The City of Heidelberg by linking energy efficiency and local employment efforts is promoting job creation through clean energy. By encouraging energy retrofits, existing jobs in the building trades can be guaranteed while new ones can be created, primarily in small- and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs). This is done by identifying and making use of trade, industry, and commerce potential in the labor market; a local energy agency for Heidleberg (Kilmaschutz-und Energieberatungs Agnetur fur Heidelberg) works on supporting individual citizens and businesses invovled in projects by giving infomration and doing environmental consulting work involved in projects.
The Energy Efficiency Agency was initiated by the Mayor for Environment and Energy of the City of Heidelberg, and directed by the Heidelberg Office for Environmental Protection, Energy and Health Promotion. The agency is not only a way to combine local employment efforts and climate protection measures, but also brings in participatory methods of working through stakeholder involvement. The goal of the Agency is to reach the energy saving potential of approximately 6 million MWh per year in the Rhine-Neckar Region; increasing the rate at which old buildings are renovated to 3 percent per year (there are approximately 378,000 buildings in need of renovation) would meet this goal and would create up to 1,100 work places.
Heidelberg is a city of about 140,000 inhabitants and has a growing population level. As it is an important centre for leading-edge science and research activities (it is the home of the oldest university in Germany) the potential of people that can benefit is quite large due to the high number of transient inhabitants who come to the university and then take back their experiences elsewhere. Heidelberg promotes many close partnerships with many other cities around the globe and becaue of this has the potential of leveraging change in other communities around the world.
The City of Heidelberg also runs an awareness raising and educational programme to highlight the federal promotional schemes for renewable energy installations (through one such initiative new solar thermal modules on rooftops have helped to save 320,000 kWh of heat since 1993).
Heidelberg's Energy Efficiency Agency is involved in job creation related to energy efficiency; the agency works to infomr manual workers invovled in refurbishing old buildings about the possibilities for using new techniques that will allow for energy savings. Alongside this work, the agency informs building owners that they are eligible to receive funding if they agree to carry out the marginal additional work needed to allow for increasing energy efficiency. The expected results of this work is that if the 378,000 buildings in the region were to be modernized at a rate of 3 percent per year, this would trigger approximately 110 million Euros in new investments in the region, which would create around 1,100 permanent work places (without taking into consideration all of the secondary effects on the labour market in the construction material industry and construction planning).
For municipal buildings, mandatory energy efficiency requirements, exceeding national standards, and a systematic retrofitting programme have been introduced. Schools have been a particular target. In 2004, a total of 17 schools were retrofitted with energy saving equipment, mostly under the leadership of pupils and teachers, but with additional guidance specialists. The total avoided energy consumption in heating and electricity is about 3.5 gWh/year, which translates roughly into annual savings of 180,000 Euros. In many instances, the City of Heidelberg has used energy saving contracts to achieve reductions.
As outlined above the job creation program of the Energy Efficiency Agency is aimed to trigger approximately 110 million Euros in new investments in the region, which would create around 1,100 permanent work places (without taking into consideration all of the secondary effects on the labour market in the construction material industry and construction planning). In addition to these benefits come effects related to increased consumer spending power due to energy cost savings.
In 2001, to complement work on energy efficiency, the council decided to purchase a quarter of the electricity for use in municipal buildings renewable resources. This represents about 7 gWh of electricity. The energy is bought the local municipal utility at a fixed tarriff, in turn the extra revenue collected by the utility is reinvested locally in new renewable projects.
Heidelberg's City Development Plan, created with social, economic, and environmental considerations, is a strategy to take Heidelberg to 2010. As part of this strategy, the city established an environmental budgeting process which applies periodic finanial budgeting processes, mechanisms and routines for the management of natural resources. Heidelberg's budget is meant to set limits on, and follow the "spending" of natural resources, using five - twenty resource accounts, and environmental indicators measured in physical quantities. As a result of the city's ecoBUDGET there has been significant progress, including a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions achieved by municipal properties (Heidelberg has also reduced drinking water consumption by 12% since 1990, and residual waste by 49% since 1990).