Drone view of the acropolis in front of the immense city of modern Athens

Blog #11: Athens, an Energy Poverty Advisory Hub to move towards climate neutrality

Athens, an Energy Poverty Advisory Hub to move towards climate neutrality

The city of Athens is one of the most famous cities in the world, with its unique heritage, but it has to deal with climate transition as any other city, also due to its geographical position and size. This is why it is adopting smart and innovative policies to quickly improve its resilience. We explain you how.

The City of Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece, with a population of more than 600.000 inhabitants (approx. 2.7 million in the urban agglomeration). From a climatic point of view, Athens has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, the downtown area has an annual average temperature above 19°C, with an obvious consequent urban heat island effect.

The rise of temperature is obviously a concern, making, in 2017, the Municipality adopt a plan for mitigating carbon dioxide emissions, setting a target of reducing emissions by 40% by 2030, a plan for adapting to climate change and a resilience plan.

Traffic congested street in Athens

The City of Athens has identified the environmental challenges and focuses the recent years in the creation of a greener city enhancing the indicator of quality of life as a crucial urban target. Since Athens is a city that suffers from heat waves, floods and poor air quality, the need of a cultural change to understand, support, and promote its green environment is primordial. To this end, Athens launched its Resilience Strategy in 2014 that mapped the city’s needs and suggested a set of practical actions for implementation towards an open, proactive and green city.

Athens aims at reducing the level of stationary energy consumption targeting sources such as buildings’ interventions (near zero energy buildings, smart grids) starting from institutional sites and facilities (municipal) and with the vision to expand to others as well. Generally, the city is on its pathway towards digitalization of its services and management of urban assets, introducing smart city solutions in its operation.

Actions foreseen include infrastructure improvements e.g. building renovations, cool pavements, green roofs, street smart lightning etc. Other measures include research on the increase of green spaces and percentage of shadowing with tree and vegetative cover e.g. pocket parks in order to tackle the urban heat island effect. Finally, the above are directly correlated with the vision of citizens’ and visitors’ raising awareness and behavioural change.

The City of Athens has recently launched the operation of an Advisory Hub to tackle energy poverty.

The main objective is to propose and implement actions for reducing energy poverty evident to many households within Athens aiming to be sustainable as a support agency for vulnerable citizens in terms of energy efficiency.

The hub will initially identify the households and map the current situation and the level of the issue for Athens. The next step will include the provision of energy related advisory measures, interventions and funding tools.

More specifically the hub will:

  • Identify and map energy vulnerable households in order to create a registry of beneficiaries and then proceed to the identification of the respective funding sources
  • Support the citizens of Athens for the behavioural change related to energy consumption
  • Focus on the funding sources related to the energy management and the reduction of CO2 footprint
  • Increase the active engagement of energy vulnerable citizens, the energy communities and green citizens’ initiatives
  • Provide advisory services and develop supporting material.

The hub aims to map the level of energy poverty in the 7 municipal districts of Athens and to support the city’s green transition and reduction of the CO2 footprint through the installation of available technologies on energy efficiency and potentially photovoltaic panels. The technological and IT tools to be utilized are under the fields of Energy Efficiency, Renewable Sources of Energy and Environmental Protection.

  • local visits to neighborhoods for the support of citizens in order to gain insights on energy consumption
  • identification of ways to reduce consumption through low-scale interventions
  • creation and operation of energy communities.

These roles are currently prepared through the training and capacity building of municipal employees.

Presentation of the Athens Energy Alliance

“Athens Energy Alliance”

Following up on the previous crucial initiatives, in March 2024 the City of Athens launched tthe “Athens Energy Alliance” aiming to claim less costly and clean electric energy mainly through Renewable Sources. The “Athens Energy Alliance” includes 8 municipalities within the Region of Attica: Athens, Egaleo, Byron, Zografou, Kallithea, Moschato-Tavros, Papagou-Cholargos and Nea Ionia.

The main objective of the Alliance is the production of green energy from renewable sources and its utilization in households with energy poverty. This initiative coincides with an era when the provision of green, low-cost energy to citizens is essential and a basic need for a leveraged Quality of Life.

The Alliance will form a social network of solidarity and support mainly for vulnerable population so as to provide them with resources and tools for the reduction in the costs and bills of energy. In parallel, it will enhance the overall population since the reduction of the CO2 footprint has benefits for all residents, the cities of the Alliance and neighboring municipalities.

Climaborough, at the heart of the strategy to involve the population

As described above, Athens needs a cultural change to understand, support, and fulfill the city’s journey for a better and healthier environment is of utmost importance.

The CLIMABOROUGH project is supporting the city to identify solutions useful to reduce the level of stationary energy consumption in (municipal and other) buildings targeting actions such as near zero energy buildings, smart grids etc., as well as the reduction of mobility energy consumption.

DAEM, as the IT Company of the City of Athens, is supporting the development of IT solutions and services for the city and its citizens, hence aims at developing an application fostering active citizenship and provoking behavioural change. It should create a dialogue with the city and make citizens actors of environmental protection.