open menu

Keep you up to date!
Register now or Login

EN | ES | SE | TR


Interview with Deputy Mayor for Urban Development, Dr. Balázs Szeneczey

Why did Budapest choose to participate in the CITyFiED project, and how does it fit in with your energy and environment strategy? 

It is getting more and more important for Budapest to take care of its environment, to provide a liveable area for its habitants, tackle the harmful effects of climate change and to become a smart city. Solutions, business models and strategies for district heating management, reduction of greenhouse effect, greater use of renewable energy and all in all greater sustainability in every aspect is among our most significant plans. We have already realized that reaching these goals is much easier and more effective if we are able to co-operate and take part in such networks.

As a public authority, the Municipality of Budapest also owns several companies meaning that is responsible to be always on the lookout for new solutions and initiatives to reach the best sustainability and reduce harmful effects of the climate change.

It is a great possibility for Budapest to be part of the CITyFiED community as we are keen on knowledge share, new experiences and joining smart ideas in order to develop and learn from other cities having similar ambitions and challenges. We hope that it can bring real benefits for us; meanwhile other members of the community can also acquire useful information from our past experiences.

What smart city measure or energy solution would you like to share with the CITyFiED community? 

We would like to share our thermal project at the Budapest ZOO and Botanical Garden in which the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, the Zoo and the local district heating company joined forces to reduce the carbon emission of the Zoo and spare on energy costs by realizing the heat and hot water supply of the Zoo with the collaboration of the Spa.

The starting point of the project is that the water coming out of the Széchenyi bath is at a very high temperature (around 75 Celsius degrees). Therefore it must be cooled down before the guests can enjoy it. The key idea to establish the new heating system in the Zoo was to consider this temperature difference as a surplus energy that the Zoo could utilize in its heating system. Thus, rather than carrying out a costly cooling operation, it was decided to use this surplus energy to heat the facilities at the Zoo.The Spa itself also uses some of this energy surplus to heat its own facilities, therefore the water arriving to the Zoo is around 55-60 Celsius degrees.

Technically it was implemented by the following way. A heat exchanger unit was installed in the Bath, from where two insulated heating pipes start, integrating the buildings of the Zoo into the system via a substation located in the basement of the Old Elephant House. The thermal water itself does not leave the territory of the Spa; after the heat exchange, warm water conveys the heat into the Zoo facilities through the pair of pipes going underground. There are 14 heat centres, monitored and regulated by a computer system.

In each building, a required interior air temperature is determined. When the energy demand changes due to the open-air temperature, the institution uses thermal water space heating to adjust to the basic, continuous heating. When it comes to an extreme cold weather and the 55-60 °C water is not able to maintain the required interior temperature, additional gas boilers of the earlier system support the necessary heating.

In 2010, the Zoo consumed more than 1000 tonnes of CO2 (800 thousand cubic meter gas), costing nearly 100 million HUF (360 thousand EUR). The costs of thermal water space heating are about the third of gas heating. The Zoo now only uses gas heating to support the thermal heating system when needed, thus, according to calculations it emits about 500 tonnes less of CO2. This leads to a saving of approximately 100,000 EUR of gas costs annually.

The Zoo undertook the following indicators after the implementation: Usage of renewable energy sources: 8000 GJ/yearReducing greenhouse gas emissions: 539 t/year. So far, the Zoo successfully complies with these indicators.

This pioneering venture has been beneficial for all three parties: the Zoo could cover a large part of its heat demand from a cheaper and safer energy source. The Spa could save a significant amount that would have been spent on the cooling system of the thermal water coming from the well and can make profit from delivering heat energy to the Zoo. The district heating company has gained a new partner and strengthened its sustainable energy supply profile.

Name a challenge you think fellow cities and project consortium members could help you overcome…

The overall objective of Budapest is climate change mitigation and energy efficiency. We would like to place the greater use of renewable energy to a much higher priority with the help of research, innovation, co-operation and also new business models and monitoring systems to be a city of the future. Developing a strategy that covers all the fields of sustainability and feasibility is a real challenge as well.

Budapest's most ambitious smart city or energy efficiency target? 

The global climate change increasingly affects large cities and its surroundings, thus Budapest is strongly committed to environment protection. The city faces many problems caused by GHG emission and energy consumption. One-third of carbon-dioxide emission is linked to energy consumption of buildings, so one of the main aims is to promote energy-efficient refurbishment of the buildings in Budapest. All in all we wish to become a smart city that involves its citizens in our developments.


16 September 2015