Creation of cycling lanes, multiplication of green areas, solar panels projects, campaigns to encourage individual initiatives in green housing, an ambitious mobility plan that will directly benefit more than half of the inhabitants of the metropolitan area … the examples of Toulouse’s sustainable conscience are legion.
One example maybe speaks louder than others: not so long ago Toulouse joined the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS), a performance improvement program that measures and benchmarks the sustainability strategy and performance of meetings destinations. The city is now part of a global destination sustainability movement that seeks to engage, inspire and enable urban centres to become more regenerative places to visit, meet and thrive in.
Toulouse’s participation in the GDS-Index doesn’t really come a surprise if you look at the sustainable initiatives and projects the city has taken on in recent years. The opening of the new LEED certified MEETT Convention Centre, scheduled for the end of the year, demonstrates, for instance, the commitment of the city’s partners to continually improve their sustainability policies. At the same time, it addresses the needs of local event organizers who are increasingly requesting eco-responsible solutions for their environment-conscious clients.
Across the whole value chain
This is actually part of a bigger vision that runs across the whole value and policy chain. An ambitious action plan 2018-2023 has been designed by the city authorities, encouraging concrete actions that will benefit the lives of residents and visitors alike. These include energy renovation for housing, preservation of natural areas, eco-mobility, production of local renewable energies, support for economic actors for sustainable supporting initiatives regarding energy transition, etc. In this regard, Toulouse launched a new Air-Energy Climate Plan last year. Its goal? Reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 2008.
Toulouse might also well be the epitome of the empowerment by solar panels. If MEETT decided to install one on its roof – it is set to produce the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 3,600 people at a power output of 5 MWc and an annual output of 6,500 MWh – there are also a few ones to be found in key areas of the city.
The solar panels on top of the Central Market represent, in this context, one of the largest power plants commissioned by the metropolis: it is expected to produce an annual 2000 Mw approximately, saving about 1000 tons of CO2 per year. There is also France’s bigger solar panel project located sideways to the Oncopole (cancer research hub) just outside Toulouse, which will allow for an annual production of more than 21 million kWh, the equivalent of the electricity consumption of 19,000 inhabitants.
The city’s sustainable ethos is also evident in how you move through it: Toulouse’s appeal definitely lies in its walkability – there are over 5,200 hotels room within easy walking distance of the Pierre Baudis Convention Centre (and another 5,600 in the direct vicinity of MEETT and the airport), while major attractions can easily be reached by foot or public transport. The airport is also a short 15-minute drive from the centre – with Paris only one hour away – and once there, it is possible to walk or cycle with hundreds of kilometers of on and off-road bike paths.