Saturday, 12 February 2022

Could Croatian Cities Absorb Floods and Have Digitally Managed Buildings?

February the 12th, 2022 - Could Croatian cities ever become flood resistant and be able to be managed entirely digitally? It seems that the future will require that as climate change and the digital transformation play ever bigger roles in our lives.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, although experts at the global level cannot all totally agree on the dynamics and scale of climate change that will affect the Earth and human society as we go forward, it is undeniable that the climate is changing and that there are growing dangers from natural disasters each and every year.

While estimates of what will happen at the global level are mostly of a principled nature, at the micro level, so when speaking about a particular region or city, there is a very significant need to make and test out vulnerability models.

This was the topic of the recently held hybrid conference of the Association of Cities - Energy Sustainable Islands. Sanja Polonijo, an expert in communal economy, pointed out that natural extremes - cold, heat, storms, torrential floods and sea changes - are becoming more frequent and having longer lasting effects.

"The Mediterranean is warming 20 percent faster than the rest of the world is, and by the year 2040 its average temperature is expected to rise by 2.2 degrees Celsius. Projections also say that by the year 2100, the sea level will rise from anywhere between 65 and 110 centimetres.

"It is expected that floods, at least as of 2050, may become common annual occurrences, and most of the city's communal infrastructure has been built for old sea levels," Polonijo said.

She explained that the city's infrastructure must, except through the traditional approach of the so-called Grey infrastructure, which includes a quality water supply and drainage network, be based on the so-called ''green and blue infrastructure'' that represents an interdisciplinary approach that mimics the hydrological regime. This means that Croatian cities, many of them not just aged but ancient, will certainly need to adapt.

In this way, the problems that arise are solved in the long run - for example, if the drainage systems are made for rain, and the sea level rises near them, then seawater enters the entire system.

There has been a proposition of models for cities where impermeable surfaces would be transformed into permeable ones through tree lines, green roofs and walls, rain gardens and bioretencies. In this way, problems with rising temperatures during the hot summer months can be more easily solved, as those temperatures can be 10 degrees higher in Croatian cities than in the quieter suburbs.

"The most endangered areas with very little greenery can be ''greened up'' through a so-called urban heat island - planted trees provide shade, protection from the wind, shade for buildings, a cooling effect with evaporation, reduce flood risk and even lessen the noise.

Professor Mario Vasak from the Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing warned of the importance of digital transformation of Croatian cities to become Smart Cities because it will be much easier to respond to the challenges posed by climate change, but also social and market changes.

It is necessary to make some decisions even before the start of investments in terms of building management - what capacity of the solar power possibilities to choose for a particular building, what should the capacity of the tank be, how we can plan water pumping in advance, how much flexibility to offer consumers... the whole building management system can take place in real time and act in accordance with our current needs,'' said Vasak.

He added that all this will lead to reduced operating costs, higher energy efficiency and increased levels of user comfort. “Perhaps the best example is the FER building, which covers an area of ​​about 10,000 square metres and has 248 offices and where IT has been implemented all of the existing building's automation system. After the introduction of the system, heating costs fell by 10 percent, from 336.9 euros to 302.6 euros per day, and for cooling, costs fell by as much as 18 percent, from 176.6 euros per day to 144.8 euros,'' said Vasak.

He added that similar models can be set up for larger units, such as streets, neighbourhoods or entire Croatian cities through Smart City solutions, and the fastest to implement and the greatest current effects are modernisation and the proper management of public lighting.

For more, check our our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Krk Island Determined to Become Europe’s First Zero Waste Island

February 8th, 2022 - Krk island is on its way to officially join the list of some five hundred European cities and municipalities that have implemented the international Zero Waste strategy

The management of Ponikve, the main utility company on Krk island, recently met with representatives of Zelena akcija (Green Action), an organisation which is working on implementation of the zero waste strategy in Croatia.

Experts of Zelena akcija analysed the waste management system of Krk island and considered which tasks Krk has yet to fulfill in order to position and brand itself as the first zero waste island in the European Union. They discussed this with Ponikve director Neven Hržić and assistant director Ivan Jurešić, reports Novi list/Mladen Trinajstić.

Waste sorting on Krk already has a 60 percent share in overall waste management, according to Jurešić. The population of the biggest Kvarner island has no intention of stopping there, instead planning to achieve even more ambitious goals.

‘Our cooperation with the organisation [Zelena akcija] is part of the project "Transitioning to zero waste Europe, one community at a time", which, as you might remember, our utility company, or rather the island of Krk, joined last year in July when we signed the decision for Krk to adopt the international zero waste strategy’, said Jurešić.

At the meeting, the parties discussed and agreed upon further steps in the implementation of the zero waste model of maximum reduction of waste, as well as reuse and recycling.

‘The recently held meeting gave us an opportunity to go over and agree on some new, additional measures and activities that we will jointly work on in the coming years, all with the aim of meeting the demanding parameters required for the official inclusion of our island in this prestigious European ecological list’, said Jurešić for Novi list.

Among the agreed goals is a reduction of mixed waste generated by the island’s population - including tourists - from 235kg per person (2019) to 150kg per person annually. They also plan for separate waste collection to reach a 70 percent share in overall waste management.

They have also agreed on certain steps to achieve better use of biodegradable waste, and are planning to establish a so-called Centre for Reuse, a facility where prematurely discarded items will be given a new life.

In order to meet these goals, the Ponikve company will work to improve the method of separate waste collection, charge for collection based on the amount of generated mixed waste, increase home composting, open the mentioned centre for reuse, and introduce numerous models to reduce waste generated on the island, all in the coming years. 

Representatives of Zelena akcija consider all the proposed measures feasible, and the agreed goals achievable. They fully expect the local self-government on Krk to meet the set criteria for a zero waste certification.

‘We are pleased with the successful cooperation with the local authorities on Krk island, as they are among the few in our country to have met the goal of separate waste collection in the share of 50 percent by the end of 2020. In cooperation with us they set even more ambitious goals and measures that will help them secure a better quality of life for the island inhabitants, but also put Krk island on the European map of the most successful local communities when it comes to sustainable waste management’, said representatives of Zelena akcija in a statement after the meeting.

 

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Jelsa Tackles Light Pollution in Effort to Become International Dark Sky Community

February 3, 2022 - Harmful outdoor lighting fixtures were removed from a park in the centre of Jelsa, getting the town on Hvar island a step closer to becoming the first International Dark Sky Community in Croatia

The spotlights in question have a colour temperature of 6500 K which is considered detrimental to local wildlife - birds, nocturnal insects, bats, and even plants. They were installed on palm trees in the park and turned upwards, making them a light pollutant of the night sky, reports the Croatian Astronomical Union.

The Croatian Astronomical Union has been collaborating with Jelsa Municipality and the local tourist board for over a year in order to help Jelsa achieve high standards of protection against light pollution. Jelsa is now a step closer to becoming the first International Dark Sky Community in Croatia and south-east Europe at large.

light.jpg

Hrvatski astronomski savez - Facebook

In December 2021, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) accepted the motion of Jelsa Municipality to be declared an International Dark Sky Community. A few days ago, IDA delivered a favourable opinion and it’s now only a matter of time before Jelsa is granted the coveted title.

As defined by IDA, an International Dark Sky Community is ‘a town, city, municipality or other legally organised community that has shown exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation and enforcement of a quality outdoor lighting ordinance, dark sky education and citizen support of dark skies. Dark Sky Communities excel in their efforts to promote responsible lighting and dark sky stewardship, and set good examples for surrounding communities.’

 

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Croatian Ecological Awareness has Highest Growth in Central Europe

January the 19th, 2022 - While it might not seem to be the case when watching people fail to separate their waste or constantly use single use plastics, but Croatian ecological awareness is the highest among five Central European countries.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, when compared to five other Central European countries, the strongest increase in support for nature care was recorded among Croatian residents, according to a study published in the Journal of Sociology.

The work of sociologists Bruno Simac, Tijana Trako Poljak and Vladimir Ivanovic from the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb analyses data from the European Social Survey from 2008 and 2018 and compares trends in expressing concern for the environment. This rise in Croatian ecological awareness is more than encouraging given the EU's strong focus on the green transition, in which the environment is being placed first.

They chose Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, explaining that they share a similar geopolitical position, historical heritage and socio-cultural miles, and there is a thesis that as post-communist nations, they support environmental protection less than advanced democracies typically do. The strongest increase in aid for care for the environment and for nature during the aforementioned period is related to Croatia, which, along with neighbouring Slovenia, had the highest result related to nature care back in 2018.

Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic recorded stagnation in their results, and Hungary has shown an unfortunate and significant decrease in the same aid from between 2008 and 2018.

Croatia had one of the lowest results way back in 2008, but while Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic didn't move forward much at all until 2018, Croatia took second place, surpassed only by Slovenia. The research used the so-called Schwartz's values ​​that emphasise the importance of society, and thus the whole "universe" over individual interests, which provides a new dimension for the interpretation of environmental attitudes in these countries.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Lika Awarded Green Destination 2021

October 6, 2021 - After having been given its first award back in 2020, seeing the gorgeous green region of Lika awarded Green Destination 2021 this year provides some hope for this lovely, but poor and deserted region.

Lika, the largest Croatian region, remained among the hundred top green and sustainable destinations in the entire world in 2021. This valuable recognition (which Lika was first recognised for in 2020), was assigned by the Global Green Destination trust fund. The organisation started rating global destinations worldwide seven years ago, and as their website says, they benefit the destinations, representatives, and stakeholders in "green" communities. The end game: making places better and more sustainable.

''Adopting these GREEN values will help destinations to enhance their quality, attractiveness, and competitiveness; it will help attract ''green travellers'', respectful visitors who will spend more in these destinations. These GREEN values are the basis of our programmes for policy improvement, Destination Awards and certification. Green Destinations works together with the tourism business and media partners in order to make the green offer of destinations more visible on the marketplace,'' explains Global Green Destination.

The Lika Destination tourist cluster is very much aware of all the benefits which go hand in hand with this recognition for which they worked really hard. As N1 reports, Lika Destination does its work under the motto ''Smart sustainable destination''.

''Lika is special for many reasons. Almost 60% of its surface is protected. There are eight protected areas here, including three national parks, and the pure nature allows for the growth of quality products,'' the Lika Destination cluster told N1.

They added that they are proud that international experts recognised their efforts in promoting Lika and building up the region in an eco-friendly matter.

''For this year's admission, we had to fulfill 30 criteria, which is as twice as much than was necessary last year. In addition, we had to submit a story of good practice which this year, just as before, focused on local products with the mark ''Lika Quality''. Connecting local manufacturers with other tourist actors is something we've worked on in this cluster since day one. That's the main factor of Lika's development,'' concluded Lika Destination for N1.

That progress is definitely needed. As Večernji List recalled, Lika used to be an agricultural Mecca capable of feeding half of Croatia. Sadly, much like Slavonia, the region was devastated during the Homeland War and all of the former industry is now gone. One hundred years ago, Lika boasted over 200,000 residents, and now there are only around 40,000 left.

Naturally, it is expected that the number will be even lower when the 2021 population census is completed.

Speaking of Lika's many green areas, the oldest Croatian National Park, Plitvice Lakes, is also located there. Learn more in our TC guide.

For more about Lika, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Friday, 1 October 2021

Solar Energy Conference: Procedures Need to Be Stepped Up

ZAGREB, 1 Oct 2021 - The solar sector is developing very slowly in Croatia even though the price of solar energy has never been lower, hence it is necessary to encourage greater efficiency by the competent institutions and to educate citizens, a two-day solar energy conference on the island of Hvar heard on Friday.

"The price of electricity from solar power plants today is lower than ever but Croatia's solar sector is developing very slowly and the relevant procedures need to be stepped up and people need to be educated," Professor Neven Duić of the Zagreb Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture said at the conference.

The conference, entitled "Days of the Sun", brought together key stakeholders in Croatia's energy transition - members of the academic community, equipment producers, representatives of the banking system, investors, regional and local government officials as well as representatives of state institutions and ministries.

Apart from discussing various financial models for the solar sector and its launching, the conference will discuss the new legislative framework for the green transition, the future of photovoltaic power plants and solar technology in Croatia, innovations and application of solar energy in the business sector, the use of renewable energy sources in agriculture, and the implementation of the EU Green Deal at the national level.

"Local government has an opportunity to be more active in the coming period to inform citizens and promote the use of renewable sources, develop strategies and plans and actively participate in investments... these projects bring concrete benefits that can have a positive effect on the communities they govern," said Maja Jurišić of the Island Movement association, one of the organisers of the conference.

She underscored that renewable energy sources should be treated as a public good.

The director of SolarPower Europe, Walburga Hemetsberger, underscored that the solar energy sector was expected to grow significantly over the next five years, primarily due to the acceptable costs of such projects.

SolarPower Europe is a leading European organisation of stakeholders in the use of solar energy and it comprises research centres, banks, investors, entrepreneurs and others in the solar energy sector.

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Osijek Celebrates International Drava River Day with Rich Program

September 25, 2021 - Osijek celebrated International Drava River Day on Friday, with many events that both entertained and educated locals on the importance of the Drava ecosystem.

The city of Osijek, Public Institution for Environmental Protection of Osijek-Baranja County, Osijek Tourist Board, Osijek-Baranja Tourist Board, Osijek-Baranja County's Development Agency are few of the ten organizers of Osijek's International Drava River Day commemoration program that was held on Friday.

International Drava River Day is marked on September 24, and as TCN wrote earlier this week, it was also celebrated in the city of Varaždin. The most diverse fish in Croatia live in the Drava river, and last week, UNESCO declared Mura-Drava-Danube Transboundary Biosphere Reserve.

Perhaps that is the reason why, as Akademija Art informs, this year's program in Osijek (the biggest city in the eastern Croatian region of Slavonia) is on a much higher level than usual.

From cruising on the left side of the Drava river, watching 5,000 rowing regattas to professional lectures on the Drava river by Dr. Mirna Habuda Stanić, citizens of Osijek had loads of interesting Drava-related things to see and do on Friday. Additionally, making carp fish on a stick (the specialty of the Slavonian cuisine) demonstration and the traditional Fiš Paprikaš (fish stew) topped off the event.

The celebration also opened a new chance for photographers in the area, as the Public Institution for Environmental Protection of Osijek-Baranja County holds a contest for their upcoming calendar. This is a good direction, as the commemoration program aims to promote the richness of cultural heritage and tradition in cooperation with the local population.

„It's important to mark all-natural values of our county for which we must take care of, as well as educating citizens on environmental protection, starting from the smallest ones,“ said Osijek-Baranja county deputy chief Josip Miletić, as quoted by Akademija Art.

The busy program also made time for the presentation of the Amazon of Europe Project with the idea of preserving the aforementioned biodiversity of the UNESCO-protected Mura-Drava-Danube Transboundary Biosphere Reserve.

„Despite numerous man-made changes in the past, this stunning river landscape hosts an amazing biological diversity and is a hotspot of rare natural habitats such as large floodplain forests, river islands, gravel and sandbanks, side branches, and oxbows", says the Amazon of Europe website.

Learn more about Osijek in our TC guide.

For more about biodiversity in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 24 September 2021

Energy And Climate Change Program: Call For Green Energy Projects

September 24, 2021 - The Energy And Climate Change Program published three public calls for green energy projects. The deadline for new ideas is November 24.

Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP) is already enrolled in the DANUP-2-Gas Project (concerned with introducing renewable energy to the Danube region) and the REPLACE Project (for replacing current heating and cooling systems in Primorska Goranska county with eco-friendly variants). But, this doesn't mean that it isn't keeping an eye for new initiatives and endeavors in the energy-efficient sector.

In part of the „Energy and Climate Change“ (ECC) Program, the EIHP informs that the first three calls for delivering project proposals were published on September 14, and the admissions are open until November 24.

„Acceptable applicants are all legal subjects, whether public or private, commercial or non-commercial organizations as well as non-governmental organizations, founded in Croatia. Additionally, project partners, apart from Croatian, can also include legal persons founded in donator countries (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein)“, says the EIHP website.

EIHP also elaborated all three calls for those who are interested in participating.

The first one, titled „Increased Solar Energy Production Capacity“, is worth 7,400,000.00 EUR and supports pilot projects of integrated photovoltaic powerplants with the goal of boosting exploitation of solar energy.

The second call worth 1.534.000,00 EUR is called „Energy Production From the Sea“ and looks for pilot projects and pre-investment studies for implementing a system of sea source heat pumps for heating and cooling.

Finally, the third call named „Technical Documentation For Geothermal Energy“ worth 3,000,000.00 EUR asks for making technical documentation needed to develop projects of geothermal energy.

„The main goal of the Programme “Energy and Climate Change” (ECC) is to increase the usage of technologies with lower carbon emissions and enlarged security of energy supply in the Republic of Croatia, which is aligned to the key objectives of the European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanism. The Programme is particularly focused on energy efficiency measures and the promotion of renewable energy sources, including geothermal, marine and solar energy sources“, explains the eeagrants website.

EIHP adds that the projects that will be accepted in these public calls are co-financed by the EAA financial mechanism for the 2014-2021 period by 85%.

Or as the eeagrants website clarifies, EEA gave 17 million EUR for the ECC program while Croatia (in the domain of Croatian Regional Development Ministry) covers the rest with 3 million EUR.

The project proposals are awaited in hopes Croatia will continue its green energy revolution. Remembering the previous article from TCN about the Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar being the first nearly zero energy building in Croatia, it's clear the country is on a good way so far.

Learn more about Croatian inventions and discoveries from Tesla to Rimac on our dedicated TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Pula Car-Free Day: Should Lungomare Promenade be Car-Free?

September 23, 2021 - Pula Car-Free Day was commemorated on September 22nd, 2021, just like in many cities and towns worldwide. The event, which is part of European Mobility Week, also raised the question of whether or not should Pula's Lungomare promenade be closed for car traffic in general.

Given that Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, the city may often take up more room on the Croatian news scene than other cities and places in the country. Such an example was the programme the city prepared for European Mobility Week (like the event in the Zagreb City Museum), the celebration of which took place on Wednesday with the commemoration of World Car-Free Day on September the 22nd.

That said, other towns in Croatia had their programmes too. One such example is the Eastern Istrian coastal town of Pula.

As the local Pula.hr website stated, this year's edition of the European Mobility Week programme in Pula was added to with a motto ''Mobility with zero-emissions for everyone'', with which Pula entered its fifteenth year of organising activities for the occasion.

''In marking this important event, partners from the Muscular Dystrophy Society of Istria, the Istria County police force, and the Croatian Car Club Pula-Rovinj have been joining us every year. By participating in European Mobility Week, we want to encourage sustainable development and upgrade urban traffic. Twenty new buses operating in Pula are fueled by natural gas which satisfies the highest ecological standards and are adapted to disabled people. This all contributes to the image of Pula as a modern European town,'' said Pula's Deputy Mayor Elena Puh Belci at the opening in the programme earlier this week.

On Wednesday, in the spirit of Car-Free Days, the main waterfront, Lungo Mare promenade, was closed for car traffic from 06:30 to 15:30.

''The pedestrians we bumped into yesterday thought some construction work was underway instead of it all being a promotion of a more healthy lifestyle, given the no-traffic-sign was placed all the way from Valkan to Mornar,'' wrote the local Glas Istre daily newspaper.

Glas Istre journalists also asked the locals whether or not Lungomare should be closed for traffic in general and not just symbolically on September the 22nd.

''It would actually be really nice if people could have a promenade without traffic so they could walk its whole length. Given that the younger population gathers here on benches at night, maybe it would be good for the promenade to be open for traffic from 22:00 to 06:00,'' locals Tin Knežević and Ana Milotić told Glas Istre.

''It should be closed off for traffic. People need to move more and walk around more, and there's too much traffic here. People want to jump straight from their cars into the sea without doing any walking. The beginning of this road is slim and the road from the restaurants goes off in two directions, so everyone should arrive here by walking,'' said Marta Pešutić.

While many in the article felt that cars on Lungomare should be limited, apart from not being sure whether or not something like that would be possible in the near future, some people also openly took into account the fact that cars aren't useless.

''Cars get in the way, but sometimes they're needed, so maybe we should think about that too,'' concluded Glas Istre with a quote from Mira Filipović.

Learn more about Pula in our TC guide

For more about ecology in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Klima-Forum Conference: All Things Cooling and Air-Conditioning to be Discussed in Umag

September 17, 2021 - Set to be held in Umag on October 7-8, the Klima-Forum Conference is the event to go to for discussions on the contemporary issues of cooling systems and air conditioning in Croatia. Registrations for participation are now underway.

''Nineteen days and eighteen hours'' is displayed on the countdown on the Energetika-marketing.hr website at the time of writing this article. For the professional air-conditioning community, the countdown is more than exciting, as it points how much time remains until the 8th edition of the Klima-Forum, the event about all things related to Cooling, Ventilation, and Air-conditioning.

''The westernmost part of Istria, the first days of autumn, beautiful nature, a pleasant climate... could there ever be a better environment for a discussion and an exchange of experiences, opinions and ideas, for the presentation of new products, solutions and implemented projects in refrigeration, ventilation and air-conditioning technology?'' wonders Energetika-marketing.hr while inviting interested parties to the forum that will take place in Umag on October 7-8 at the Sol Garden Istra hotel.

Even though the application section on the website is made for registration and accommodation, the website nevertheless warns that interested people should send an inquiry to register for both participation and accommodation via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

At the moment, admissions are being taken both for those who just want to come and learn more as well as for authors who also want to present their work in the field of cooling systems. 

''The authors of presentations that will be presented at the conference are exempt from paying the registration fee on the day they present their presentation. If a presentation has more than one author, the one who will present at the conference is the one exempt from paying the registration fee,'' says the website. 

The program that includes round-tables, discussions, and lectures has been divided into six thematic sections. 

On Thursday, October 7, the themes will be Globally and Locally (on laws and practices in Croatia, Europe, and the rest of the world), Ventilation and Air-conditioning (on the pandemic, health protection, cleaning solutions, and more), and Regulation and Control (on smart grids, buildings, and similar topics).

The next day, October 8, the forum will deal with the themes of Projects and Solutions (designing, testing and implementing cooling systems, etc.), Renovation and Modernisation (nearly zero-energy buildings, energy renovation), and finally, Efficiency and Development (the energy consumption of cooling and ventilation systems and more).

With concerns about energy efficiency continuing to take a front seat for the climate change topic, this conference is another environmentally friendly step forward for Croatia. As TCN previously wrote, positive examples include the Hrvoje Požar Energy Institute (EIHP), being the first nearly-zero energy building in Croatia, and the REPLACE Project, to name just a couple of examples.

Several scientific-technical are also keenly backing this upcoming event. These five patrons are the University of Rijeka, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (University of Split), the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (University of Zagreb), the Croatian Chamber of Engineers, and the Croatian Association for Cooling, Air-Conditioning and Heat Systems.

In addition, the lead patron is the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK)

Learn more about Croatian inventions and discoveries from Tesla to Rimac on our dedicated TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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