Sofia has been selected as a finalist in two categories of the Future of Emerging Europe Awards 2022 – a prestigious international competition for sustainable, social, economic and democratic development in Europe. The public voting for the projects is now open. You can support Sofia by May 31 at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/EEAwards2022
The capital is competing for the awards in the following categories: Green Energy – for facilitating increased energy efficiency in public buldings via sustainable green energy production for self-consumption and remote energy monitoring, whilst also ensuring better air quality, and Modern and Future-proof Policymaking Initiative of the Year – for pushing through its initiative Sandbox for Innovative Solutoins for local innovation and smart city solutions that can improve the quality of life and stimulate local businesses.
Almost 50 organisations and individuals from across Central, Eastern, South-Eastern Europe and the Caucasus have been shortlisted for the fifth edition of the Future of Emerging Europe Awards. The winners will be chosen by a mix of jury and public votes. The winners will be announced at an official ceremony in Brussels on June 23rd.
Sofia has a history in previous editions of the awards. In 2018 the city was nominated in the category Strategy for stimulating foreign investment, and in 2020 the capital ranked 1st in the category Smart city development and 7th in the overall ranking for the cities for doing business in Central and Eastern Europe – The Business-Friendly Cities Perception Ranking 2020, prepared especially for the Emerging Europe Awards 2020. Back then, Sofia ranked in the Top 10 cities in the category Quality of Life competing with 75 cities in the region.
The nominated projects
Sofia Municipality launched its project for green energy and smart in the summer of 2021. The initiative is part of the efforts of the city administration and to improve energy efficiency in public buildings by installing solar panels and systems providing “smart” utilities to measure energy consumption from various sources. Real-time access to data allows the building administration to take measures towards electricity costs optimisation. Thus, within a one-year cycle, sufficient data will be generated, facilitating both the development of data-based policies for the installation of renewable energy sources, and for costs-reducing consumer behaviour. Under the project, real-time monitoring of water consumption is also carried out.
The implementation of this pilot project started with the installation of solar panels and a system providing smart utilities in the largest kindergarten in Sofia and Bulgaria – 76 “Sarnichka” in Mladost. The pilot project has attracted the attention of othe municipalities in the country and has already been submitted to other city administrations for testing.
Sofia’s ‘Sandbox for Innovative Solutions’ programme is part of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia (DTSS). It’s being implemented in partnership with the startup ecosystem in Sofia and aims at testing innovative technological solutions and generate data that will serve for future solutions and policies that improve the quality of life in Sofia. The projects are pilots, and after an analysis of the results, funding will be sought for the development of those of them with the greatest social impact. Even at the pilot project level only, the programme enables startups in Sofia to directly get involved with innovative urban policies; to test innovative solutions in a real environment and expand their potential for attracting investments through the acquired experience and results; as well as to present the solutions for implementation in other cities in the country and worldwide.