Multi City Pilot Activity: Building Power: Reducing Building Emissions & Energy Use in Bratislava & Kosice



Both Kosice and Bratislava have devised explicit plans in their Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs) aimed at reducing emissions by 2030. Kosice has set a goal to cut emissions by 40%, while Bratislava is pursuing a 55% reduction (to be adopted in March 2024). Energy transition remains a major obstacle, as the energy domain in its many facets (e.g., energy efficiency, energy infrastructure planning, renewable energy integration, community engagement) has not been an integral part of municipal governance in Slovakia. Sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG ) reduction perspectives are growing priorities in both cities. However, a comprehensive vision for achieving carbon neutrality, along with potential transition pathways and associated investment strategies, have not yet been articulated in either Kosice or Bratislava.

Bratislava is the economic and business centre of Slovakia, while Kosice is one of the 20 poorest in the EU, with a GDP that is 51% of the EU average. The city also has the highest ethnic and linguistic heterogeneity in the country and is experiencing an increasing ageing population and economic disparity compared to the rest of the country. These factors contribute to a relatively high rate of energy poverty in the city and region, relative to other EU countries as well as to the Bratislava region in Western Slovakia.

Furthermore, Slovak cities have limited financial support from the national government, while having little revenue-generating power on their own. Concerning climate change governance, Slovak cities are getting limited support from the state with no overarching climate laws allowing the creation and implementation of tools for climate action.

Overall, BUILDING POWER seeks to tackle the following barriers in both cities:

  • Siloed and fragmented responsibilities for energy and facility management
  • Limited awareness and integration of climate change mitigation into wider city activities
  • Limited technical capacity on energy topics in both cities as well as nationally
  • Absence of systemic municipal energy policy and data-driven energy management
  • Limited use of innovative financing models for energy savings measures, deployment of renewables and building retrofits
  • Limited ability to drive non-municipal decarbonisation action
  • Difficulty accessing households most vulnerable to energy poverty

Description of Activities

The BUILDING POWER pilot activity will build capacity, action, and impact for energy efficiency and emissions reduction in municipal, commercial and residential buildings in both cities. The cities will develop and formalise a new governance structure for energy management and introduce a user-friendly digital platform to track and manage energy use data. The pilot activity will focus on capacity building within the city governments – staff and systems – to pursue energy savings and develop innovative financial models for building retrofits.

More specifically, the pilot activity will:

  • Map and engage city facility and energy managers to capture and harness data on municipal building conditions and energy use patterns
  • Develop a framework and build an inventory of municipal buildings and city facilities
  • Procure and launch a smart energy data management system with a pilot group of city-owned buildings, while setting an energy use reduction target
  • Create an Energy Management Team (EMT) supported by an Energy Advisory Group (EAG) composed of city staff responsible for energy, buildings, technology and data
  • Create a Community of Practice to promote collaboration, knowledge and best practices exchanges among EMTs and energy experts
  • Provide expert-led training and capacity building for city government staff
  • Participate in study visits in other European cities with best practice models for energy management
  • Develop a sensitisation campaign to raise awareness on integration of climate change mitigation into wider city activities

BUILDING POWER will expand its impact on the private sector and citizens through two pilot programmes leveraging the cities’ differing economic and social contexts.

  • Bratislava will design and launch a voluntary energy efficiency programme for companies with large workplaces in the city. Bratislava will collaborate with experts from Bloomberg Associates to develop and manage the programme, building on international best practice models.
  • To address the growing challenges related to energy poverty, the city of Kosice, together with ETP Slovakia, a Slovakian NGO, will develop targeted interventions based on key needs of specific vulnerable citizens.


To build capacity, action and impact for energy efficiency and emissions reduction in municipal, commercial and residential buildings, while developing innovative financial tools and streamlining retrofit planning.

Are cities building upon or part of a previous and/or existing activity?

Both cities are involved in different initiatives related to the pilot activity


  • Data-driven solutions and decision-making are managed via a newly established Data Policy Department and an open data platform including data sets relevant to climate change mitigation and other city services. The platform serves as the main sources for local hackathons, design thinking and other activities focused on co-creating solutions with the private and academic sectors.
  • Participation and corporate social responsibility (CSR) with businesses through the Challenger URBAN creative acceleration programme, a boot camp for teams and startups developing innovative products that contribute to the sustainable development of the city.
  • The “Kosice 2.0” project (UIA), focused on innovation and experimentation to support sustainable urban development.
  • The European Capital of Culture Project covering actions to develop behavioural change narratives for citizens by using culture and creativity as a driver.


  • Bratislava City Lab – an innovation platform to share, test and refine innovative solutions through controlled experiments and pilots. Since 2020, the City Lab in collaboration with CIVITTA hosts the Climathon, Slovakia’s largest hackathon focused on climate-related innovations. Projects resulting from the Climathon include Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and an Ecoindex tool for blue and green infrastructure planning.
  • CSR cooperation with business: Bratislava has systematically been fostering cooperation with socially resposible local businesses, which has generously contributed to various city projects, including the ‘10 000 Trees‘ initiative, and/or offered in-kind support of advisory services (e.g., joint organisation of Bratislava Climathon). These contacts and expertise will be built on in creating a business engagement programme.

Which emissions domains will the pilot activity address?

  • Consumption of electricity generated for buildings, facilities, and infrastructure

  • Consumption of non-electricity energy for thermal uses in buildings and facilities (e.g., heating, cooking, etc.)

Systemic transformation – levers of change the pilot activities will exploit

  • Governance & Policy 

  • Social Innovation 

  • Finance & Funding 

  • Learning & Capabilities

  • Data & Digitalisation

Stakeholder types that cities would like to engage in the pilot activities 

  • Citizens

  • Business

  • Local NGO, Associations

Transferable features of pilot activities to a Twin City/ies 

  • New governance model with a multi-stakeholder approach for energy and facility management
  • Smart energy data management system
  • Energy Community of Practice (built across the city administration and companies) to share learnings and best practices
  • A model for voluntary engagement with the private sector to decrease their energy use

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.

What do cities want to learn from Twin City/ies? 

We would like to exchange on:

  • Energy poverty programmes
  • Energy management practices in the cities
  • Innovative funding of building retrofits

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.