A North Sea Way to Energy-Efficient Regions

The Kyoto Protocol committed the EU to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 8% on 1990 levels by 2012; however, the Green Paper ‘Towards a European Strategy for the Security of Energy Supply' highlights rising energy consumption and increasing dependence on external sources.

Additional tools


Projects such as this are helping the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020, as set out in the EU 2020 growth strategy. The EU is facing some tough challenges, including an ageing population, an insufficiently qualified workforce, the need for greater innovation, striking a balance between economic growth and environmental degradation, and ensuring secure, clean energy supplies. Regional policy projects across the EU are playing an active role in dealing with these and many other challenges, by undertaking projects designed to generate employment, raise educational achievement, develop renewable energy sources, boost productivity and give all citizens access to opportunities. The projects and the regions play a pivotal role in this, as they generate real results that contribute to achieving the strategy’s key goals.

The principal aim of the ANSWER (a North Sea Way to Energy-Efficient Regions) project is to help reduce energy use, by assisting businesses and communities to develop energy-efficient solutions and to create sustainable communities as the foundation of a successful economy.

The ANSWER project partners believe that raising awareness and generating low-energy behaviour within businesses and communities is a sustainable solution, and creating the idea within these communities that they must and can invest in their future. Transnational cooperation will play an important part, allowing ideas, experiences and expertise to be shared when evaluating how to overcome an obstacle.

Good practice and innovation

The project will demonstrate and evaluate good practice and innovative measures, in order to develop models, tools and techniques, which can be transferred to other regions within the North Sea. These will be assessed by a partnership of North Sea regions which will act as a centre of excellence, with the aim of reducing the region’s carbon emissions by improving the energy efficiency across different sectors of the community.

Ways to promote and increase energy efficient consumption patterns will also be developed, by working with communities and businesses, engaging and empowering them to increase their energy efficiency. The aim is to help meet local, national and international targets for reducing greenhouse gases, and leading to on-going reductions in energy use and carbon dioxide emissions.

The project will also work towards developing a Climate Barometer Monitoring Tool which will be used to monitor and visualise the real-time energy and climate performance of all participating communities and SMEs.

Work programmes

The project has been divided in to two work programmes. One focuses on working with schools and communities, and included the development of a Climate Barometer Monitoring Tool to help measure the carbon footprint, and teacher training modules to bring energy topics into schools.

The other work programme focuses on businesses, where the project has developed an inventory of what kind of voluntary energy efficiency initiatives already existed in across partner regions and was spread to local, national and European politicians to highlight the importance of voluntary initiatives. Local informative events were also organised. Carbon footprint tools available in all partner regions were examined. Pilot case studies about cooperation between businesses on an industrial estate have also been performed, and experiences are exchanged locally and within the partnership.

Draft date