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Balance globally, evaluate locally (BALANCE)

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The project is based on a successful certification and quality management system for energy efficient municipalities, the European Energy Award (eea). Within the action, the existing eea tools are further developed to achieve a harmonised methodology and a tool for energy/CO2 balances at municipal level in general as well as individual hard and soft measures in particular. The tools were worked out in close collaboration with the municipalities, the eea energy advisors and experts and were supported by a comprehensive evaluation of existing software tools and methodologies. The new elaborated tools are easy to apply and also appropriate for the application in smaller municipalities. They are tested in 30 municipalities and after some revision widely implemented within the eea network. Finally, based on this work, a system of voluntary agreements between local and regional bodies as well as CO2 town twinning projects were further developed based on existing good practice examples in business.


  • The implementation of harmonised methodologies and/or tools for energy and CO2 balancing at municipal level in each participating country has taken place. Each partner decided on a specific Balancing Tool for his or her country. The tools were tested and the test phase was evaluated. These experiences are taken into account before the widespread implementation in each country. The target group for the Balancing Tools are the internal or external experts and the advisors of the municipality.
  • The Impact Tool for the estimation of energy and CO2 saving potentials of measures in municipalities was finalised. Recommendations made by the municipalities during the testing phase were taken into consideration. The implementation of the Impact Tool started in each country. The target group for the Impact Tool are mainly the internal experts supported by the energy consultants.
  • Apeldoorn, Heerhugoward and Etten-Leur, three cities in the Netherlands were certified by an external auditor and awarded with the European Energy Award®. Vsetin and Kněžice, two cities in the Czech Republic were certified by an external auditor. Kněžice was awarded with the European Energy Award®.
  • A scheme for voluntary agreements between national or regional Ministries and local authorities was worked out. In Austria and Switzerland commitments for CO2 reduction are already part of the eea® contract between the authorities and the communities. In Germany two Länder ministries plan to sign such an agreement.
  • An expert hearing about CO2 town twinning examples and good practice took place in Kaunas, Lithuania with participants from several countries. A scheme for collecting data on CO2 town twinning projects was worked out. Existing town twinning agreements involving eea® cities and towns were investigated. The first CO2 town twinning projects were initiated. • At the moment, around 450 municipalities are taking part in the eea programme, 130 more since the start of the project.

Lessons learned

  • Because of the Kyoto protocol and the commitment of the municipalities to reduce CO2 emissions within a certain time, they urgently need a system for energy and CO2 balancing. The municipalities would prefer a harmonised system for better comparison amongst them. Additionally, the municipalities also need a methodology for monitoring and calculating the energy and CO2 savings. This information was gathered within the regional workshops in the participating countries.
  • It is not possible to prescribe one Balancing Tool for all European countries because all (participating) countries have their own background and requirements for balancing CO2. However, all municipalities found it worthwhile to have a common harmonised CO2 balancing method for their own country because this allows for a benchmark on a national level between the cities and towns.
  • Municipalities from different countries could learn a lot from each other. Therefore an international exchange of experience is very worthwhile. However there are still a lot of barriers to contend with such as language problems, travel costs and different cultural attitudes. That is why there are only a few examples of a good co-operation. Further efforts to initiate CO2 town twinning projects are recommended.

Partners and coordinator

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B.&S.U. Beratungs- und Service Gesellschaft Umwelt mbH
Contact point: 
Anke Merziger
Gabriele Zink-Ehlert
0049 30 39042 96
Anke Merziger
+49 30 39042 54
Heinel Thekla
+49 30 39042-66


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In brief

01/01/2006 to 31/12/2007
Contract number: