RESPONSE Lighthouse and Fellow Cities selected for NetZeroCities programme

The NetZeroCities Programme announced in March 2023 the fifty-three cities selected for the launching year of the project, and the RESPONSE Lighthouse Cities, Dijon (FR) and Turku (FI), and one of the Fellow Cities, Zaragoza (ES), are part of the cities list on a path to total decarbonisation.

Each Pilot City selected in the NetZeroCities Programme has identified pathways toward climate neutrality, taking action on bespoke combinations of six main domains, including: energy; waste management; land use; electricity for buildings; industrial processes; and mobility and transport. On this journey, each Pilot City will align their activities with existing and new partnerships, initiatives, and goals, to amplify outcomes and impact.

All 53 cities have the same ambition, to pave a way for a climate-proof future in Europe, and to scale up their solutions for the replication in other cities. They represent twenty-one different European Union and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries and were chosen out of 103 applications involving 159 cities.  


RESPONSE project is proud to be represented by the cities of Dijon, Turku, and Zaragoza, with the announcement of the NetZeroCities Programme happening shortly before the inauguration of RESPONSE’s Positive Energy Blocks (PEBs) in the Lighthouse Cities, Dijon and Turku.

The RESPONSE Project started in 2020, funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. The consortium is composed of 53 partners from 13 European countries, and the main aim of RESPONSE is to turn energy sustainability into a do-able vision by solving the energy trilemma (security, equity/affordability, environmental sustainability) at building, block and district levels in smart cities. The project builds upon intelligent integrated and interconnected energy systems coupled with demand-oriented city infrastructures, governance models and services that foster energy sustainability.


The Lighthouse Cities, Dijon and Turku, selected for the NetZeroCities Programme, are advancing already existing city platforms to further support the operation of a smart and resilient city in the context of climate adaptation and safety risks, supporting services such as smart diagnostics and disaster management or “perturbations”, by sending targeted alerts to their citizens.

In parallel, the know-how of the Lighthouse Cities are being distributed to the Fellow Cities, Brussels (BE), Botosani (RO), Ptolemaida (GR), Gabrovo (BG) Severodonetsk (UA), and Zaragoza (ES), also selected to be part of the NetZeroCities Programme.The six cities have different conditions of energy systems, climate, building types and financial possibilities and challenges, with a long-term commitment to replication activities through their existing policies and strategies. 


The three RESPONSE project cities represented in the NetZeroCities Programme are propelling the EU Cities Mission forward, part of the aim of the 112 climate-neutral cities by 2030. With the launch of the Positive Energy Blocks (PEBs) in 2023, the RESPONSE project is closer to this objective, essential for all European cities and citizens.

RESPONSE at Tech4SmartCities Event in Brussels – November 2022

Lea Kleinenkuhnen from the City of Brussels presented RESPONSE during the NCP session and included a testimony of what it is like to participate in an EU-funded project and international consortium.  

About Tech4SmartCities:

This B2B focusses on Sustainable and Smart Technologies for Cities and invites you to discover multiple business and cooperation opportunities in the field of urban mobility, energy performance, sustainable construction, circularity, low carbon economy and digital transformation. 

Do you have an innovative project /solution that can contribute towards the achievement of climate-neutrality objectives of cities that increases their resilience? Are you looking for a partner to improve and develop your technology? We will help you  to find your technical partner for international collaboration or R&D projects.

Main topics covered by the matchmaking event:

 Smart cities and communities, ICT for cities
• Smart mobility and logistics, MaaS
• Energy-efficiency of buildings and districts
• Renewable energies, energy management and recovery, smart grids and energy systems integration
• Circular economy and nature based solutions for urban districts
• Smart, healthy and secure living

The presentation about RESPONSE from Lea Kleinenkuhnen can be accessed here.

RESPONSE Webinar #3 – Positive Energy Building Systems

On December 7th 2022, the RESPONSE project hosted the third webinar, RESPONSE – Positive Energy Building Systems.

The webinar aims to raise public awareness of the RESPONSE project, establish new cooperations among organizations, and to facilitate learning and knowledge exchange processes, particularly between Lighthouse and Fellow cities. 

The webinar was attended by 44 participants from different organisations.

Here  you can find the presentation used during the webinar.

RESPONSE Hackathon 2022 in Dijon 

From Friday 25th to Sunday 27th of November 2022 more than 40 students of 9 different higher education schools gathered in Dijon to work on multidisciplinary teams of 4 to 6 students in order to develop an innovative solution (software, innovative service, device…) responding to a challenge related to the smart and low-carbon city proposed by 9 companies or organizations. These challenges addressed issues such as air quality, energy, mobility, smart building etc. (see list below). A group of coaches supported the teams all along the hackathon to help them to tackle all technical or organizational blocking point.  

Each team presented the result of their work during a pitch session on Sunday 27th afternoon and three of them were awarded. 

1st Prize: LowMyWatt is an application to encourage citizens to adopt more sober behaviours. The main features of LowMyWatt are a visualization tool in order to raise awareness about energy consumption, a decision support tool, to give citizens tips for improvement and gamification to foster commitment to action. This challenge was proposed by EDF 

Team cohesion Prize: Tool to help decision about work planning in schools in order to lower energy consumption. The tool used data from rehabilitation works (type, prize,…) and energy consumption to develop a predictive model of the most efficient work to manage. The next steps will be to optimize the model and adapt it to other types of building (e.g. Gymnasium). This challenge was proposed by Dijon Métropole 

Special mention of the jury: App using the data collected in the housings of Grand Dijon Habitat to allow tenants to visualize how their behaviour has an impact on collective energy consumption. The app proposes a gamification approach including quiz, challenges, individual and collective competitions, etc. 

Some other teams proposed promising solutions that might be developed further by the challenge initiators.   

List of the challenges 

  • Web app to valorize Atmo BFC’s Open data (air quality index, exposure of populations and territories, average concentrations, annual emission of the main pollutants, pollution episodes, etc.) and give access to intelligible and useful information for the public. 
  • How to raise awareness and encourage residents to adopt a new sorting gesture with bio-waste, via innovative and incentive solutions in collective housing? 
  • Development of a decision support application for the programming of work for the energy transition based on historical data of renovation (type of work, amounts…) and consumption of buildings (schools, gyms…) 
  • Solution to mobilize citizens around energy sobriety using data from the energy and climate platform. 
  • What solution should be implemented to optimize energy management (production, storage, distribution of uses, etc.) on mixed-use blocks (offices, housing, shops, etc.)? 
  • Development of an AI to analyze electrical load curves to allow consumers to optimize their consumption and free up electrical power for the network. 
  • How, from the data collected in the housings, can we show tenants in real time (at the stairwell, building and block level (6 buildings)) that small individual gestures contribute to big collective savings? 
  • DiviAccès 2.0: Analysis of usage data of the transportation service for people with reduced mobility and recommendations for improvement to increase shared transportation. 
  • How can data from connected housing sensors (smoke detectors, thermal regulation, access systems, etc.) be used to detect pre-fragility situations among senior tenants to automatically trigger a call campaign, a home visit or contact with a partner? 

RESPONSE Ideathon 

A “Marathon of ideas” to address ecological issues: On Tuesday, January 10, more than 160 students from the metropolis participated in the Pulse Event: a 48-hour Ideathon to find innovative solutions to sustainable development issues. Among the four impactful topics proposed by the metropolis, two of them referred to RESPONSE, the positive energy blocks project, such as: how to make the commitment to energy sobriety a source of pride? The event was organized by the Campus des Métiers Territoire Intelligent and its partners, with the support of Dijon métropole. 

  • RESPONSE/Dijon métropole topic 1: How to make the inhabitants and/or the companies of the Dijon Metropole territory adhere to the collective self-consumption? 
  • RESPONSE/Dijon métropole topic 2: How to make the commitment to energy sobriety a collective and individual pride (without financial or regulatory drivers)? 

Pictures : “© Ville de Dijon”  

Horizon Magazine – “Finnish and French cities chart Europe’s path to clean energy” article about RESPONSE

In an interview about Europe’s path to clean energy, Monjur Murshed and David Goujon from EIFER – European Institute for Energy Research, talked about RESPONSE to the Horizon Magazine.

The coordinators of the project shared how Turku and Dijon, the Lighthouse Cities of RESPONSE, are among a group of cities seeking to become climate-neutral by 2030, two decades before the European goal.

“In 2029, Finland’s oldest city, Turku, will celebrate reaching the grand old age of 800. At the same time, it hopes to reach another major milestone – becoming climate-neutral. The French city of Dijon 2 000 kilometres away hopes to achieve the same goal by 2030.

The two are part of the Cities Mission – an EU initiative to create 100 climate-neutral cities by the end of this decade. Turku and Dijon are also flagship members of the EU-funded RESPONSE project to help cities chart the path toward clean energy.”

Please read the full article here:

RESPONSE Press Conference: Dijon Metropole, European demonstrator for collective self-consumption

From October 18 to 20, Dijon hosted the RESPONSE Consortium meeting, which brings together all the partners in this European project on positive energy districts. It includes representatives of the cities that will replicate the solutions currently being tested in Fontaine d’Ouche and Turku (Finland).

A new concrete phase in the deployment of the project has begun: the production of the solar equipment at the Buffon school. Soon, more than 500 homes with 1,100 inhabitants in the Fontaine d’Ouche district will also benefit from solar energy, making it the largest self-consumption operation in France.

The two-day event concluded with a press conference attended by François Rebsamen, Mayor of Dijon, and President of Dijon Metropole, who signed the collective self-consumption agreement with Enedis. This was an opportunity to present the project, to show the district, and to answer the questions of the 40 journalists present. In total, several dozen articles in the local, regional, and national press were published, with a TV report on the regional news.

RESPONSE Consortium meeting held in Dijon attended by RESPONSE city administrators and partners

RESPONSE Consortium at the open session – Source: Ville de Dijon

The three days event was held in the city of Dijon, in Dijon, France between 18-20 October 2022. The main objectives were i) to create links and federate around the project; ii) to get to know the Fellow cities better and strengthen their collaboration with the Lighthouse cities and the horizontal partners of the project; iii) enable the Fellow cities to better understand the innovative solutions implemented in the Lighthouse cities, and discuss together their replication.

The first day started with the workshop “How to optimise the project’s communication and outreach” led by Dijon Métropole and Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI) and a session focused on the presentation of the Innovative Elements in LHCs led by EDF, Dijon Métropole and City of Turku. The first day ended with a guided tour to the historic city center and a joint dinner.

Presentation of the Innovative Elements in LHCs – Source: Ville de Dijon

In the second day the partners were able to do a walking visit to the Positive Energy District (PED) in Fontaine d’Ouche and the solar power plant on the roof of the Buffon school.

Positive Energy District (PED) in Fontaine d’Ouche
Positive Energy District (PED) in Fontaine d’Ouche

n the afternoon, more sessions were conducted by Centre for Research & Technology Hellas (CERTH), EIFER – European Institute for Energy Research, Dijon Métropole, EDF, City of Turku and Fundación Circe, focused on “How to support cities in citizen empowerment” and “Business model canvas: gathering feedback from cities and partners”.

Workshop sessions and Permanent booths: presentation of the Innovative Elements in LHCs – Source: Ville de Dijon

The 2nd Consortium Plenary Board meeting of the RESPONSE project took place on the last day of the event (20th October). This meeting was organized as a hybrid event and hosted by the Dijon Métropole.

2nd Consortium Plenary Board meeting of the RESPONSE project – Source: Ville de Dijon

To close the 3 days event some RESPONSE partners and the Lighthouse cities and Fellow cities representatives went for a PEBs tour and press conference with the presence of François Rebsamen, Mayor of Dijon and President of Dijon Métropole.

Sustainable mobility and air quality workshop in Turku PED area

The 2nd Environmental workshop organized by the Citizen engagement work package in Turku brought together the PED residents and RESPONSE partners at the student village on the 27th of October. In the event, the participants were engaged to help develop e-mobility issues in the PED and the Air quality journey planner together with the RESPONSE partners from Turku UAS, the City of Turku, Finnish meteorological institute and University of Turku.

The workshop participants were given the opportunity to test electric bikes and an electric cargo bike. The bikes were provided for testing by local bike provider Onnipyörä Turku. Many of the participants had not tried electric bikes before and were surprised how easy it was to ride and how lightweight the riding felt. However, they noticed also potential issues, as it is easy to drive very fast with the bikes and especially the e-cargo bike needs a lot of space to turn. These and many other topics were discussed during the workshop. 

Workshop participants were able to test electric bikes in the event

The participants made a trip together, using the Air quality journey planner application. The trip was made by foot and bike, using also the shared city bikes, Fölläri. The user can choose their route between the best air quality, the greenest and least hilly route on the journey planner. The trip was made by using the greenest route and the participants enjoyed beautiful riverside views despite the light rain. 

The journey planner was further developed in one of the workshops. During the workshop, the visual appearance of the application was decided, and the participants could give feedback on the app under development. More information about the conditions on the route was desired, such as slipperiness, temperature and windiness, as well as the duration of the chosen route. Information on traffic obstructions, such as construction sites or re-routing of cycleways was also desired. The duration of the chosen route and the user’s location were also seen as important additions. Overall, the journey planner got good feedback and the routes suggested by the app were found to be useful. 

Feedback of the Air quality journey planner was collected via forms and voting

On the other workshop, sustainable mobility issues in the Student village PED area were discussed. The participants were asked to think about practicalities regarding mobility in the area, ie. what works well and what doesn’t. After a short discussion, the participants were asked to imagine an ideal future in terms of sustainable mobility. A lively discussion followed, after which the participants were introduced to ways to advocate mobility related initiatives in the city of Turku.  

Altogether 30 students and PED residents took part in the workshop. The atmosphere on the event was relaxed and the participants enjoyed the discussion about sustainable mobility and air quality – as well as the vegan hot dog buffet that was served.  

Sustainable mobility issues were discussed in the workshop

Text: Heidi Heikkilä, Annika Kunnasvirta, Katariina Kiviluoto / Pictures: Heidi Heikkilä

On October 11th, during EU Regions Week 2022, the RESPONSE workshop “A fair energy transition: developing PEDs in deprived areas” held great discussions about energy solutions.

The speakers Sarah Bello and Jean-Patrick Masson from Dijon Métropole, Fabian Maingain from City of Brussels, and Eric Tourte from EDF Bourgogne Franche Comté, talked about projects in the Fontaine d’Ouche district in Dijon and in the Northern Districts of Brussels, as partner cities in the framework of Horizon 2020 project RESPONSE.

We would like to thank all speakers, the moderator Lea Kleinenkuhnen, RESPONSE project coordinator in Brussels, and all participants, for their presence and interaction.