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Vienna has started integrating energy aspects in relevant strategies and activities throughout the city in recent years. Thanks to the efforts of the Department for Energy Planning, energy is increasingly becoming an integrated part of urban planning. In 2020, the new city government declared its ambition to reach decarbonisation by 2040. This has now become a strong driver for acceleration of all activities related to energy efficiency, transition and renewables. The energy demand for heating and cooling of buildings has the highest share of total energy consumption in the city. Moreover, many buildings are connected to fossil fuel gas grids and district heating. The necessity for decarbonising the buildings sector becomes evident. In order to decarbonise buildings, the coordination and increase of refurbishments which include the change of the energy supply system as well as the integration of renewables and waste heat will be essential. The greatest challenges to face will be the transformation of the building stock and the adaptation of the gas networks. To accomplish these tasks, a lot of effort and research will be key. An important tool for providing a basis for decisions and strategies is the processing and visualisation of energy related data and maps.
Vienna has started a big step for energy transition last year with the introduction of binding energy zoning plans. The city is currently defining zones – so called “climate protection areas” – in which new buildings are not allowed to use fossil fuels (including natural gas) for heating. As a next step – and perfectly coinciding with the project duration – these zones shall be extended to phase-out fossil fuel heating systems in existing buildings (in the mid- and long-term run), a much more delicate and complex task than for new buildings. Hence, a lot more considerations and discussions on all levels will be necessary: with regard to data as well as to legal, economic and political consequences of phasing-out existing heating systems. To succeed in this challenge, Decarb City Pipes 2050 with its valuable European peer-to-peer-exchange and additional resources for necessary capacity building will be essential.