increasing the share of renewable energy sources by 25%. The main output will be the integration of the results into comprehensive “smart renovation strategies”, which will be easily transposable to other municipalities.

The ‘My Smart City District’ campaign

Demonstrating the feasibility of sustainable renovation models is only part of the challenge. In order to maximise the replication potential of the developed renovation models and share the cumulated experiences of six pilots with other European cities, EU-GUGLE runs a parallel ‘My Smart City District’ campaign.

The campaign is the main channel through which dissemination activities will be organised, allowing stakeholders from other districts and cities to learn about the renovation strategies implemented in the project. This approach allows constant knowledge transfers between EU-GUGLE pilot cities and other districts and cities interested in sustainable renovation throughout Europe, hence contributing to the development of ‘smart renovation strategies’ with high replication potential.

The ‘My Smart City District’ campaign acts as a network of cities that have expressed interest in the results of the project. These cities have committed themselves to studying technical and economic feasibility reports, and integrating findings into their own master plans, which they can submit to others for review in turn. This network is intended to grow over time, to accelerate the deployment of integrated district-scale solutions for sustainable renovation.

EU-GUGLE is co-financed by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Innovation as part of the Smart Cities and Communities Initiative. The European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities aims to promote best practices and accelerate the market deployment of cost-efficient solutions for sustainable renovation.

Greenovate! Europe is responsible for the project’s Replication Campaign. For more information, contact Guillaume Corradino (+32 2 400 1008) or visit