International Low Carbon City

Location: Shenzhen, China

Population: 23,300,000 (metropolitan area)

Climate: Humid subtropical climate

Duration: 2010-ongoing

Sector: Buildings

Funding sources: Public-private

City networks: C40

Savings: Energy consumption was reduced by 20%.

Solutions: Installation of 100 stand-alone home energy systems.

Multiple benefits: Electricity bills reduced and increased citizens’ knowledge of energy efficiency.

The Shenzhen International Low Carbon City (ILCC) stems from the decision of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in 2010 to include Shenzhen in the list of the first eight cities to become a “low-carbon city pilot” (LCCP). In light of this, in 2012, the city launched the project.

Objective – To transform the carbon-intense sub-district of Pingdi in the city of Shenzhen (Guangdong province, China) into a low-carbon district without harming economic growth.

Solutions – The low-carbon technologies used want to maintain the existing buildings by retrofitting them with more modern measures. These retrofits for building efficiency are accompanied by measures to preserve and foster the natural areas surrounding Pingdi. This includes having green areas with existing forests, mountains and lakes, while the building will be accessorized with green walls and rooftops to further natural bridge environments with urban zones. The specific technological interventions include low-carbon power for buildings, vertical gardens, rainwater collection, membrane sewage treatment, ecological building materials, efficient insulation, natural cooling measures, solar photovoltaic electricity production and a smart microgrid. The older materials and technologies were recycled to make road aggregates. The energy-related upgrades cover high voltage electricity transmission corridors, the construction of a distributed energy centre and the feature of battery storage.

Funding – Setting up the project in four cities required approximately EUR 4 Mln (USD 4.8 Mln*) in investments, of which the EU funds and 50% have sustained 50% through the consortium’s own resources. The EU funding came through Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme.

Innovation – The project included the development of methodologies to separately assess the measures for energy efficiency and their impacts on the tenants in the buildings. Moreover, the replication scheme of the pilot project in Sant Cugat del Vallès and Leipzig allowed for scaling up the technical solutions in multiple countries. This resulted in a successful scheme for installing energy-efficient appliances in social housing buildings across Europe.

Success factors – Provision of the tablets with an easy-to-use interface was a successful way to encourage participants to monitor their energy consumption and change their energy use patterns.  The project has made an effort to raise awareness about the importance of energy efficiency by providing ongoing support through visits, calls, workshops, and updates through the newspapers.

Significant outcomes:

  • Energy consumption reduced by 20% in social buildings;
  • Electricity use was reduced by 5%, as a result of the project;
  • Gas use for heating was reduced by 27% as a result of the project;
  • Knowledge about the energy consumption of the users increased, therefore they changed their patterns of energy use;
  • Energy bills were significantly reduced.

Synergies with local policies:

  • Bristol Energy and Environment Plan  examines policies required to improve energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of energy use in the city of Bristol;
  • Our Resilient Future: A Framework for Climate and Energy Security defines the strategy and action plan for improving the resilience of the City of Bristol in addressing the threat of climate change through the sustainable use and generation of energy. Sets a goal of 40% CO2 emission reduction by 2020 (2005 baseline).

Political alignment: 


  • One of the specific objectives of the project was its dissemination and promotion to raise awareness and facilitate replication;
  • The same solutions were applied in three other pilot cities – Sant Cugat del Vallès (Spain), Leipzig (Germany) and in Langenfeld (Germany).

*The conversion rate used is EUR 1 = USD 1.2

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Sector: Buildings

Country / Region: China

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In 1 user collection: Good practices of cities

Knowledge Object: User generated Initiative