e5 programme for towns and municipalities

The e5 programme encourages Austrian municipalities to act in a sustainable manner at all levels: in dealing with energy, consumption, mobility and the economy.

Many municipalities want to make their energy supply substantially independent from fossil energy in terms of heat, electricity and mobility while at the same time retaining value-adding activities, income and jobs in the region. As part of klimaaktiv, e5 provides consultancy and certification services to towns and municipalities that are committed to energy transition and climate protection. A network of highly qualified e5 advisors and a standardised rating scheme across Europe make it easier for the e5 municipalities to define measures in six central core areas of operation and to allow their progress to be rated by independent experts.

“e” stands for energy

The e5 programme was developed by Energieinstitut Vorarlberg during the 1990s based on the Swiss “Energiestadt” (energy town) model. In 2004, the federal states which were already participating, i.e. Salzburg, Tirol and Vorarlberg, in partnership with klimaaktiv, formed a national e5 office to develop and disseminate the programme across Austria. Seven out of nine Austrian federal states are participating in the programme.

The “e” in e5 stands for energy. The higher the implementation level for energy and climate protection measures in a municipality or town, the greater is the number of “e” awarded.

The awarding follows a standardised audit and certification process resulting in an objective measure available for the work in municipalities across Austria. Yearly accounting by e5 regularly demonstrates the achievements of the municipality in terms of energy policy and climate protection. The more measures have been implemented from the e5 set of measures, the better the rating. The municipality is rated as a minimum every four years.

The six areas which municipalities are required to address in the e5 programme are:

  1. Municipal development and spatial planning
  2. Municipal buildings and facilities
  3. Supply & disposal: energy, water, waste
  4. Mobility
  5. Internal organisation
  6. Raising awareness, motivation, communication and cooperation

To participate in e5, the municipality signs a basic agreement with the agency delivering the e5 programme in the respective federal state. In this agreement, the municipality commits itself to the principles and rules of the programme. In return, it receives technical and organisational support and advice from the respective agency delivering the e5 programme. Subsequently an e5-team is established which is responsible for implementing the programme in the municipality. This e5-team works independently and consists of the municipality’s administrative staff, committed citizens, experts, business representatives, environmentalists, etc. In the first step, the e5-advisor analyses which climate protection actions the municipality has implemented so far. The findings from this analysis and the resulting profile of strengths and weaknesses form the basis for the e5 team’s further work.

Europe-wide success story

Austrian municipalities taking part in the e5 programme are part of the “European Energy Award” programme – the European e5 counterpart. If more than half of all possible measures to increase energy efficiency, supply renewable energy and for climate protection have been implemented, the municipality is awarded the “European Energy Award”. Where a municipality actually manages to implement more than 75 percent of all potential energy and climate-related measures, it is awarded the “European Energy Award Gold”.

published at 23.12.2020


Gregor Thenius Austrian Energy Agency