Smolyan Municipality the "Positive City Exchange" – "+CityxChange" (+CxC ) project under the European Union Program for Research and Innovation "Horizon 2020".

Smolyan Municipality implements a project under the European Union's Research and Innovation program "Horizon 2020" in a consortium of 32 partners from 10 countries (Norway, Ireland, Estonia, Spain, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany). The project is called "POSITIVE CITY EXCHANGE" (+CityxChange) , which means "Cities exchange experience and knowledge to achieve a positive energy balance." The leading cities (Lighthouse Cities) Trondheim, Norway and Limerick, Ireland and the follower cities Alba Iulia from Romania, Pisek from the Czech Republic, Sestao from Spain, Smolyan from Bulgaria and Voru from Estonia, through exchanging experience and learning from each other, will work towards the aim to become positive energy cities, that is to say to create conditions for generating more energy than is consumed in order to improve the quality of life.

The ambitious project task is to support the establishment of sustainable urban ecosystems with zero emissions and the establishment of urban regions with 100% renewable energy by 2050.  For this to be realized within the project, each city will develop their own Bold City Vision, through which planning, implementation, multiplying and upgrading will be carried out in order to achieve positive energy cities and regions. The lighthouse cities would implement 11 demonstration projects, which according to the local conditions, would be reproduced by the follower cities. These projects cover the environmental, spatial, social, technical, economical, regulations and law aspects, needed to achieve positive energy blocks/districts (PEB/D). Smolyan has identified three demonstration areas in which these demonstration projects to be implemented. These would be specifically developed and funding will be sought during the implementation of +CityxChange, with the support of the lighthouse cities and the other partners in the project.  

The three demonstration areas which Smolyan Municipality has identified are set in the three of the main locations in the town – Old City Centre (DA 1), New City Centre (DA 2) and Raykovo (DA 3). These are large residential areas with well developed transport network.

Demonstration are 1 (DA1) covers “Velichko Cholakov” Sports Hall, The City Swimming Pool building, City Stadium and the multifunctional playgrounds that are in close proximity. Due to the fact that  energy efficiency measures have already been implemented in this area due to the specific energy needs of heating, cooling, temperature control, hot water, ventilation and lighting, this area has been chosen to be the main for project interventions. The main task in the area is to increase the energy production of the buildings to an extent where the building produce a surplus to cover the electricity needs in both sports developments and the surrounding playgrounds, as well as hot water for both buildings and the swimming pool. This will form the so-called “Positive Energy Block”, which is the essence of “+CityxChange” project and major trend in the development of modern and sustainable smart cities.  

Demonstration area 2 covers the building of “Stoyu Shichkov” Regional History Museum, “Nikolay Vranchev” Regional library, the building of Smolyan Municipality and the Smolyan Planetarium with astronomical observatory. The main task here is to follow the example of lighthouse cities and to implement innovative interventions that are to be used as tools to support the development of the area, and for the locals and tourist to perceive it as an inspiring example of a positive energy block.

Demonstration area 3 covers smaller area compared to the other Das, covering “Septemvri” Stadium in Raykovo, the adjacent building and “Slaveyche” kindergarten that is in close proximity.  The main task in this area is the successful development of conceptual design projects and action plans for the implementation of innovative intelligent solutions from DA1 and DA2, which are going to upgrade the existing building and facilities to Positive Energy Blocks.

One of the indirect objectives of the project, which is of particular importance for the development of Smolyan as a modern and sustainable city, is the involvement of more and more stakeholders and the popularizing of the energy market and innovations topic. The project envisages the creation of separate sites of the urban environment in which innovative solutions are to be tested, and then be applied in the city management.

The project has a budget of over 20m euro, from the Horizon 2020 European Research and Innovation Program. Smolyan Municipality’s budget is a grant 328 625 euro. Within this budget, new demonstration projects are to be developed following the example of the lighthouse cities, but meeting the local needs and opportunities. These are to be developed through specific and appropriate solutions, research, design, experience exchange, citizen communication activities and publicity.  

More information about the project could be found on the following website: https://cityxchange.eu.