Local energy actors and municipalities in Europe have been recognized as very important in the fight against global warming. Local and regional authorities together with their stakeholders have a key role to play in the implementation of EU climate and energy policy. In particular, they contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions by promoting the use of renewable energies, improving energy efficiency and by encouraging the behavioural changes.
In the frame of Sustainable Energy Action Plan Municipality of Maribor (MOM) and Energy Agency of Podravje (Energap) committed to organize “Energy Days”, allowing citizens to benefit directly from the opportunities and advantages offered by a more intelligent use of energy and at the same time contribute to the GHG reduction.
Therefore, Energap in the cooperation with the MOM launched the awareness raising campaign called 1 tone of CO2. In May 2013 a cube that was 8.22 m high represented the volume of 1 tonne CO2 and it took place at one of the main squares in the city of Maribor.
Purpose of this project was to visualize CO2 emissions related to energy use and at the same time highlighting the potential for reducing emissions of the individuals through measures related to different areas:
- heating and lightning
- in the kitchen and in bathroom
- in the office
- in shops and
- in transport
The “1 tone CO2” cube with promotional and educational activities was placed in city centre for 24 days. Cube had the possibility to use interior space, where various activities were organized. Citizens could use individual energy counselling, public lectures about climate change and sustainable energy use, workshops and puppet show were organized for children. Presentations of energy companies and a concert were also organized.
In the context of the project activities we have produced a special form of a leaflet in a way that reader could composed a small cube representing the volume of 1 g CO2. Leaflet also contains a very simple explanation about CO2 related to energy use and a fact that average Slovenian produces 17 such cubes every minute.
In the next step reader was able to become aware of the fact that energy saving and EE are the most effective steps towards reducing of CO2 emissions. Selected examples of measures that everyone could implement were presented on the cube.
Energap wanted to make greenhouse gases visible and present in a simple way why EE and RES are important. Discussion over emissions is usually abstract – it is ‘just’ a number. Volume gives people a much more direct sense of the quantities involved than mass does – it brings the data to life and we get a better insight into how much ‘stuff’ we are talking about.
Showing emissions as volumes in familiar spaces helps people get involved. And involving citizens in this conversation can have multiple benefits. With the 1 tone CO2 project Energap and MOM made progress in rising awareness of people with the right approach to achieving and providing important information in the energy field to the end-users and to encourage them to start acting and living differently.
Target groups in the campaign were citizens, employees in municipalities in the region, schools in Podravje region and companies. Our overall message was the fact that we all have to pay attention on GHG emissions, because they are the greatest challenge facing humanity. We should not behave in a way like what I cannot see does not exist for me. With the visualization we want to illustrate the impact of our consumers way of life related to energy use - 90 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every day in the world. Each target group was informed and invited to see what 1 ton of CO2 looks like and what are the approaches used by individuals in their daily lives to help reduce GHG. Companies were also informed about special lecture on energy management and ISO standards during SEM campaign.
The main goal was to explain citizens that behavioural changes especially those related to energy saving, pay off, primarily for our own wallet, for a better environment and for our health. End-users have an important role to play in reducing overall energy consumption and thus CO2 emissions.
Energap have experienced that people have to see, touch and think about measures (especially when considering CO2 emissions) then many of them are able to understand why environmental issues are so important and how to find sustainable solutions.
Local understanding and capacity building are an important part of the successful implementation of urban sustainable energy measures. So, you have to bring to life the abstract concept of a carbon footprint and carbon emissions.
For more information please contact:
Energy Agency of Podravje,
Institution for Sustainable Energy Use,
E-mail: [email protected]