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Valtellina Valley toward carbon neutrality by 2050

Jan 10, 2013 / Olivier Gilbert
Considering its typically alpine features, FLA identified Valtellina Valley as the ideal region where to cultivate the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Starting from a preliminary analysis to identify the most critical sectors in terms of carbon emissions, FLA undertook two pilot actions relating to transport and energy issues.
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Pilot Action 1: Enhancement of Valtellina public transport
The urban-territorial system of Valtellina Valley (coinciding with the province of Sondrio) is based on five small towns (Chiavenna, Morbegno, Sondrio, Tirano and Bormio) and by the same number of daily commuting basins, defined and very content. Commuting, given also the strong dispersion of residences and the concentration of jobs and services nearest the five cities of the valley, regards the daily movement of one or more members of each family individually and mainly by car. Four of these towns: Chiavenna, Morbegno, Sondrio and Tirano are connected by rail; Bormio is not reached by rail.
The Valtellina railway is the historical backbone of the transport system of the Province, allowing to achieve the greater metropolitan area of Milan and international connections. The opportunities offered by the railway, however, are only partially exploited by visitors to the Valley, and even the residents mainly use private cars for their journeys. This causes important traffic flows on the valley roads, daily vehicular congestion and consequent high air pollution emissions.
The project FLA is carrying on within ALPSTAR project has the aim of implementing a light, modern and fast tram-train system, according to a clocked working program that will be fully compatible with traditional services, supplied by Trenitalia.

Pilot action 2: Renewable sources and Energy efficiency in Valtellina
The territory of Valtellina is particularly rich in bio-energies. As a matter of fact, over the past 10 years 3 large plants fueled by biomass from forestry and scraps of wood and 2 large biogas plants fed by agro farms material have been successfully launched.
The first objective of this pilot action consists in assessing in detail the current state of existing systems from the energetic, environmental and economic point of view; to assess the maximum development potential of the different “bio-energies” available (wood, agriculture, biogas, organic waste, rotation forest) across the province and propose various scenarios of development of new systems, quantifying the potential energy, environmental and economic benefits.
Moreover, energy consumption in the province of Sondrio (over 416,000 toe years) shows that the residential sector represents about 40% of the total (about 170,000 toe / year), to which must be added the contribution of tourism sector estimated at a further 5-6%. A recent local analysis led by CESTEC Lombardy Region also noted that most of the buildings belong to the worst energy classes with particularly high values of primary energy demand for heating (on average well above 200 kWh/m2).
Given this widespread situation, FLA conducted an analysis aimed at assessing both the current status of energy planning policies and the specific information activities and training undertaken by local associations in the construction sector focused on energy efficiency. This analysis leads up to the project “RACEM: Artisan Network for Efficient House in Mountain” funded by Lombardy Region and the Lombard Chambers of Commerce, with the aim of assisting local small businesses in the establishment of a “coordinated network for sustainable building “in line with the highest European standards (KlimaHouse, Minergie, Habitech) which includes all the actors in the “HOUSE” chain (builders, electrical systems installers, heating systems installers, window manufacturers, sawmills).
Thanks to a fruitful collaboration with RACEM project team, FLA identifies the second objective of this pilot action in supporting the dissemination of RACEM disciplinary for building sector, as energy policy able to ensure a high quality standard of energy efficiency in residential and touristic buildings throughout the province of Sondrio.