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Petros Angelidis: The Municipality of Serres has significant experience in the implementation of projects co-financed by the European Union

Serres is one of the administrative and economic centers of Northern Greece
  • February 26, 2019 09:30, 2691 impressions
  • Author Monika Dimitrova
Medium petros angelidis1
Source: Athina Kokkinidou

Mr. Angelidis, how would you describe the structure of the Municipality of Serres briefly?

The Municipality of Serres, as a local authority, is responsible for providing its services to its citizens. It is a fully competent and developed organization, which has been offering its services to the citizens since 1913 and according to its Internal Operating Regulation, consists of one General Division, seven specialized Divisions and three independent Departments. The Municipality's tasks are also supported by several municipal Legal Entities under private and public law. Concerning the total municipal staff, it amounts to 344 employees.

Its main priority axes of actions are summarized in:

  • Environment and Quality of Life
  • Social Politics, Health, Education, Culture, Athletics
  • Local Economy and Employment
  • Improvement of administrative capacity & economic situation

The Municipality of Serres has significant experience in the implementation of projects co-financed by the European Union. Specifically, it has been implementing projects in the framework of the following programs: Regional Operational Programme of Central Macedonia, European Territorial Cooperation Programmes (GREECE-BULGARIA, GREECE-FYROM), Community Initiatives (URBACT, LIFE+, Europe for Citizens etc.), Operational Programmes. 

In the context of wider cooperation with relevant organizations in foreign countries, the Municipality of Serres has developed town-twinning relationships with other cities/municipalities with the aim of promoting cultural, economic and social relationships between them, such as: Fosses (France), Veliko Turnono (Bulgaria), Petrich (Bulgaria), NIS (Serbia), Ayia Napa (Cyprus).

Please, tell us more about the bioclimatic upgrades of public open spaces in the Municipality.  

The Municipality of Serres has recently completed a bioclimatic reconstruction project, covering an area of 31,000 sq.m. in the densely-built commercial city centre with the use of innovative, environmentally-friendly materials and elements (such as water elements, cooling towers, planted areas) in order not only to save energy, but also to improve the microclimate and thermal comfort of the residents and visitors in the area and boost the local economy.

The main design axes of the upgrade of the area are:

  1. Increasing the accessibility of pedestrians and people with disabilities and encourage mild travel (e.g. cycling, mild vehicle traffic).
  2. Upgrading outdoor public spaces, attributed to the use of people and the prevalence of natural elements and environmentally-friendly materials.
  3. Extensive tree planting along the sidewalks where there are deciduous trees which provide shade during the summer period and a decrease in temperature.
  4. Use of water elements to the amount and extent permitted by the dimensions and the use of the spaces to promote natural cooling modes, which in combination with vegetation contribute to the aesthetic upgrading of the area.
  5. Provision of parking spaces in a controlled and organized way, in recesses along the roads
  6. Smooth transport operation in the area while maintaining the flow of cars and ensuring uninterrupted access to all roads in the upgrading area.
  7. Improving the sense of security and preventing outbreaks of delinquency by designing the outdoor spaces carefully so as not to create non-visible areas and maintaining visual communication from the adjacent streets.
  8. Adequate public lighting with low energy light bulbs. 

The objective of the project is the aesthetic upgrading of the area (a hub of social, economic and cultural activities in the local community) where the changes will take place, which will result in the increase of the land value and the improvement of the summer temperatures and microclimate of the area by using bioclimatic means. This way, recreational and leisure structures are created or redefined, helping to stimulate the social character of the area that will result in the growth and operation of businesses which are active in this sector, contributing to the financial support of the region, to economic impetus and to the adjacent existing commercial structures.

You are implementing also several energy saving projects, tell us more about the most important of them.

Solar energy gives a boost to the schools of the Municipality of Serres

The Municipality of Serres has joined the Covenant of Mayors on April 7, 2009 and renewed its participation as a new Kallikratis Municipality on August 26, 2015.

Among its most recent actions in the field of Green Energy is the installation of photovoltaic systems, with power up to 10KW, in 32 school rooftops. The Municipality started the process of installing photovoltaic systems, taking advantage of the relevant project "Photovoltaics on Roofs" of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change. Of the 32 schools, the 24 school buildings are located within the urban fabric while the rest are located in small or large municipal districts, thus covering the entire administrative territory of the Municipality.  They also cover all levels of education (kindergartens, primary schools, high schools, lyceums), while one of the systems is also installed in a Technical School.
The benefits of this RES utilization are multiple: increasing the use of solar energy, reducing CO2 emissions, reducing school operating costs, informing all users (pupils - teachers - parents) and enhancing environmental awareness. A parallel but also significant benefit is the improvement of the skills and competencies of the Municipality's staff.

The recording of the results from the recording of PV systems is not yet complete but the first sample is encouraging. The energy production from the photovoltaic systems amounted to 211.124KWh.

The practice described above was awarded with the 2nd Best-City Award (Best City Award) in 2016.

Energy Saving in buildings in the Municipality of Serres

The Municipality of Serres has implemented energy saving interventions in municipal buildings, and more specifically in the Municipal Swimming Pool, the indoor gym and the Town Hall, with a total budget of € 415,000.00. In particular:

Municipal Swimming Pool of Serres

The following interventions were carried out in the municipal swimming pool of Serres, which has a pool with dimensions 25x12,5 m and has been recently connected to the natural gas network to cover its thermal needs:

- Use of a pool cover in order to reduce heat loss. It covers the pool during non-operating hours reducing this way whatever losses there are due to the evaporation of the water.

- Interventions in the swimming pool networks:

  • Replacement of the hot water storage boilers in order to reduce heat loss
  • Redesign of pool connection networks and installation of new heat exchange devices so as to heat the pool water with better performance rate.
  • Interventions in the shower networks with new piping and water limiters, for less water consumption and therefore, lower energy consumption as far as heating is concerned.
  • Installation of a swimming pool data monitor and record system of the pool operation (e.g. temperature, pH, shower, etc.). The system continuously records and stores data in order for the swimming pool manager to evaluate the swimming pool's heating function, as well as the basic temperature and pH rates, whereas the energy data can also be calculated indirectly, thus monitoring energy consumption.

The above interventions are expected to have 25% energy savings and 20% reduction in water consumption.

Indoor Sports Hall in St. Anargyroi Valley

The following measures were taken after an energy inspection in the indoor gym, which is located next to the indoor swimming pool in the area of ​​St. Anargyroi valley and its facilities date back to 1977:

  • Replacement of all old window and door frames with modern aluminum frames with double glazing.
  • Replacement of the boiler in the boiler room and installation of an automation system in the boiler operation.

With these interventions several problems such as the poor state of the existing frames and the lack of automation in the boiler room were solved. The energy savings after implementing the above are estimated at around 10%.

Town Hall of Serres

The two-storey building of the Town Hall was an old building without any insulation. Its window and door frames were old and wooden and the windows had simple glass.

After an energy inspection, the first measure that was taken and implemented was the intervention in the window frames and the replacement of all existing aluminum frames with thermal ones which have energy double glazing, while reducing at many points the height of the openings. So after doing that, the losses of the building were reduced and the problem of poor quality frames was dealt with.

With these interventions the energy savings are of 7% and the building is upgraded from category E to D according to the Regulation for the Energy Efficiency of the Buildings (KENAK).

Similar interventions were made in two schools, the 5th Primary School of Municipality of Serres and 20th Primary School of Serres

The 5th Elementary School of Serres was constructed in 1983 and has an area of ​​1150 sq.m and accommodates 170 students and 10 teachers.
The age of the building, the poor quality of construction and the total lack of any energy and environmental design, had led to the deterioration in the quality of the educational space, reduced pupil learning ability and reduced visual and thermal comfort. The School belonged to energy class D before its energy upgrade, with an annual primary energy consumption of 25MWh and a CO2 emission of 56.62 tons.

For the energy upgrade of the school a series of interventions took place:

  • Thermal insulation of the roof and the exterior shell in order to reduce thermal losses.
  • Replacement of old window frames with new ones with 12 mm double glazing aluminum windows and a thermal switch. This practically means that a material (polyamide) is placed between the inside and the outside faces of the aluminum profiles of the frame to prevent heat transfer to and from the outside, saving this way energy and having better sound insulation.
  • Replacement of old lamps with new T8 fluorescent lamps, combined with the use of electronic ballast instead of conventional electromagnets. The ballast is an accessory needed to ignite the lamps while at the same time reducing the current reaching them, thus lengthening the life of the lamps and reducing their maintenance costs. Using the electronic ballast we save about 25% of energy while fluorescent lamps have a higher efficiency and provide 10%-20% more light.
  • Installation of a natural-artificial lighting control system (dimming). The system regulates the intensity of the interior lighting according to the external, natural lighting, in order to achieve uniform lighting with the lowest possible consumption. This saves significant amounts of energy.
  • Replacing the oil boiler with a geothermal water heat pump (12 geothermal heat exchangers).
  • Replace old radiators with fan coils, i.e. air conditioning units that offer cooling in the summer and heating in the winter.

The interventions have resulted in the building being classified as a higher energy class, operating costs reduced, and the building has become more environmentally friendly and user friendly.

20th Primary School of Serres

The energy interventions that were implemented were:

  • Replacement of old, single-glazed frames with new double glazing.
  • Replacement a conventional oil boiler with a biomass boiler (Pellet).
  • Installation of ceiling fans in classrooms and offices.
  • Installation of photovoltaic modules.
  • Replacement of two external power projectors of 220W with LED headlights.

Share some socially oriented good practices from the Municipality of Serres?

Actions concerning Social Cohesion - Operation of Advisory Support Center for Women Victims of Violence of the Municipality of Serres

The Center for Counseling Support of Women Victims of Violence of the Municipality of Serres is funded by the European Social Fund.

The project aims to:

  • Integrated support for women victims of violence (mainly domestic violence and trafficking) and their children
  • Raising awareness and informing the local communities so as to prevent and combat all forms of violence against women
  • Strengthening the role of local government in actions to prevent and combat all forms of violence against women,
  • The counseling of women victims of violence which is aimed at informing and empowering the victims.

The organization is based in a newly renovated, listed municipal building and its services are:

  • Counseling and integrated psychosocial support for women victims of violence.
  • Referral or escort services for victims, whenever required (e.g. hostels, etc.).
  • Legal counseling and information services for women victims of violence.
  • Actions to raise awareness and inform the local community with a view to preventing and combating all forms of violence against women.

The Municipality of Serres managed to secure its financing from 2013 to 2020, through the Central Macedonia Regional Operational Program.

What technological processes do you implement in the municipality services?

Online business information system 

The Municipality of Serres, in its effort to contribute to entrepreneurship, wants to create modern electronic services and tools that will enhance local entrepreneurship and improve their communication with the Municipality's services. The subject of the study is the development of a new integrated Business Portal of the Municipality of Serres, with free access to and guiding:

  • Ease of use
  • Extensibility
  • Full independence and autonomy in maintenance and development of new applications.
  • Attractive view and display of content and modules.
  • View the informational content and services of the web portal and on 3rd generation mobile devices through a mobile web solution.

Utilizing the possibilities offered by modern technology, the Municipality of Serres aspires to create a powerful tool that will upgrade communication, information and service to businesses and shops whose operation requires licensing as well as open-air trade. 

Android application for cultural events

The purpose of the application is to inform citizens about the forthcoming events of the Municipality and announcements through their mobile phone. It was implemented with open source tools and at no cost. By using the application Serres.net, every citizen who has an Android mobile device can be informed about various events and announcements in the Municipality of Serres. All Android versions from 2.2 onwards are compatible with this application.

Clicnspot

ClicknSpot is a means of creating “a digital city” model in the Municipality of Serres, which facilitates the life of the citizens through real-time information about the actions and operation of the Municipality and provides the opportunity to inform the Municipality immediately for the demands of its citizens. Using ClicknSpot, stakeholders can easily create a reference to the geographic map capturing a problem or event within the Municipality while simultaneously informing the Municipal Authority. Citizens' reports are posted to the Municipality's management platform and the citizens are informed about the progress of their report by the Municipal Authority itself through their mobile phone and ClicknSpot. In addition, ClicknSpot provides the ability to visualize all points of interest, events, touristic and other places, etc., which the actors want to communicate to the Citizens and vice versa.

Which are the main goals and good examples you plan to develop for the near future?

The Municipality of Serres is going to develop projects which are financed by European Regional Development Fund:

Upgrading of traffic lights with the addition of acoustic devices for the disabled

Supply and installation of the necessary audio equipment and the necessary additional signal equipment in order to facilitate the visually impaired persons will be placed on 14 road junctions or simple pedestrian crossings in the city, where traffic is defined by traffic lights.

Supply and installation of air pollution and other environmental parameters measurement stations

These three stations will measure and record in real time the data such as O3 ozone, nitrogen oxides Ο3, hydrogen sulphide H2S, suspended particulate matter TSP, PM1, PM2.5, PM10 and meteorological parameters that will be transmitted wirelessly at the measurement center installed in the City Hall of Serres. Through special software, the data will be automatically processed and boundary overruns will be detected. It will also provide statistical analysis and visualization - presentations of measurements, to provide instant and comprehensible information about the quality of air to the citizens.

New Energy Saving Interventions in Schools

Three new projects are about to start: the first one, on Secondary school Provatas Lyceum will be funded by the Programme Interreg- IPA CBC Greece-The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia program and the other two on schools in the Serres city, will be funded Regional Operational Programme.

Improvement - Energy upgrading of the lighting network using new energy saving technologies

The Municipality of Serres lighting network includes the street lighting network and the square and pedestrian street lighting network. According to the measurements and recordings that have been made so far, most of the electricity is consumed in the street lighting network, which has high-energy consuming lamps, i.e. Hg 125W lamps as well as Na 110-250W lamps. For the illumination of the squares and the pedestrian streets, there are mainly used light bulbs of 23 W. The study proposes to replace the old street illuminants of our Municipality with LED lights.

In particular, the old illuminants will be removed; the old lamps will be separated from them and will be transferred to a proper location indicated by the Environment department of the Municipality. New LED lights will be installed The contractor will supply the Municipality with 5.645 LED illuminants and the budget is calculated up to 2.945.536,50 €.

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