Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs) show that 60% – 70% of energy consumption in the building sector refers to households. This fact was the key trigger for REA North to make it easier for Croatian citizens to contribute to achieving carbon neutrality goals by 2050. But, the digitalization of services for citizens is also important: technology can help make citizens aware of financial and technical possibilities and limitations, both in the preparation/implementation processes of energy efficiency activities and the use of renewable energy sources. Simply, digital tools help to facilitate citizens’ decision-making.
Digitalization provides many opportunities and is therefore a key sector that REA North wants to develop in the future. REA North created two digital solutions that will help citizens and other stakeholders in their projects, as well as help them to understand underlying concepts behind energy efficiency, renewable energy sources (RES), and other green technologies.
The “Green Aura” project is focused on learning using augmented reality (AR) technology. Through the smartphone app, AR technology seeks to engage citizens of all ages to dive into the AR world. The solution is designed in a way that citizens have to visit 14 locations in the city of Koprivnica that relate to existing energy efficiency, RES, climate mitigation, and adaptation solutions.
Across the 14 locations in the city, instruction boards and interactive 3D AR content were developed. This content aims to provide more information about each solution on location and to educate about energy, energy efficiency, recycling, renewable energy sources, etc., in an easy and understandable way.
To help citizens looking to decide whether the investment in photovoltaic systems on the roofs of their houses will be profitable or not, REA North (with the support of the “Social Green” project) developed the first such solution in Croatia: a map of solar potential. Through the platform, citizens receive a rough calculation of the power plant’s recommended power, investment costs, energy savings and CO2 emissions, and most importantly, the profitability of investing in a PV installation.
All citizens must do is visit the web page www.solarnamapa.hr, choose between the City of Varazdin or the City of Koprivnica, find their house on the map, and give information about their average electricity consumption.
For citizens that want more specific advice, REA North provides direct support through its one-stop-shop.
Both projects also support the alleviation of energy poverty and mitigate the consequences of the current energy crisis.
These two examples demonstrate the importance of educating citizens in an interactive manner. With AR technology being relatively new, it can be a good trigger to encourage citizens to learn more about subjects so relevant in these unpredicted times we are facing now.
On the other hand, the map of solar potential is a one-stop shop facilitation model. Developed in a logical and easy way, it directs users, so they aren’t overwhelmed with all the unfamiliar data they are about to face.
Around 1500 users monthly visit the website www.solarnamapa.hr, and since May 2022 more than 350 people sent inquiries asking how they can start installing a PV system on their roofs.
REA North’s Map of Solar Potential was hailed at the National Environmental Prize Green Prix 2022. The award was given in the category of local and regional self-government units for the period from 2021 to 2022. A number of cities are planning to join Koprivnica and Varazdin in establishing similar solutions for their citizens and improving the energy situation across other regions of Croatia.
This best practice is issued from our publication “Sustainable Regions in Action 2023”. Find out more by clicking here to discover many more best practices from FEDARENE members as well as an overview of our activities.