Gdynia is a dynamically developing medium-sized polish city situated at the Baltic Sea coast in the Pomeranian voivodeship. It is widely known as one of the eco-friendliest cities in Poland due to its high standards in energy efficiency. To remain a forerunner in this field, Gdynia pursues a diverse eco-energy policy for many years already . Among other activities the citizens’ education and information, a sustainable public transportation and the promotion of energy-efficient road lighting play a key role in this context. Since almost 20 years, Gdynia is also providing subsidies to its residents for the installation of solar collectors, heat pumps, photovoltaic panels and wind power turbines as well as for modernization of solid fuel heating to district heating or gas.
Education through tangible energy efficiency
In order to spread knowledge in consumers about options for lowering emissions in private households, the city organized various public events. “Gdynia’s Energy Picnic” on a local scale as well as the “Pomeranian Energy Picnic”, a two-day fair co-organized with the Voivodeship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management as part of the 8th Pomeranian Energy Days, focussed on topics such as modern eco-friendly technologies, renewable energy technologies or e-mobility.
Besides information, Gdynia also offers support for modernization measures to its citizens. A free thermal scanning of private homes reveals heat leakages from the facade and windows and encourages energy efficiency actions among locals. The results are passed on to the residents along with suggestions for thermal modernization and behavioural recommendations for saving energy. This energy consulting service fosters further energy savings and reduces CO2 emissions of the municipality.
The city also keeps their youngest habitants in mind. The energy saving topic is playfully communicated to children via the project “Every Watt worth its weight in gold”. In this initiative, kids are trained in practice how to look for energy savings in buildings by showing them the impact of everyday behaviour. Half of the funds saved through this project go directly to the participating schools. In 2017, thanks to those actions, approx. 26,977 Euros have been saved in seven primary schools involved.
Furthermore, Gdynia encourages its young grown-ups to go for a profession linked to environment topics. At the Ecological and Transport School Complex students can choose to become Renewable Energy System Technicians.
Sustainable Mobility for a Healthy City Environment
Gdynia’s public transportation is recognized as one of the most energy efficient and accessible systems within the country. The well-established trolleybus network is one of the main reasons that helped to decrease the municipal power consumption by 20 % over the last years. In order to further reduce the city’s energy demand and to increase attractiveness of public, the trolleybus infrastructure will be expanded in the future, including new battery-powered autonomous routes outside the electrical traction area.
The city is also working on the improvement of its urban bicycle infrastructure and traffic fluidity to promote sustainable individual transport. The Department of Roads and Urban Green Spaces is taking care of this within an EU funded project called Tristar.
Energy efficient street lights for a safe atmosphere and less electricity consumption
Sustainable public lighting is another flagship project in Gdynia. Thanks to a consistent policy of street light modernization, including the construction of new, energy efficient light posts, the city’s energy consumption already decreased considerably. Procurement of additional street lights that help to create a safe atmosphere for the inhabitants is conducted with respect to energy efficiency aspects.
Gdynia actively takes part in the Act Now! project to let others take part in these experiences and to exchange with European cities that share the idea of sustainable living and focus on energy efficiency improvements.