Rising sea levels are putting increasing pressure on coastal cities, which will be the first to face climate change adaptation. Among these cities, La Rochelle decided to move forward and to transform its urban area into a sustainable place to live. To assess the progress of the city in the development and implementation of its urban strategy, La Rochelle publishes an annual a Sustainable Development report presenting all the measures taken by the municipality in this field.
La Rochelle: a French pioneer in district heating networks using waste energy
In the framework of its City Climate Plan, adopted in 2012, La Rochelle has committed itself to achieve three key objectives by 2020: to reduce CO2 emissions by 20%, improve energy efficiency by 20% and increase the share of renewable energies in total consumption by 23%. To meet these ambitious targets, two district heating networks are already supplying the city’s households with energy from waste incineration. In 2017, a feasibility study on the development of a third district heating network using thermal energy from the deep sea has been conducted. In addition, the roofs of seven warehouses located on the harbour have been covered with solar panels and are now providing electricity to 650 households.
An ambitious programme towards more energy efficient buildings
In addition, a vast programme for energy efficient refurbishment has been launched by the municipality: energy and water use audits are currently being carried out in all the buildings owned by the city and 10,000 square metres of attic space has already been renovated. A financing programme covering up to 60% of the renovation costs for dilapidated housing units has also been implemented, allowing 16 buildings to be retrofitted. To reduce the city’s energy bill, La Rochelle is also working on the development of smart lighting solutions. Several schools have already been equipped with new lighting systems improving the pupils’ visual comfort and cutting energy consumption by 60% in each classroom.
By fostering the dissemination of best practices among its inhabitants and looking for innovative solutions to make the city more sustainable, La Rochelle is about to become one of France’s leading Smart Cities. Through its participation in the SINFONIA project, the city will be able to test innovative tools developed within the project for the design of an integrated energy efficient refurbishment Master Plan. If you would like to discover the measures already implemented by La Rochelle, click here to read the city’s 2016 Sustainable Development Report.