The annual Eurocities Awards recognize cities’ outstanding achievements in improving quality of life for local people, addressing Europe’s challenges at every level: from helping to bring down energy bills, to supporting refugees as they settle in local communities.

In the award category Managing the energy crisis sustainably the City of Hamburg won the prize with its Horizon 2020 project MySmartLife. The project that ended in 2022, established a foundation for an innovative urban transformation strategy to get rid of fossil fuels. The idea was to understand what prompts local people to become an active part of the energy supply system, focusing on energy generation based on renewable energy sources, efficient energy use, and buildings.

There were three zones of interventions, all located in the Hamburg Borough of Bergedorf, where the 59 my SMARTLife actions in Hamburg have been implemented: zone 1 dealt with new residential buildings with above-standard energy efficiency; zone 2 was an ambitious retrofitting area, including the replacement of existing street lamps with more energy efficient and nature friendly LED; finally, zone 3 was a mobility intervention: among other activities undertaken here, the bus depot of public transport operator VHH has been equipped with an adequate charging infrastructure and major changes to the main power supply were necessary. Regarding future developments, the local depot grid has been re-dimensioned completely to allow successive installation of the charging infrastructure up to a fully electrified depot by 2030. In addition to this, intelligent load management has been developed and implemented. Energy for e-buses of Hamburg comes entirely from renewable sources.

“The award winners are an endless source of inspiration for successfully turning challenges into solutions,” said Burkhard Jung, President of Eurocities and Mayor of Leipzig.