The Dutch city of Nijmegen, chosen to be the 2018 European Green Capital Award, and Ireland’s Galway, which was selected for the 2017 European Green Leaf, were crowned at a ceremony in Ljubljana. The city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands and Sweden’s Umeå also competed to become the green capital, while Cornellà de Llobregat of Spain and Mikkeli in Finland were participating in the competition to win the European Green Leaf.
Ljubljana, the European Green Capital for this year, has had its title handed over by Bristol of Great Britain in February. The award is for efforts and commitment of cities in the European Union to improve the urban environment, boosting awareness of the need for environmental change at the city level. The Slovenian capital dedicated the whole of June to energy efficiency. Over 50 events related to the topic were planned and organized in Ljubljana during the month.
Awarded by the European Commission, the titles of European Green Capital and the European Green Leaf, one which recognizes the commitment of smaller-sized cities to a better urban environment, were presented by Joanna Drake, deputy director-general for environment. German Essen is the capital for next year.
The series of events dealing with energy efficiency were overseen by Energetika Ljubljana, the city’s public power utility. In a bid to raise awareness about the importance of energy efficiency, presentations were organised with the participation of various organizations on ways to conserve energy at home and modern developments in energy efficiency. A series of events touched on the energy efficiency of the human body to demonstrate the importance of smart energy use. The programme included trail runs, hikes and yoga workshops.
Another segment dealt with energy sources for home comfort, with advice for visitors on the best heating solutions and other ways of improving energy efficiency. A cyanometer was erected to measure the colour intensity of the sky as part of a segment dealing with air quality in the city. The 3.3-metre installation measures key air parameters. The use of electric and methane-powered vehicles was promoted.