Always getting better

Replacement of roofs and façades containing ssbestos in kindergartens and primary schools

In 2008, we initiated a two-year project of replacing roofs and façades containing asbestos in kindergartens and primary schools with new, environmentally friendly materials. We renovated 38 buildings and removed 664 tons of asbestos. While planning the replacement of roofs and other elements containing asbestos, we paid special attention to insulation as one of the elements of energetic efficiency.

Removal of illegally disposed asbestos and construction waste

In 2009, we started cleaning illegal dumping sites with construction and asbestos waste on land owned by the City of Ljubljana based on the inventories and the interactive database. Since 2009, we have managed to remove 623 tons of asbestos waste and 86,400 tons of construction waste. During the waste removal, we also rehabilitated large areas (Tomačevo, Žale, Vrhovci and Rakova jelša) as well as many smaller areas. We are glad to notice that there are fewer illegal dumping sites of the kind year after year. 

Decree on forests with a special purpose

In 2010, we drafted the Decree on Forests with a Special Purpose based on the expert proposal by the Slovenia Forest Service. As forests with a special purpose, forests that have a distinctively pronounced social function were declared, which is a total of 1,153 hectares of forests. According to the Act on Forests, the functions of forests are: environmental, social, and wood production. The social functions of the forest are recreation, tourism, education, research, and hygiene as well as health, protection of natural resources and cultural heritage, defence and aesthetics. 

Removal of invasive alien plant species from the land owned by City of Ljubljana

Ljubljana, like many European cities, is faced with overgrowth of invasive alien plant species. We mostly focus on plants that are harmful to health, such as common ragweed (Ambrosia artemissifolia), giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) and common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). In protected areas, those are also the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) and Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica). We were the first in Slovenia to print a 3D specimen of common ragweed which we use to improve awareness-raising and educational activities. Furthermore, we established an outdoor laboratory in the castle hill area, where we test different methods of Japanese knotweed removal. Awareness of the residents about the harmfulness of invasive foreign plants is being raised within the Gloves on! campaign.

The decree on declaring the landscape Park Tivoli, Rožnik and Šišenski hrib

In 2015, we thoroughly amended the Decree from 1984 and therefore ensured the protection of the ecosystems, natural resources, and landscape features, prevented the tampering with the nature as well as any activities which could permanently endanger the biodiversity of the protected area, the purpose of visiting the area, and the management of the area. Based on the Nature Conservation Act, we issued 2,170 declaratory decisions to landowners in 2016 and the management of the area was transferred to public company VOKA SNAGA.

Reforestation of forests damaged by sleet

In February 2014, sleet severely damaged the forests in the COL. To accelerate the rehabilitation of forests, which play an important social and environmental role, the employees of our large city family in April 2015 and 2016 performed the reforestation on five locations of the City of Ljubljana within the For a More Beautiful Ljubljana campaign: Zajčja dobrava, Rožnik, Golovec, Toško čelo, and Stanežiče, planting 12,089 new trees, the exact number of employees of our large city family.


Reforestation on Golovec.

We were among the first in the world to make paper from Japanese knotweed

Ljubljana, like many European cities, is faced with overgrowth of Japanese knotweed, one of the top 100 most invasive alien plant species in the world. 

In order to prevent excessive overgrow of the invasive alien plant species and introducing the reuse principle, the City of Ljubljana and public company VOKA SNAGA have connected with the collective REGENERACIJA, University Botanic Gardens Ljubljana, and the Pulp and Paper Institute.

Within voluntary Japanese knotweed harvesting activities in 2016, we collected more than 1,500 kg of dry stems of the plant, ground them, and produced approximately 450kg of paper at semi-industrial level. 

From this paper, we then designed and produced useful products – paper bags and notebooks – as well as used it for printing Snagazin, the magazine of public company Snaga. The employees of the City Administration and public companies have been involved in project upgrade in 2017.

We harvested more than 1,600kg of Japanese knotweed, which we also used for handcrafted production of business cards and promotional materials for the landscape park Tivoli, Rožnik and Šišenski hrib (wall calendar for 2018,  graphics, postcards, and a memory game). 

With this project, we started to solve the issue of alien plant species in an innovative way, following the principle of circular economy.



A series of promotional materials, which has been awarded the Brumen award for excellent Slovenian design, is printed on paper made from invasive plant fibres harvested in the park.

Improved air quality

The quality of air in Ljubljana is monitored through the measurements by means of our own measuring station that was put in operation in 1996. The station is regularly maintained and upgraded. In 2009, we executed a comprehensive renovation of the monitoring station, giving it a new appearance. At the same time, the station was moved from the platform in front of the Figovec restaurant to the intersection of Tivolska cesta and Vošnjakova ulica and renamed Monitoring Point Ljubljana-Center.

At the end of 2016, we marked ten years of continuous measurements of PM10 particles. The results show that air pollution is steadily decreasing and in that in Ljubljana, the air is cleaner every year. However, an excessive amount of PM10 particles is still measured during the heating season, which is the consequence of biomass heating in individual furnaces, not only in Ljubljana but also in the suburban municipalities. Unfavourable weather conditions during the heating season lead to an increased air pollution. Since Ljubljana is located in a basin, it is strongly exposed to poor ventilation, frequent  temperature inversions and a high population density in comparison to other Slovenian municipalities.

We are continuously improving the air quality by implementing numerous sustainable mobility measures. By changing the traffic flow on Slovenska cesta, the black carbon concentration was reduced by 70% during background measurements (at the same time, air quality in the surrounding streets did not decrease but has remained the same). This proves that the right measures can strongly impact local air quality improvement. 


In addition to the measures we are implementing, the air quality is influenced by weather conditions and the level of ventilation of the city. Undoubtedly, the measurements during the past 11 years, i.e. since we began monitoring particle concentration in the city centre, show a trend of a persistent air quality improvement, which is also the result of the implemented

Mobile portal with comprehensive air quality information

On the mobile portal, smartphone users can, in addition to measurements of emissions from the TE-TOL unit, monitor the actual impact of its operation on air quality in Ljubljana. In 2010, the mobile portal received the World Summit Award Mobile for being recognised as the best socially-responsible mobile content practice in the world. 

Introduction of wooden biomass for co-generation of heating energy and electricity

In 2008, the Thermal Power Plant Ljubljana (today a TE-TOL unit of public company Energetika Ljubljana) introduced a renewable energy source into the heating energy and electricity co-generation process, namely wood biomass, and thus additionally contributed to the reduction of the environmental burden in Ljubljana. Public company Energetika Ljubljana annually produces 15% of heating energy and electricity. At the beginning, the consumption of wood chips was 67,000 tons and has risen to today’s 110,000 tons. All the electricity produced from wood chips comes from a highly efficient co-generation process and represents the largest share of electricity produced this way in Slovenia. Public company Energetika Ljubljana is the largest consumer of wood biomass for energy production in Slovenia. 

Improvement of energetic and environmental efficiency in the TE-TOL unit

Due to the reduction of specific fuel consumption, 367,520 GJ less fuel energy (or 19,000 tons of coal) was used in 2014 compared to the specific fuel consumption in 2000.

Also public company Žale is energetically efficient

By installing a heat exchanger into two cremation furnaces, the Žale company has lowered the temperature of flue gasses by approximately one half and redirected excess heat from the furnace into the central heating system at their premises instead of outside. Therefore, they contribute not only to the reduction of atmospheric heating, but also to a more efficient energy consumption.

Expansion of heat and natural gas supply

Public company Energetika Ljubljana provides two fundamental systems for district energy supply to all the citizens, namely district heating and natural gas supply. Both energy supply systems represent an important measure for reducing air pollution with PM10 dust particles. These are mainly caused by emissions from individual furnaces and vehicles, therefore we have been actively participating in the promotion of environmentally friendly vehicles running on compressed natural gas (CNG or methane) as well as trucks running on liquefied natural gas (LNG) for many years in addition to promoting district energy supply. The Ordinance on the Air Quality Plan in the City of Ljubljana therefore states the extension of the hot water pipeline and gas supply network as well as the connection of new buildings among the key measures for improving air quality in the field of energy supply. Today, we provide district heating and natural gas to 74% of homes, yet the objective for 2024 is to supply 80% of homes.

Introduction of district cooling

The construction of a first large district cooling system with a rated capacity of 7MW and the implementation of the usage of heat for cooling in Ljubljana were carried out in 2010. The system has been set-up to supply Sports Park Stožice. In addition to reducing the loads imposed on the power distribution system, it also reduces the burden on the Ljubljanica river due to condensation heat during the summer operation of TE-TOL of public company Energetika Ljubljana, which is a good example of circular economy.

The old making way to the new – public company Energetika Ljubljana updating its production resources

The heat used for district heating is mostly produced in the TE-TOL unit, where two of three coal-fired units will be replaced by a gas and steam unit (GSU). The coal-firing unit 3, which was redesigned in 2008 for a simultaneous usage of coal and wood chips – Energetika Ljubljana is the largest consumer of wood biomass for energy production in Slovenia – will remain operational to provide the option of using different primary fuels and renewable energy sources in the TE-TOL unit. Therefore by 2021, the use of coal in Ljubljana will be reduced by 70%.


The Energy Heart of Ljubljana

Energy retrofit of buildings and energy performance contracting

Increase of energy efficiency is being achieved by implementing energy retrofits of buildings owned by the City of Ljubljana since 2013. Initially, we were implementing energy retrofits of buildings only through public tenders and exploited all available financial incentives. Since 2015 we have started with first PPP EPC (Public Private Partnership – Energy Performance Contracting) procedures. Today we use the PPP EPC approach (model) on the majority of objects that are being retrofitted.

In 2017, we signed a concession contracts for energy retrofits of 48 public buildings owned by the City of Ljubljana with the consortium of Petrol and GGE companies. Among them, there are cultural and healthcare facilities, educational institutions, sports facilities and also City Administration facilities. With the retrofits, which were finished in 2018, we have greatly reduced the energy consumption on certain facilities. With the installation of water/water heat pumps, we have contributed to an increase of the renewable energy sources share and consequently reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is the largest public-private partnership project in Slovenia in the field of energy contracting.

The buildings that are financially not interesting for possible private partners are retrofitted through classical public tenders. With the help of cohesion funds, we have therefore also retrofitted five kindergartens in 2017. 

Total guaranteed annual heat and electric energy savings amount to 8,245,534 kWh, that is, just over million euro per year. This means a decrease of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalent) in the amount of 2,956 tons per year. For comparison, so much CO2 is annually absorbed by 150,000 trees, that is, 340 ha of forest.

The second phase of energy renovations of buildings in the City of Ljubljana is ahead of us

On 4 October 2018, Mayor Zoran Janković and the President of the Management Board of Petrol Tomaž Berločnik, MA, signed a contract on the continuation of the public-private partnership between the City of Ljubljana and the consortium of companies Petrol, Resalta and the public lighting company Javna razsvetljava d.d. according to the principle of energy contracting.

Within the framework of the signed partnership we are renovating further 11 structures – 4 primary schools, 3 kindergartens, 2 local self-government buildings and 2 sports structures, and by doing so we are going to additionally reduce the use of energy products and increase the share of renewable resources which will consequentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This way we are going to preserve as many as 22,000 trees. If we add to this the 150,000 trees we have already preserved in the first part of the project, we have preserved over 170,000 trees, in total.

In the second phase of the partnership we are going to comprehensively renovate the Najdihojca Kindergarten (Biba Unit), the Galjevica Kindergarten (Galjevica Unit), the Vodmat Primary School, the Oskar Kovačič Primary School (two locations), the Poljane Primary School and the Kodeljevo Multipurpose Hall and Swimming Pool, and partially the Oton Župančič Kindergarten (Živ žav Unit), Krim Sports Hall and two buildings of the City of Ljubljana in Savlje and on Dunajska cesta 367 (where also the Ljubljana City Library has its premises).

Replacement of road lamps and lighting fixtures in urban settlements

In 2008, we began replacing lamps in Ljubljana according to the Decree on Limit Values due to Light Pollution of Environment. Public Company Javna razsvetljava uses modern light fixtures in Ljubljana, which are energetically efficient and significantly reduce the environmental impact.

In Ljubljana, we drink clean and good water

In Ljubljana, we drink clean and technologically untreated water. For more than a century, safe drinking water supply in Ljubljana has been coming from water sources that can be found in the immediate vicinity of the city. 

Our country is among European countries with the highest share of water reserves, which means that the local water flow is above average. Through precipitation and incoming water, we receive more water than we use. Underground waters feature the biggest global drinking water supplies and that is also the case in Ljubljana. We treat water resources in a good and environmentally friendly manner. Thus we have the option to preserve this treasure for future generations by adequate spatial planning.

Everyone has access to water

Water resources of the Ljubljana water supply system have been protected by means of water protection areas since 1955. In Ljubljana, we monitor the quality of groundwater of the Ljubljana Field and Ljubljana Moors, which are the main sources of drinking water for the city of Ljubljana. We are also carrying out microbiological research of eight watercourses during the swimming and bathing season as well as other parameters once a year when the flow in those watercourses is low. Several drinking fountains have been installed in Ljubljana. Ljubljana’s citizens and visitors can find them in the city centre and the green outskirts of the city.

Recently, we have been noticing an improved quality of groundwater because the limit values were exceeded at none of the measuring spots since the end of 2015. 

In 2017, we started monitoring microbiological parameters at three locations on the right bank of the Ljubljanica: at Špica, at the Hradecky Bridge, and on the Cankar Quay. That way, we will obtain information for further planning of measures necessary for improving the water quality. We are also monitoring the Tivoli Pond, where most citizens and visitors of the park love to go to.


Several drinking fountains have been installed in Ljubljana. Ljubljana’s citizens and visitors can find them in the city centre and the green outskirts of the city. Drinkining water reaches more than 35 drinking fountains from Ljubljana’s central water supply system and its quality is periodically monitored.

European funds for waste water discharge and treatment

At the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant in Ljubljana, around 80,000m3 of wastewater is treated daily. Public company VOKA-SNAGA manages 363km of sewage systems for municipal wastewater, 327km for stormwater, and 434km for combined sewers. To ensure an uninterrupted flow of wastewater, we regularly remove mud, sand and other sediments from the sewage system using modern cleaning systems. 

In August 2017, the European Commission approved applications for cohesion funds and therefore gave the green light for the implementation of this large and complex environmental project. This is the largest cohesion project in Slovenia at the time. The project is valuated at EUR 111 million (without VAT) and the European Commission will contribute EUR 69.1 million, the Republic of Slovenia will co-finance EUR 12.4 million, and the remaining funds will be provided by the municipalities. This major project aims at well-organised discharge and treatment of wastewater in the entire City of Ljubljana and the two neighbouring municipalities, Medvode and Vodice.

Within the project, we are also going to upgrade the central wastewater treatment plant of Ljubljana with the tertiary treatment and increase the capacity in accordance with long-term plans. We are going to construct a sewage system for the discharge of municipal wastewater in 39 areas in the City of Ljubljana within agglomerations exceeding 2,000 PU. By extending the C0 collector all the way to the central wastewater treatment plant of Ljubljana, we will arrange the discharge of wastewater from the northwestern part of Ljubljana.

Prior to 2007, only 68% of premises were connected to the sewage system, however the number increased to 88% by the end of 2017. With the CLEAN FOR YOU project, we will additionally connect households with more than 17,500 residents in total to the sewage system, thus increasing the share of connected households to 98%. Within the COL, we will construct 88.3km of sewage, 3 vacuum stations, 13 pumping stations, a retention basin, and a sewage collector with a total length of 12.1km.

Boldness for less waste and better quality of living

In Ljubljana, the first European “zero waste” capital, we boast of the best waste management system among the 28 capital cities, which clearly sets an example for other European countries. We are also achieving the highest share of sorted household waste – in 2018, the share was 68%.

Also citizens experienced the financial benefits of separate waste collection. Due to an increased share of separately collected waste and consequently a lower amount of disposed waste, the public company Snaga (nov public company VOKA SNAGA) credited them the amount of the December bill for waste management at the end of 2014. In December 2015, the citizens received part of their money back, thus reducing the average bill by 60 percent for exactly the same reason.

Get used to reuse

In Ljubljana, we are promoting a sustainable attitude towards objects, rational shopping habits, and valuing what money cannot buy at Povšetova ulica with the Get Used To Reuse campaign and through the Reuse Centre. Through workshops and urban interventions we are breaking the myth that new is better than old or already used. We are also introducing ways to live our everyday lives according to the principle of reusing and how this can change our attitude towards things in the long-term. Reselling and exchanging things have already become the new forms of recycling, but sharing is also becoming popular. There are numerous cases when the residents of one or more apartment buildings share bicycles and even cars. 

Raise your voice against food waste

In Ljubljana, also waste bins are very active – public company VOKA SNAGA has placed the bins in the focus of its campaign Raise your voice against food waste. Through this campaign, we try to raise awareness about the issue of food waste and we redirect attention to our attitude towards food in today’s society of abundance and excessive consumption. The focal point of the campaign is the bins at various events in district authorities carrying banners saying “If we are on the street, it doesn't mean that we are hungry!” and “Raise your voice against food waste”, thus warning about the (wrong) attitude towards food and invite us to change. 

I’m not lasting, but therefore less annoying. I’m a biodegradable bag.

In the City of Ljubljana, we have, along with public companies Ljubljanska parkirišča in tržnice and VOKA SNAGA, started a campaign against plastic bags with the slogan “I’m not lasting, but therefore less annoying. I’m a biodegradable bag” under our European Green Capital 2016 title. The campaign aims to reduce the use of plastic bags, which greatly burden our environment. The tenants at Ljubljana’s markets will be allowed to only use environmentally friendly packagings from 2019 on.




The ground at the playgrounds of public kindergartens and primary schools in Ljubljana is unpolluted

In previous years, we tested the soil quality at 95 playgrounds of public kindergartens in the COL and 32 playgrounds of public primary schools. At the latter, no exceeded critical immission values of dangerous substances were established, however at 4 playgrounds of public kindergartens, we established exceeded values. Of course the ground was immediately properly rehabilitated. At these locations, the reason for the pollution was the filling of already polluted soil transported from elsewhere in the past.

Strategic noise map

In accordance with the Environmental Noise Directive, we drafted the strategic noise map for the City of Ljubljana in 2008 and updated it in 2014 with a new map taking into consideration local roads where the traffic exceeds one million vehicles a year. This way, we assessed the actual burden on the environment and the citizens of Ljubljana due to noise and obtained necessary expert opinions for the drafting of an operational noise protection programme, which is being drafted in cooperation with the Ministry of the Republic of Slovenia for the Environment and Spatial Planning. When preventing vehicles from entering the city centre, we reduced noise levels by 6dB. The noise map furthermore shows that on average, the citizens of Ljubljana are less burdened with nighttime noise (exceeding 65dB) than the citizens of other European cities. We are already drafting a new noise map for COL for 2017.

Paper from recycled milk and juice packaging

In 2015, Public Holding Ljubljana, public companies and some public institutions started using the most sustainable hygiene paper on the market (paper towels and toilet paper) made of the recycled milk and juice packaging. Separately collected packaging is handed over to the packaging company, which properly processes it and submits it to the paper manufacturer and thus creates a closed loop. That way, material flows are closed into a loop, which provides for environmental and financial savings. 

In 2019, joining the good practice are the whole city administration and district communities, 17 public kindergartens, 6 public primary schools, 1 public music school and 10 public institutes.