Report on 2nd International Solar Cities Congress, 3rd to 6th April 2006

The report starts with my overall impressions and thoughts.  It then
lists various documentation I have brought back and think might be of
interest, and then contains a list of websites and finally my notes
from the various speakers.

1.    Climate change is the greatest collective challenge humanity has
ever faced.  Therefore dealing with it is everyone’s responsibility.
This means action at the individual level, in workplaces and
businesses, schools, churches, organisations and all of civil society,
in local government, national government and at international level. 
None of us can push it off as someone else’s job

The speakers from cities around the world were very clear and
convincing on the major role urban local authorities have in addressing
climate change.

2.    Ireland is in an excellent position by virtue of it’s massive
natural wind resource.  (It is in a disastrous position of fossil fuel
dependence by virtue of policy, infrastructure and recent and planned
investments in fossil fuel dependency.) Other countries with much less
abundant natural renewable energy are much more advanced than we are.

3.    Local authorities could usefully get involved in the energy
business, especially renewable energy.  It is striking that in some
countries local authorities supply electricity, in many countries they
supply heating.  Conversely, in some of those places local authorities
do not supply water, which we (rightly) think of as a public service. 
Now that electricity is no longer a monopoly, Fingal needs to think
seriously about using its own wind turbines, positioned as centrepieces
in its parks and other land, to serve its own electricity demand and
also sell on to citizens.

4.    Real-time electricity meters give people direct feedback on how
much electricity they are using.  This leads to a 15% reduction in
electricity use.  Maybe we should be requiring such meters in all new
planning permissions. Other ideas
•    Fingal to do travel plan for Council offices?
•    Need to ensure training of renewable energy installers – contact Fingal Enterprise Board, FAS, Fingal Development Board
•    Sustainable Fingal Plan
•    Incorporate Demolition Protocol (see into relevant planning permissions

Most useful/relevant documents            

  1. Delegate Manual 2nd International Solar Cities Congress    A4 book       abstracts
  2. A collection of case studies demonstrating exemplar ‘sustainable community’ projects across Europe    ring-bound A4    15    clear overview of case studies, very useful
  3. Membership in ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability    leaflet and application form    3    membership prospectus and application form
  4. Carbon Emission Reduction Planning    course leaflet    1    one-day course 25th May, Oxford
  5. Solar Low Energy Housing in Europe    course leaflet    1    technical course August 11-19th, Freiburg
  6. A future with Zero CO2 emissions    conference leaflet    1    May, Stockholm, a European conference for local governments on climate protection and promotion of renewable energy
  7. Renewable Energy in Maritime Island Climates    conference leaflet    1    26-28 April, Dublin
  8. 40% house a specialist brief    A4 booklet    16    report on research to identify the mechanisms for reducing CO2 emissions from houses by 60% by 2050, also addressing fuel poverty and security of supply and competitiveness full report at
  9. Carbon emission reduction model    leaflet    1    note on Oxford’s GIS model of building CO2 emissions
  10. Solar Region Freiburg    booklet    11    about Freiburg, its solar policies, map etc.

Useful/relevant documents about waste/materials rather than energy            

  1. nada less is more    magazine    60    free colour magazine produced by Oxfordshire County Council aimed at citizens, looking at how consumer habits affect the environment
  2. Commercial waste reduction pack    information pack        information pack produced by Oxfordshire County Council on waste reduction for companies           

Other documents            

  1. Tokyo renewable energy strategy    A4 page    1    target of 20% renewable energy by 2020, currenly 2.7%
  2. PV and commercial buildings    A4 page    1    about pv installation company in wales
  3. Refocus    magazine    64    Magazine of International solar energy society
  4. Transitioning to a Renewable Energy Future    A4 booklet    56
  5. Itch    A5 magazine     36    magazine about sustainability
  6. eco-architecture 2006    conference leaflet    1    June, England
  7. the sustainable city 2006    conference leaflet    1    July, Estonia
  8. Intersolar 2006    conference leaflet    1    june, Freiburg
  9. Emergency power systems and solar energy    leaflet    1    Florida
  10. Renewable Energy World March-April 2006    magazine        renewables news magazine
  11. Global Renewable Energy Markets and Policies: Context for Solar Cities    powerpoint printout        showing striking growth of renewables
  12. Beyond Green    prospectus    4    information on sustainable development consultancy
  13. The sustainable growth of Harlow    ring-bound    44    proposal for new sustainable urban area, by developer

Websites (why nuclear won’t help)

Notes from Speakers
These are most relevant by comparison with the abstracts and may not mean very much to someone who wasn’t there.            

Crispin Tickell
See Science, 24th March 2006 re sea levels

Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of IPCC
Overview of climate change.

Nicky Gavron, Deputy Mayor of London
Quite inspiring.

London has established a Climate Change Agency, which is setting up an Energy Services Company (ESCO) with EDF
Procurement by local government has a major impact on the market.
London has supplementary planning guidance imposing higher standards than the UK draft building code (they hope the central government will catch up)

CO2 emissions in the congestion charging zone  are down by 19%.  They are planning to extend the zone westwards and then to introduce a scheme for all of London graduated by time and zone.

Decentralised generation is part of the future for electricity, and they are working towards this.  Woking is their example which has led the way.

Recent study Powering London into the 21st century. (web reference)

H Ming
Dezhou, China, solar city, planning for solar cities conf 2010, will have solar-powered massive buildings and solar-powered light rail by then

Herbert Girardet

Burning 1 million years of fossil fuels a year.
Circular or linear metabolism

John Byrne

Dukes “Burning buried sunshine”; our society as future-eaters.
Own ref: John Byrne et al. Climate Change Perspectives
Germany 100,000 roofs => 300 MW of pv in 5 years
Japan 100,000 roofs => 400 MW

60% annual growth in pv production

ICLEI Cities for Climate Protection
World Mayors Co… on Climate Change

J Smales

Ref: John Reader, 2003, Cities

KB Janda

Solar citizens rather than solar consumers, incorporating education into solar measures.

Feedback on resource consumption affects behaviour.  Real-time metering data displayed to houseowners reduces consumption by 15%

viridian design competition – realtime data on website of academic green building

electrosave realtime meter

G Killip

40% house – analysis of entire UK housing stock to consider changes needed to reduce CO2 emissions by 60%.  See abstract and booklet.

Derek Taylor
Building augmented wind power.

Bill Dunster

Consider the limited stocks of national RE resource.

BedZed capital cost was £1500/m2
Current cost for such house £1100/m2
Standard house cost is £800/m2

If 5000 such houses built a year then capital cost would be the same as any other house (why nuclear won’t help)

B Gething

National Trust office
Pv panels payback period 11 years including grants and renewable obligations certificates.

G Battle

Case studies of green buildings  An engineer, very good overview of green buildings

Stephen Strong

Solar technologies in buildings.  Overview of significant work around the world.  US mission to UN in Geneva has pv solar covering, solar a/c
In Netherlands a new town entirely solar
pv equipped fire station in Netherlands which makes more energy than it uses.

R Smits

Vice-mayor, The Hague,

Duindorp, Scheveningen
Seawater heat pump in harbour for refurbished housing area

K Kappel

Cost of grid-connected/delivered pv electricity is 4x standard cost.  Sold as units

Sue Roaf
Lib Dem Councillor in Oxford

Overview of local authority CO2 targets in UK and internationally

Newcastle 2025 target carbon neutral

Oxford Climate Change Action Plan 70 pages, on website
Target set
1.    awareness
a.    awareness target – 25% to know about climate change and mitigation within 5 years
b.    unit for information
c.    grants for solar
2.    GIS – Geographic Information System mapping of all buildings using mostly already existing data to estimate CO2 emissions per building
3.    promote conservation

Energy Audits being done by post-grad students.

Particular focus on fuel poverty
Climate Change Action Plan officer
Energy Efficiency officer

Going to introduce Zero CO2 BRE building standard for planning permissions in 2010.

Donald Aitken

American Institute of Architects policy adopted December 2005 – zero use of fossil fuels for buildings by 2035

Eric Martinot
Global pv production is currently 150MW/month, annual growth rate of production of pv is 60%

250,000 employed in China in solar hot water manufacturing sales and installation
2006 RE status report

favourable or preferential feed-in tariffs are the  most popular RE suppot mechanism

Susan Ageton

Boulder, Colorado, pv installation in cooperation with private company with locked in long-term price.  Given expected electricity price changes, they anticipate savings over the 25 year period.  In any event they have certainty as to cost.

Josep Puig

Barcelona Solar Ordinance.

Since 1st August 2000, requiring the use of solar water heating in Barcelona.  Copied at local level all over Spain and now at national level also

Barcelona 1470kWh/m2year solar energy

1995 700m2 installed
2000 1,600m2 installed
2005 31,000m2 installed

Leah McBey

Dunedin New Zealand,

Resource Management (Climate Change) Amendment Act
Town has also adopted zero waste to landfill target.

EU Solar Cities
International Solar Energy Society (

Rajat Gupta

Climate Change Action Plan for Oxford

Thomas Dresel

City of 200,000
6.15 MW of photovoltaics installed
10,000m2 of solar thermal
Vauban low energy standards implemented by contract with purchaser of land
Builders reluctant initially, now prices are higher in this area, builders have learnt a lesson.

Now another zone in  Rieselfeld.  Here the tram line has been built before the houses.

Solar tour of Freiburg available.

Miao Zhonghua
Dezhou china

Paul Evans
Low carbon at the community scale

Bo01 Malmo
100% RE
2MW wind turbie
120m2 pv
1400m2 thermal panels, supplying 15% of total heat demand
Heat pump to sea and aquifers

Kronsberg, Hanover
70ha area S-E of Hanover
Grid blocks
50kWh/m2/yr heating demand
Passive house development of 32 houses with demand of 15 kWh/m2year
CHP district heating

Also Helsinki, Oslo, Utrecht and Freiburg

Sherwood Energy Village

Building and Housing Association conference on Sustainable Communities, Olympia 2006

A Wadhwa

Las Vegas.  The idea of a sustainable neighbourhood on the edge of Las Vegas.  No attempt to get away from the inherent contradictions in this.  Reminded us that there are cities which will be abandoned as oil prices rise and climate change worsens.

John Whitelegg

Change in real costs of transport, info from DfT 2010 strategy document.  Real cost of motoring static, real cost of public transport growing in line with incomes. (Therefore purchasing power for p.t. is static, purchasing power for motoring is growing.)

Travel plans, leading to 20% drop in CO2 emissions

Personalised travel planning
York intelligent travel, DfT funded 14 such projects

Car parking subsidy for staff/employees

C Fry
“making smarter choices work” DfT website – Appraisal summary table for transport measures/projects

M Lawton plant oil conversions

Cities for Climate Protection
ICLEI Stockholm conference