Ghent reaching out to citizens in times of energy crisis
As energy prices reach unprecedented heights, the city of Ghent is responding with new initiatives for all residents.
De Energiecentrale shifts its focus
With energy prices on the rise, De Energiecentrale, Ghent's one-stop shop for energy-efficient housing advice, has seen a huge increase in demand for all its services. Requests for renovation advice alone have tripled.
In addition to continuing its standard services, De Energiecentrale has decided to shift its focus from long-term energy-efficient renovations to short-term energy savings. Many Ghent residents cannot afford to renovate their homes in the short term but need a short-term solution because of rising energy prices.
Short term energy-saving tips for all Ghentians
As winter approaches, the need for information and short-term solutions continues to increase. Many Ghent residents are worried that they will not be able to afford the cost of heating their homes. That's why De Energiecentrale has decided to provide immediate relief with information sessions that are open to all Ghentians.
These sessions focus on short-term energy savings and give citizens tips they can implement immediately. Many city officials have volunteered to give presentations and satisfy the citizens' need for information.
Ghent Climate City Ghent's promise to leave no one behind applies more than ever. De Energiecentrale organises events in community centres throughout the city, so that every Ghent resident can attend an information session in their neighbourhood. Information events are also offered to organisations, including socio-cultural organisations, educational institutions, grassroots organisations and poverty organisations.
Quick scans for companies
Ghent also has a program for businesses as part of its energy efficiency offering, with energy coaching, grants for energy-efficient measures, a solar coach, and an energy broker to promote heat exchange. Again, there is an increased demand for advice, especially from smaller SMEs (bakers, butchers, stores, etc.). Therefore, the offer is extended with additional quick scans for SMEs.
Quick scans are on-site energy coaching sessions that focus on energy-saving measures with immediate impact.
What Ghent does as a city
The city of Ghent is also doing its part to save energy by taking all kinds of measures. These include:
- Lowering the thermostats in offices and museums to 19 degrees and heating for one hour less per day. This is expected to save up to 10 % on heating costs.
- CO2 meters in all schools to ensure good air quality and avoid unnecessary ventilation (and cooling) of indoor spaces
- Holidays with lower energy demand: Christmas lights will be switched off at midnight, which means they will burn 9 hours less each day and the ice rink at the Winter Festival will be cancelled and replaced by a large roller-skating rink.