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The effects of global warming are now being felt worldwide. Protecting our climate and reducing the consumption of fossil fuels are therefore of paramount importance. In Innsbruck, the capital city of the state of Tyrol, the course has been set for a resource-efficient future. Investment in public transport and the expansion of the cycling and sidewalk networks are making environmentally friendly mobility a practical reality.
In its Energy Plan 2050, Innsbruck set clear goals for reducing energy demand and increasing the proportion of renewables. In cooperation with the Innsbruck Municipal Real Estate Agency (Innsbrucker Immobiliengesellschaft, IIG) and the Innsbruck Municipal Utilities Company (Innsbrucker Kommunalbetriebe, IKB), the city government is implementing environmentally friendly initiatives and projects to bring Innsbruck closer to its goal of energy autonomy. The moves will effect a lasting improvement in quality of life for the city’s residents. With climate protection, it is important to make long-term plans – including ones that will benefit future generations. Based on the as-is data from Innsbruck’s previous energy development plan, scenarios were modeled for possible developments in the city’s energy consumption up to the year 2050. Important steps for implementation include a comprehensive renovation rate of 1.3 percent per year and a replacement rate for heating systems of 3 percent per year. In addition, starting in 2021, fossil fuels are no longer to be used in new buildings or renovations.

Innsbruck is implementing a diverse range of measures to make its Energy Plan 2050 a success. In addition to information and awareness campaigns, the city is drawing on existing funding models. One example of this is the EU’s SINFONIA project. Investment here is focused primarily on the high-quality and cost-efficient renovation of residential buildings, the optimisation of heating and cooling networks, and the expansion of new power grids (smart grids). By means of technical measures, energy demand in the SINFONIA districts of the partner cities Innsbruck and Bolzano has been and is being reduced by up to 50 percent, while the proportion of renewable energy sources has risen 20 percent. City schools and kindergartens as well as residential buildings are being renovated to the SINFONIA standard.

Innsbruck is on an exemplary path to becoming an energy-efficient municipality. In 2018, the capital of Tyrol received its fourth of five possible ‘e’s. Countless excellent new building and renovation projects by the Innsbruck Municipal Real Estate Agency (IIG), the progressive changeover of street lighting to LEDs, and the conversion of the heat supply for the Tivoli open-air swimming pool from natural gas to an environmentally friendly heat pump – these measures all helped to get the city to the next stage in the e5 programme. The goals of the e5 Action Programme – Austria’s federal and state programme for energy-conscious communities – are to modernise energy processes, to use energy in a more efficient and more intelligent manner, and to employ more climate-friendly, renewable energy sources.
Innsbruck took an innovative approach with its streetcar and regional train network. Planning for the large-scale project commenced back in 2000. Since the start of the year, the downtown section has been finished, while planning is underway to complete the extensions as far as the market towns of Völs and Rum. The streetcar and regional train network offers an alternative to the busiest bus line in Austria.

The goal is to provide citizens with such a well-developed network that they increasingly leave their cars at home. Changes in mobility behaviour are also being taken into account. After all, the attractiveness of public transport also improves conditions for pedestrians: barrier-free access to stops, weather-protected seating, and expansion of the cycling and sidewalk networks all serve this purpose. Parking spaces for bicycles and the free carriage of bicycles on buses and trams enhance comfort and convenience.

For all those who prefer to be active rather than let themselves be brought places, city bikes are a great option. The bike hire system makes Innsbruck citizens and tourists even more mobile, while also freeing them from timetables, traffic jams, and the search for parking spaces. Like Vienna, Innsbruck is blazing a trail here – only in these two cities do the municipal governments operate the bike hire system themselves. City bikes are available to everyone who registers at www.stadtrad.ivb.at (German only).