Saerbeck – a Community on its Path to Climate Neutrality
In 2008, Community Saerbeck (7.500 inhabitants) decided by council act to switch its entire energy supply to renewable energies. This represented a major landmark for approaching Saerbeck’s ambitious goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2030. The success in the course of many years of climate protection efforts is already measurable: By the end of year 2007, one quarter of the community’s total CO2 emissions could be reduced, resulting in Saerbeck earning a top rank position in the NRW-Solarbundesliga as well as being given the European Energy Award and the German Solarprize in 2009.
As “NRW-Climate Community of the Future” Saerbeck also functions as a role model in the realm of climate protection and climate adaptation, as well as in the development of an “Integrated Climate Protection and Climate Adaption Concept” (IKKK). Part of the IKKK are three central flagship projects that have already been widely implemented: While flagship project “Saerbeck’s Sunny Sites” focuses on investigating the potentials of energy efficiency improvements and renewables application in private and industrial buildings, flagship project “Saerbeckian Insights – Renewables Made Transparent” developed a glass-heating system supplying a local heating network that conveys the concept of renewables in an educative manner. Key element of the third project “Steinfurtian Material Flows – The Circle is Closing” represents the conversion of a former ammunition depot to a bioenergypark based on PV, wind and biogas plants. All these achievements and success stories of the Climate Community-Project could not have been realized without an important ingredient: the strong support of Saerbeck’s clubs and organisations, local churches, schools and educational facilities, and last but not least its citizens.