Poland’s capital Warsaw has become the country’s first city to join the Green Cities framework, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) programme that supports cities on the journey towards climate resilience and adaptation.
So how do you enable the green transformation of a capital city with 2 million residents in a country historically powered by coal?
Arup worked closely with EBRD and the City of Warsaw to jointly develop the Green City Climate & Action Plan. Our work for EBRD’s Green City Action Plan (GCAP) has been combined with the C40s’ Climate Action Plan into Warsaw’s Green Vision, which targets six focus areas to turn the city into a healthier, more resilient and sustainable place for all residents.
By enhancing the use of smart energy, blue-green infrastructure, spatial planning, transport, waste management and social awareness, Warsaw should be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 while realising significant yearly savings.
To help bring the plan to life, the Green Vision roadmap identifies 27 specific actions for the city alongside relevant funding opportunities. The project was jointly funded by the TaiwanBusiness – EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund and the Government of Poland.
40% GHG reduction by 2030
608m- PLNyearly savings
122 urban indicators
A roadmap to a greener Warsaw
Arup’s experts engaged in a comprehensive public consultation with 25 city institutions, NGOs, universities and private companies to develop a coherent, feasible, and cost effective roadmap of actions. Together with EBRD, we delivered over 20 workshops using Arup’s Virtual Engage interactive environment to facilitate active feedback.
The 27-step Warsaw Green Vision roadmap will help the city reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and adopt renewable energy, while tackling urban biodiversity loss, improving water quality, reducing municipal waste, and preventing local flooding and soil degradation in post-industrial areas. If all steps were to be implemented together, the city could realise annual savings of up to 608 m PLN (~132 million euro).
Up to 1 m tonnes CO2 savingsUp to 1 m tonnes CO2 savings
Energy poverty is a significant challenge to cutting carbon emissions in Poland, with many households powered by coal. To support the transition, Warsaw’s Green Vision plans recommends increasing funding to the city’s coal-to-gas switch programme, alongside the creation of a co-financing programme to transition from gas to heat pumps. The implementation of these programmes could lead to the potential reduction of up to 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions as estimated through a benchmark analysis by experts from Arup and C40 Cities.
To further reduce CO2 emissions, the Green Vision proposes measures such as urban greening, allocating more street space to trees and cycling infrastructure and the restoration of valuable natural areas such as the Wawer meander, a picturesque marsh and meadow area to the south-east of the city.
© City of Warsaw
Through our work on the Green Vision with the City of Warsaw and Arup, EBRD aims to help Warsaw develop into a climate resilient city that offers a better future for residents. ” Christina Teokari Operations Leader, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Investing in smart, sustainable infrastructure
Mobility is another key consideration in Warsaw’s Green Vision, which outlines a range of smart energy solutions such as Vehicle to Grid (V2G) and Vehicle to Building (V2B) to connect electric cars to the power grid during electricty peak times. The city also plans to build a photovoltaic farm, install photovoltaic panels on buildings and harness the power of biogas to generate heat and electricity through a dedicated plant.
To engage with the public, the Green Vision will roll out social awareness campaigns, training and education programmes on saving water and energy, protecting biodiversity, and understanding urban blue-green infrastructure solutions.
Data-driven urban solutions
Arup’s digital team developed a database of 122 indicators to evaluate the city’s strengths, needs and opportunities in the six focus areas of the Green Vision. The indicators cover environmental quality, natural resource availability, climate change risks, energy efficiency as well as urban transportation, buildings, electricity, heat consumption, and water and waste infrastructure. These indicators will be key to help monitor Warsaw’s journey towards climate resilience and adaptation.