03.12.2013/15:02

Summary of the main outcomes

Supporting the cities’ efforts towards a highly efficient and sustainable resource efficient future needs a special focus on technical issues, in particular on energy and waste. In particular, finding out suited pathways towards more sustainable energy systems and analysing their pros and cons in technical, economic and environmental terms cannot be pursued without a detailed description of the present energy and waste management systems. Starting from a careful examination of data, methods and tools currently used by RE-SEEties’ city partners in their planning activities, CNR-IMAA and CRES carried out an extensive research on internationally recognized methods and tools delivered by previous projects of research and cooperation.

The main idea was to take benefit from previous experiences and techniques selecting those tools suitable for the project in terms of objectives and average expertise of the partnership on engineering models and technical issues. In order to assure the full application of these tools by municipal actors some additional calculation tools had to be developed in some cases. The full set of tools constitute the technical component of the RE-SEEties integrated toolkit and can be generally applicable in all European cities to support the definition of sustainable energy and waste management strategies with a long term perspective.

THE TOOLS

Energy forecasting

In the latest decades, energy analysis and forecasting has become increasingly important as planning and policy tool. As an example of the complexity of energy forecasting, future energy consumption for heating in households (generally expressed in kWh/m2) will depend on a number of exogenously defined variables that can represent current trends and possible policies such as expansion of networks (e.g. natural gas and DH) insulation improvements, use of alternative fuels-technologies (e.g. heat pumps).

Based on the findings of the State of the Art on Resource Forecasting report (V. Papandreou et al., 2013) and the discussions held among the partners a simple energy forecasting method is widely needed by cities to support their planning analysis on a medium-long term time horizon. Unfortunately, in scientific literature are not available easy-to-use energy forecasting models or tools. Therefore it was proposed to use the ICLEI Europe Basic Climate Toolkit (indicated in the following as the “ICLEI tool”) as the basis of energy consumption reporting for future years coupled with a series of customized calculation spreadsheets that will enable the estimation of future energy needs.

In this respect the provided toolkit will allow users to estimate energy consumption in various sectors (municipal and community buildings, transport etc) by using as input projections and estimates of primary parameters. The energy consumption figures will then be fed in to the ICLEI tool in order to calculate emissions. If necessary for longer term projections correction of emission factors may also be provided.

The LCA-IWM waste prognosis model

Forecasting of generation of municipal solid waste (MSW) in developing countries is often a challenging task due to the lack of data and selection of suitable forecasting method (Rimaityte et al., 2012). Unfortunately, an extensive literature research outlined that no simple waste prognosis tool is currently available, particularly if the focus is on South East Europe countries.

As extensively reported in (V. Papandreou et al., 2013) the only exception is represented by the waste prognosis model developed under the FP5 LCA-IWM project and based on the identification of significant indicators for the generation of municipal solid waste. The investigation covered 44 European countries and 91 European cities. Furthermore, it was implemented a software tool providing quantitative parameters for the estimation of waste streams to be used for the assessment of waste management systems. The LCA-IWM waste prognosis model is freely available (http://www.iwar.tu-darmstadt.de/lca-iwm/lca_iwm/project_results/results/... ) and presents a very user friendly interface.

It has to be pointed out that although the RE-SEEties target regions fits very well to the regions that were investigated in the LCA-IWM project the main limitation depends on the fact that this tool could not be updated since the end of the project in year 2005. Therefore the prognostic model is based on outdated socio-economic forecasts with a base year of 2004 or 2005 and that the historic data as starting points ended at about year 2002. Email exchanges with the main developer of this software pointed out that updating the model would at least require to gather current socio-economic data of the countries to be included in the analyses as well as current forecast data of socio-economic indicators used in the model.

Carrying out these further activities in this project was considered unfeasible. Thus it was agreed on the common decision to use the LCA-IWM waste prognosis model as a reference for waste forecasting at municipal scale is but with a clear idea of the above mentioned warnings on its use.

The CO2ZW waste management tool

CO2ZW provides a means of calculating the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (in carbon dioxide equivalents) emanating from the waste operations of European municipalities.

The tool in this version is an Excel-based calculator which receive as an input data on municipality-specific waste (or national data as a default) allowing the user to obtain a municipality-level carbon footprint of waste treatments (infrastructures are not included). The tool is available online and it can be downloaded free of charge at http://co2zw.eu.sostenipra.cat/

The user will be able to use this calculator to support GHG monitoring and reporting initiatives as well as to provide an estimation of potential GHG reductions (or additions) associated with management and technological changes in local waste operations.

The ICLEI tool

The ICLEI Europe's Basic Climate Toolkit was implemented within the context of ICLEI's GreenClimateCities Initiative and is offered as support for Local Governments engaging in local climate action. It is comprised of a Greenhouse Gas Inventory Manual (PART A) and a Basic Greenhouse Gas Inventory Tool (PART B). The toolkit has been prepared for ICLEI members and participants in ICLEI’s climate change mitigation initiatives and projects. It is free of charge for these target groups and was made freely available also for RE-SEEties partners.

The ICLEI tool is based on Excel spreadsheets and provides Baseline Emissions Inventories (BEI) in a SEAP format (CoM_BEI), supporting city partners in adhering or renovating their commitments to the Covenant of Mayors, which is one of the main aim of the RE-SEEties project and is a common need for many municipalities all around Europe.

In operating terms, running the GHG inventory tool (calculator) Local Governments (LGs) are requested to complete the:

  • Government Operations Emissions Inventory, and
  • Community Emissions Inventory.

Together, these inventories provide municipalities with valuable baseline information to help them understand where emissions are released and develop a strategic approach to reducing GHG emissions.

These baselines will help identify key priority areas and activities that address the largest emissions sources, and provide reference points from which the local government can measure achievements as emissions reduction actions are implemented. Inventory results can be used to inform the City Council and report to others.

The ICLEI “add-in” tool

Based on the above considerations, the ICLEI tool was considered strategic in the RE-SEEties project. On the other hand, to make it fully exploitable it was necessary to develop an additional calculation tool to help city partners in filling in the “Community” spreadsheets.

In operating terms this meant the development of a set of spreadsheets (the so-called ICLEI “add-in” tool) that will facilitate calculation of the input parameters of ICLEI tool based on primary information and using proxy variables where no data exist and is also a fundamental input to any forecasting method, as represented in Figure 1. 

The proposed set of spreadsheet will constitute a simplified bottom-up model of the most crucial sectors (i.e. community-residential, community-transport, community-industrial, community-commercial), as described in the following.

A key issue is the expected level of accuracy of the forecasting tools which obviously influences directly the required efforts from developers and city partners. Moreover, a prerequisite of any efficient forecasting methodology is the development of a reliable baseline, which represents adequately the present situation. However, this is not an easily achievable target since municipalities usually suffer of data unavailability. For this reason it has been adopted a back-up strategy in order to provide the users an “add-in” tool with indications about the required data. These indications originate from various public databases and are provided at a national level of detail. Thus, in case municipalities fail to collect the required data due to their unavailability they could easily base the data computation on the basis of national values and either adopt or better adjust their estimations, as described sector by sector in the following sections.

The first version of the ICLEI add-in tool was presented in Skopje in September 2013. In particular, Christos presented the ICLEI “add-in” tool under development by CRES, discussing on the purpose of using it, the main terminology involved and presenting the overall structure. A detailed example was then provided for Residential. Suggestion were given on how getting data from locally available sources and mining data from other databases. Energy forecasting  was also discussed. After that, Senatro presented the work done at CNR-IMAA to set-up the ICLEI “add-in” tool for Agriculture, Industry, Transport, showing the list of requested data as well as the Excel tables prepared to manage national data and get average values based on proxy variables.

The integrated technical toolkit

The integrated technical toolkit, which is a key component of the RE-SEEties step-by-step methodology is represented in Figure 2.

In particular, city partners will use:

  • the “amended” ICLEI tool, which is the “traditional” ICLEI software completed with the new “add-in” tool developed by CRES and CNR-IMAA and which contain a very simplified module focusing on waste
  • the energy forecasting equations

In addition to that, city partners focusing on waste issues in their case studies will use also:

  • the LCA-IWM waste prognosis model
  • the CO2ZW waste management tool

introducing the final results into the ICLEI tool. This will allow a soft-linking among these two models and also a first step towards the integration of energy and waste flows in urban energy systems.

THE DATA

Once the final configuration of the integrated technical tool was set up, the next step dealt with the preparation of Excel tables which contain the data input necessary to run the selected tools. 

According to these spreadsheets, city partners were, first, requested to collect data on:

  • Energy forecasting based on customized data collection templates
  • The LCA-IWM waste prognosis model
  • The CO2ZW waste management tool 
  • The ICLEI tool (only the GOV spreadsheet) 

Status of data collection

In the Skopje plenary event (September 2013) city partners reported their feedbacks on data collection in terms of data availability, problems encountered and doubts and questions, in general. This served also to exchange experiences and suggestions among them and the ASG groups as well as to learn from each other about successes and challenges.

A summary of the interim results of the data collection process presented by City partners in their cities is reported in Table 1.

The next steps deal with the completion of data gathering as concerns the remaining spreadsheets of the ICLEI tool (CONS, TRANS, AGR, PROD), as discussed previously.

Finally, once all the input data are available at city level, cities will be ready to run the selected models, according to their specific objectives:

  • The ICLEI tool (All)
  • Energy forecasting (All)
  • The LCA-IWM waste prognosis model (only the case studies focusing on waste)
  • The CO2ZW waste management tool (only the case studies focusing on waste)

by Monica Salvia, Christos Nakos and Senatro Di Leo