Serving as the Mid Term Event of the extended Interreg North Sea Region (NSR) 2IMPREZS project, this online conference demonstrated how the transnational 2IMPREZS Energy Challenges approach can be applied in various regions to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.

The Interreg North Sea Region (NSR) 2IMPREZS project offers a tried-and-true method of reducing energy consumption in school buildings, thus lowering carbon emissions, across the five participating North Sea Region countries of Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and the UK. From 2017 to 2021, the 2IMPREZS project stimulated change in the current climate crisis and resulting energy transition. This was achieved by fostering both behavioural and technical efficient energy saving measures in schools. The comprehensive transnational strategy achieved significant energy savings in hundreds of schools in the North Sea Region, representing an emission reduction of at least 6281 tonnes of CO2 in the short term. On numerous occasions, 2IMPREZS has received top-level European exposure, e.g. through taking home the grand prize of the Interact Project Slam 2019 at the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as winning the North Sea Region Video Contest in 2020, and has made a substantial impact within the Interreg NSR Programme and beyond.

The Interreg NSR 2IMPREZS project has proven that there is an incredible need and demand for a transnational programme that can help schools save not only energy, but also money. However, a main conclusion is that there is a lot of room for improvement and more opportunities to build capacity, especially using digital infrastructure and approaches. As exposed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, combined with the general increasing trend towards digitalisation, in the last year it has become incredibly important to promote intelligence-sharing to benefit both the economy as well as the environment.

Due to the success of the 2IMPREZS Energy Challenges, the project has been awarded additional European funds and extended for a further 18 months in order to reach more schools in existing and additional regions, develop a digital programme, and continue the considerable reduction in energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Therefore, the final conference of the 2IMPREZS project also was the midterm event of the extended “2IMPREZS 4.0” project. Held in conjunction with the Belgian National Energy Week as well as EU Sustainable Energy Week as a Sustainable Energy Day for additional European and national level exposure, the project partners presented the results and communicated the impact of 2IMPREZS, effectively setting the stage for the next phase of the extended project.

In addition to informative panel discussions focused on the implementation of the transnational 2IMPREZS Energy Challenges programme in partner regions, the event featured demonstrations of the 2IMPREZS digital tools – the 2IMPREZS Interactive Fact Sheets and the E. Wattson “Energy Detective”, an interactive energy optimisation decision making model. Concluding the diverse programme, Jesper Jönsson (North Sea Region Joint Secretariat) applauded 2IMPREZS for its ability to increase awareness – having reached over 55,000 pupils – enable significant energy savings and carbon reduction, and effectively bridging the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic through adapting and continuing to build capacity of the 2IMPREZS concept.

Finally, a closing video announcement by Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal, congratulated the 2IMPREZS students while also serving as a call to action for current and future generations: “Your actions, your ideas, and above all, your commitment give hope for the future. We face enormous challenges, but we can tackle them together. Thank you once again for your inspiring actions so far – keep up the good work!”

And indeed – our work here has only begun. Next stop: 2IMPREZS 4.0.

More information

The implementation of the project comprehensive transnational strategy aimed to reach 30% energy savings in 141 schools in the North Sea Region, representing an emission reduction of 7320 tons of CO2, and transform at least four schools into nearly zero-energy buildings.

atene KOM takes over the communication with the schools from the project region. The participating schools are supported throughout the entire project and have a contact person who helps them to implement the Energy Challenges and a sustainable energy reduction. Further, atene KOM is responsible for the organisation of the local school meetings in order to encourage the transnational exchange of knowledge.

More information about 2IMPREZS can also be found on the project website: www.northsearegion.eu/2imprezs.