Ecodynamics Group has developed a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory in the area of the Province of Siena and achieved an ISO14064 certification for the carbon emission-absorption balance at the territorial scale. First case in the world.

 

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1. RESULTS FROM THE 2008-2015 REGES PROJECT.

 

In the Province of Siena, GHG emission is totally compensated by the CO2 uptake by local ecosystems.
[Scientific approach] This achievement is based on an annual monitoring performed by the Ecodynamics Group (University of Siena) in compliance with the IPCC2006 guidelines (Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change) including the following sectors: energy; industry; agriculture and breeding; waste management and forestry.
[Control/certification] Results from the GHG inventory have been controlled and reviewed by the certification body RINA SpA and finally certified in compliance with the ISO14064 standard (Carbon Balance). To our knowledge, this is the first world case of a certified GHG inventory at the territorial scale.
[Policy] Based on results from the first inventory (70% emission locally compensated by carbon uptake in 2008), the provincial administration of Siena started a political campaign to achieve the ambitious goal of carbon neutrality in 2015. Due to the implementation of good practices, together with other factors, Siena concretely reached the goal of carbon neutrality (2011).

 

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The REGES project combines three elements in a loop: 1) scientific approach (University); 2) control/certification (independent certification body) 3) policy (provincial administration).

 

1.1. Scientific approach: Greenhouse Gas inventory.
The GHG inventory is a standard method for monitoring GHG emission of Nations. The active engagement of local authorities is a strategic condition for achieving the national goals of GHG emission mitigation and decrease. Knowing the state of carbon emission and absorption in sub-national regions is a valuable requisite for planning more specific solutions at the local level.
The REGES project provides a systematic GHG inventory in the area of the Province of Siena. The inventory includes both the main GHG emission sources, either anthropic or biogenic, and carbon sinks (i.e. carbon uptake by local ecosystems), based on a bottom-up approach (data directly collected in the area) in compliance with the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.
Outcomes from the 2008-2013 time-series analysis allowed for detecting the initial state (in terms of GHG emission) of the regional system and its progress in time and to estimate the effects of concrete actions promoted by the administration in different sectors. The annual carbon emission-absorption balance has two main outcomes: it informs policy makers and addresses choices based on real data monitoring; it highlights effects of good practices and accomplished policies, contributing to maximize results.

 

1.2. Control/certification: ISO14064 certificate for the carbon emission-absorption balance.
The independent certification body is a key element in the REGES project. It allows for a critical review of the GHG inventory and a correct monitoring of outcomes relative to the accomplished good practices. It also avoids self-sufficiency, validates results in compliance with the ISO14064 standard and allows for comparison and repeatability of the monitoring process.

 

1.3. Policy: measures promoted by the Province of Siena.
Based on outcomes from the GHG inventory, possible mitigation solutions and measures have been promoted in different sectors of activity. These were part of a political plan, namely Siena Carbon Free 2015. A list of the main actions promoted by the administration, together with the Provincial Agency for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, follows.

 

 
 
Decreasing energy demand: on behalf of the provincial administration, APEA started a monitoring campaign of residential heating systems in order to control their performance through annual checks and guarantee a high efficiency standard (users were asked to pay 5-6 euros). After a wide campaign of system maintenance and efficiency improvement (applied to over 90,000 heating systems), the demand of natural gas for residential use has progressively decreased.
Increasing renewable energy: the Province of Siena added 2M euros to the national incentives and made approving procedures easier for small size PV systems. Since 2008, 70MW PV systems were installed within the Province with an estimated investment of around 25M euros and a majority of local enterprises engaged. The total electricity demand in covered by renewable energy generated within the Province of Siena (92.2% geothermal; 4.2% PV, 3.6% waste).
Integrated waste management: a specific GHG monitoring has been developed for the waste treatment plants of the Province of Siena addressed to develop an integrated waste management system. Main actions were: closure of landfills to be progressively replaced by a coherent waste treatment chain process including enhanced differentiated collection, advanced selection, recycling, organic composting; incineration. Despite the starting of incineration processes, the whole GHG emission by the integrated waste management system has been progressively decreasing.
Biofuel powered public transport: a number of buses were replaced by biofuel or gas powered vehicles. This action was not very relevant in terms of emission decreasing but quite important in terms of communication. It helps to rise awareness on green policy and sustainable goals.
Fire risk decreasing: a detailed file prevention plan was developed in order to decrease frequency and dimension of fires. The reduced number of fire, together with new planting areas, allowed for increasing carbon uptake within the Province of Siena.
Dissemination: information and good practice sharing among citizens is a crucial point to avoid inefficiency and energy waste. A communication campaign has been developed to condition people behaviour. For example, www.lenergianoncimanca.it deals with resourse use and energy saving (see ideograms on the left) including water use, private mobility, led lamps for domestic lighting, domestic equipment stand-by and energy class, thermo-voltaic systems.
Creation of a green brand: a specific brand for green activities, namely “Terre di Siena” (meaning “Lands of Siena”), combined with different claims (“carbon free”, “green”, etc.) has been created. This intends to highlight and certify the sustainability vocation of different private activities, including agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, sport and food.

 

 

2. REPEATABILITY OF THE REGES PROJECT

 

The REGES project is a repeatable experience in sub-national regions, opening new developmental perspectives for local communities. The applied methodology, concerning on a joint effort of local administration, research body and control authority, contributes to increase feasibility and agreement around political decisions. Based on outcomes from the monitoring process, specific and innovative solutions for territorial management can be implemented and achieved goals used to enhance visibility of local enterprises, promote tourism and increase social and economic welfare within a sustainable rationale.

REGES introduces a systemic viewpoint on regional systems, comprehensively focussing on different sectors of activity and involving many stakeholders among policy makers, entrepreneurs and citizens. The GHG inventory is conceived to provide detail information on specific sectors of activity, including agriculture, breeding, industry, waste management, tourism and can easily involve people operating in these sectors (e.g. food production, tourist services, industrial and crafts manufacturing).

The site-specific approach allows for highlighting problems and peculiarities of each region, figure out specific solutions and define a proper pathway towards sustainability. The iterative method, involving administrations, research bodies and control authorities, was demonstrated to enhance political decisions on the basis of scientific proofs and validating processes. These aim to make choices and increase acceptance around a common “carbon free” target.

As part of the REGES project, external communication is crucial for deployment and dissemination. It helps to prompt new initiatives among local entrepreneurs, associations and citizens addressed to the “carbon free” target and exploit results, also in terms of promotion and marketing. Communication has therefore a double issue: a) engaging people in taking part in the transition process towards a carbon neutral society; b) promoting new market oriented initiatives based on a specific brand, to be shared by different activities and services within the region, as a label of products, tourist services and other public or private regional services explicitly addressed to the “carbon free” target.

 

 

Details in REGES 2008-2013.