The Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector Baden-Württemberg runs an energy efficiency competition called “Leitstern Energieeffizienz” to single out urban and rural districts as leading lights in recognition of their special commitment to energy efficiency. The competition has been held every two years since 2016. The number of urban and rural districts entering the contest has increased from 24 in 2014 to 31 in 2020. Since the competition started, 38 of the 44 urban and rural districts in Baden-Württemberg have entered. This corresponds to around 86 per cent of all the districts in the state. The efficient use of energy and the reduction of energy consumption are issues of ever increasing importance in cities, towns and rural districts. The state government advisory board for sustainable development (Beirat der Landesregierung für nachhaltige Entwicklung) took action in response, introducing the “Leitstern Energieeffizienz” competition at district level in 2014 in order to find leading lights in energy efficiency and to promote “best practice” and “learning from one another”.
The Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector Baden-Württemberg asked the ZSW to come up with the brief and to run the competition. The competition is based on an indicator system developed by the ZSW which takes account of the political involvement of the rural and urban districts and which measures their success by analysing their accomplishments. In addition to recognising the excellence of the districts with the best record overall, there is also some acknowledgement of innovative initiatives at district level. There are workshops running alongside with a view to encouraging the districts to share ideas and to network more closely.