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LIFE and resource efficiency Decoupling growth from resource use

LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

European Commission Environment Directorate-General LIFE (“The Financial Instrument for the Environment”) is a programme launched by the European Commission and co-ordinated by the Environment Directorate-General (LIFE Units - E.3. and E.4.). The contents of the publication “LIFE and Resource Efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use” do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the institutions of the European Union. Authors: Gabriella Camarsa (Environment expert), Justin Toland, Eamon O’Hara, Tim Hudson, Wendy Jones, Ed Thorpe, Christophe Thévignot (AEIDL, Communications Team Coordinator). Managing Editor: Hervé Martin, European Commission, Environment DG, LIFE E.4 – BU-9, 02/1, 200 rue de la Loi, B-1049 Brussels. LIFE Focus series coordination: Simon Goss (LIFE Communications Coordinator), Evelyne Jussiant (DG Environment Communications Coordinator). Technical assistance: Audrey Thénard, Nicolas Tavitian, Agnese Roccato (Astrale GEIE). The following people also worked on this issue: Alban De Villepin, Federico Nogara, Simona Bacchereti, Santiago Urquijo-Zamora, Sylvie Ludain (Environment DG, LIFE Environment and Eco-innovation Unit), Carina Vopel, Jonathan Murphy (Environment DG, Communication Unit), Robin Miege (Environment DG, Green Week Task Force). Production: Monique Braem (AEIDL). Graphic design: Daniel Renders, Anita Cortés (AEIDL). Photos database: Sophie Brynart. Acknowledgements: Thanks to all LIFE project beneficiaries who contributed comments, photos and other useful material for this report. Photos: Unless otherwise specified; photos are from the respective projects.

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More information on the European Union is availa����������� ble on the Internet ��������� ( � Cataloguing data can be found at the end of this publication�. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2011 ISBN 978-92-79-19764-2 ISSN 1725-5619 doi:10.2779/74370 © European Union, 2011 Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged. Printed in Belgium Printed on recycled paper awarded the EU Ecolabel


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use


esource efficiency is a cross-cutting issue that affects our daily lives and economy. We rely on natural resources to provide us with shelter, food, employment, quality of life and a host of

other services. In order to protect the long-term availability of these resources, we need to take care to use them wisely in sustainable ways. For this to happen, new approaches are required, approaches that need to involve long-term considerations aimed at achieving a better balance between economic, environmental and social interests. Hervé Martin Head of Unit – LIFE Environment and Eco-innovation Directorate-General for the Environment, European Commission

The LIFE Programme has been at the forefront of such moves to promote more resource efficient solutions for today’s environmental challenges, and a large portfolio of good practices in this area has been gathered by LIFE since its launch in 1992. A sample of some of these approaches is highlighted in the following LIFE Focus brochure, which presents some of the practical actions being implemented throughout the EU. Topics featured in the brochure span the full sustainable development spectrum and aim to illustrate how LIFE’s broad remit is able to assist a multitude of different environmental activities in a variety of different contexts. Public, private and voluntary sector organisations throughout Europe have all used LIFE co-finance for good effect and the results of their efforts are explained in the following articles. Over 120 LIFE projects are featured, which demonstrates the critical mass of knowledge that is held by the Programme in key fields such as waste management techniques, water conservation methods, energy efficiency options, and lower impact transport. Between them, the LIFE projects that are spotlighted in this brochure offer many opportunities for readers to build their own capacity for helping to shape and safeguard a more resource efficient future for Europe.


esource efficiency has a central part to play in Europe’s 2020 strategy for growth and jobs, and accordingly the European Commission is launching a number of far-reaching new initiatives

in this area. But for many of Europe’s front-runners, greening our society is already a reality: not only governments and large companies, but local actors and small innovative companies too are committed to the idea, whose strength often comes from the grassroots level. Businesses and organisations have understood that improving efficiency and innovative products, processes and business models Robin Miège Green Week Task Force Directorate-General for the Environment European Commission

affords valuable opportunities for increased productivity and growth. While individual companies and organisations can often achieve simple gains in efficiency without massive investment, making sure that good innovative ideas actually reach the market can require substantial funds. The LIFE+ programme can play a key role here, helping ensure that a shift to a resource efficient Europe becomes a reality, and acting to relieve or prevent future scarcities of essential resources such as energy and water. I am pleased to be able to say that by providing real-life solutions to real-world problems, the best LIFE practices featured in this brochure are an important inspiration for policymakers, and that moreover, these examples reflect areas where we are considering future policy action. A solution to a problem is merely anecdotal, unless the message can be shared. But when best practices become better known, major changes can result. That’s why communication has always had a key role to play in LIFE – and why publications such as this are so important for policymakers and actors on the ground. This LIFE Focus publication is only one part of LIFE outreach – check out the 2011 Green Week conference and exhibition, and the LIFE and Green Week websites for more examples of good practices being shared.


LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use


LIFE Focus

Introduction......................... 3

Water efficiency................. 29

Building a resource efficient Europe.....................3

Water - an essential component of LIFE............. 29

Production processes........... 5

Sustainable transport......... 33

LIFE producing resource efficient industrial growth......5

A cleaner and more efficient transport system....33

MEIGLASS brings new LIFE to waste glass ....10

Energy efficient buildings... 37

LIFE aids agriculture to preserve resources ..................55

LIFE helps boosts the energy efficiency of EU building stock......................37

Conservation agriculture reduces soil erosion in Andalusian wetlands...........59

Taking the risk out of resource efficiency investments.........................41

Green Public Procurement and Green Skills................. 62

LIFE helps drive greener tyre making..........................18

Fish and marine resources............................ 43

LIFE shows the environmental benefits of GPP.................................62

Lifecycle thinking............... 21

Protecting Europe’s fisheries and marine resources . .......43

Project list.......................... 64

Lifecycle thinking - a key thought of LIFE....................21

No discards, zero waste......46

Eco-products and eco-design......................... 13 LIFE conserving resources in product design, production, use and disposal.................13

ACADEMY: managing the lifecycle of complex products..............................26

Land use and planning....... 49 Planning for a more resource efficient European landscape............................49

Food and beverage resource efficiency............. 51 LIFE turns food for thought into action..............51

Agriculture and ecosystem services.............................. 55

Available LIFE Environment publications....................... 69


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Building a resource efficient Europe The concept of resource efficiency emphasises a need to use the Earth’s limited resources in a sustainable manner. For Europe to have a vibrant economy and a high quality of life, we need a sustainable base of raw materials and resources. However, our economic growth patterns continue to exert increasing pressures on EU resource bases. As such it is becoming more and more important that we improve our ability to live, produce and consume within the limits of our ecosystem.


he EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy for growth sets the priority of moving to a more resource efficient, green and competitive economy. Under the Europe 2020 strategy, the Flagship Initiative for a resource efficient Europe has been introduced to help the EU achieve sustainable growth by ‘decoupling’ economic growth from increasing resource use. The Flagship Initiative sets out a vision for a more resource-efficient economy by 2050. It proposes new policy initiatives that will stimulate greater innovation for short-term and long-term economic and environmental benefits. It also allows for the development of a set of tools for policymakers to drive and monitor progress. The Flagship recognises that resource efficiency is a cross-cutting issue that  COM (2010) 2020 Communication from the Commissions Europe 2020 – A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth  COM (2011) 21 final A resource-efficient Europe – Flagship Initiative under the Europe 2020 strategy  The proposals that have been adopted are: Energy 2020: A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy, Energy infrastructure priorities for 2020 and beyond – A Blueprint for an integrated European energy network and Tackling the challenges in commodity markets and on raw materials  The Flagship Initiative for a resource efficient Europe provides a long-term framework for actions in many policy areas, supporting policy agendas for climate change, energy, transport, industry, raw materials, agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity and regional development. Links to the key proposals can be found at

affects all aspects of our daily lives. Hence, coordination is needed at EU level as well as in Member States at national, regional and local levels. Practical action at Member State level will be particularly important and the subsidiarity principle remains essential to ensure that appropriate solutions are put in place at appropriate times, in appropriate ways, in appropriate places. Empowering the participation of private sector stakeholders, citizens, consumers and NGOs is also fundamental for turning around Europe’s increasingly unsus-

tainable resource use habits. Resource efficiency is as relevant for Europe’s urban areas as it is to rural communities and the wider countryside. Everyone is affected by the environmental challenges that we face and everyone can make their own positive contributions to help achieve the Flagship’s goals. Uptake of these resource efficient approaches can be assisted by raising awareness of the long-term benefits that are possible from adopting sustainable approaches. There are many examples of how the wise use of environmental

The LIFE programme has a long track record of innovative approaches for building a resource efficient Europe


LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

assets can strengthen the resilience of our economies and secure growth and jobs by boosting competitiveness. At the same time, resource efficiency has been shown to help drive down costs, improve productivity, stimulate innovation, and support employment, especially in growth areas such as the ‘green technology’ sector. Timing for wider adoption of resource efficient principles is important as pressures on our resources rise in line with increases in wealth and population growth in an ever industrialising world. This is one of the core global challenges that must be faced now. If we do not act assertively in the present the problems will be exacerbated and tackling them will become even more difficult in the future.

Action on all levels Recognising the multi-level complexity of resource efficiency, the Flagship’s mandate stretches across a far reaching remit of material resources, including metals, minerals, food and feed, air, soil, water, biomass and ecosystems. Some of the main objectives refer to enhanced energy efficiency. Here the Flagship aims to achieve a transition to a resource and carbon efficient society.

This will require a mix of instruments that act together in complementary ways to help increase the stability and security of energy supplies whilst halting energy production systems that impact most negatively on the environment. Waste minimisation is also seen as central to the EU’s resource efficiency agenda. By increasing recycling rates the pressure on primary raw materials will reduce. Furthermore, improved waste management systems can ensure that valuable materials are reused, thereby reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from extraction and processing. Other pieces of the resource efficiency jigsaw relate to industry and consumers. These primary stakeholders need to be mobilised to make them less dependant on the availability of certain resources and so less vulnerable to supply constraints and volatile market prices. Attractive alternatives are required to convert this rhetoric into reality and stakeholders need to possess the capacity to make the necessary changes. Lifecycle analysis (LCA) can help make products and services more ‘material efficient’ by reducing energy demands and lowering raw material inputs. Technological improvements, via eco-innovations, in high impact sectors such as

energy, transport, industry and agriculture are all also needed to facilitate the resource efficiency Flagship objectives. Eco-innovations not only come from technological advances, but by applying new business models and novel ways of thinking. Incentives can further assist a speedy uptake of these multi-level structural changes in consumer behaviour and production patterns. Incentives can come in different forms and more policy emphasis on measures that ensure commodity prices reflect the “full cost of resource use to society” will help market forces promote resource efficiency.

Resource efficient LIFE projects The LIFE programme has a long track record of pioneering effective approaches for building a resource efficient Europe. LIFE has generated a vast portfolio of know-how in resource efficiency methods for a diverse range of beneficiaries. LCA approaches, skills transfers and eco-innovations feature prominently in LIFE’s wide-ranging portfolio, which continues to find new ways of lightening and lessening our environmental footprints in order to achieve a more resource efficient Europe.

LIFE projects have developed techniques that increase recycling rates, thereby reducing pressure on primary raw materials Photo: Justin Toland and LIFE06 ENV/IT/000332


LIFE Focus

 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

LIFE producing resource efficient industrial growth Policy on resources needs to take account of the value chain and the full lifecycle of resource use. How products are produced is a key part of this. The LIFE programme has been at the forefront of efforts to implement resource efficient and innovative production processes at all stages of the lifecycle, from extraction to end-of-life.


ver the past 10 years resource productivity has improved 2.2% per year. This is largely due to efficiency improvements in production, as well as the increasing role of services in the economy. However, market rewards for production changes and further impetus to resource efficient and eco-innovative production processes are needed to reduce dependency on raw materials and to encourage optimal resource use and recycling.

 COM(2008) 397 final on the Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy Action Plan

Water efficient manufacturing

Effective planning of production processes can ensure that a range of resources are used more effectively. Resource efficient production is not merely desirable, however: it is becoming increasingly essential.

For instance, tightening water supply, caused by competition for water, could mean disruption of production processes or higher input costs, with severe economic damage. This highlights the vital importance of water efficiency in production processes, something that the LIFE programme has helped implement across a wide range of industrial sectors.

LIFE funding has helped resource efficiency in production processes across a wide range of industrial sectors Photo: LIFE99 ENV/IT/000034

The European Commission proposes a fresh approach to industrial policy that puts competitiveness and sustainability centre stage. “The whole value and supply chain must be considered, from access to energy and raw materials to after-sale services and the recycling of materials.” The upcoming review of the Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industry Policy Action Plan foreseen in 2012 will

include actions to address resource efficiency.

The ‘wet process’ stages of textiles production are extremely water intensive (typically requiring 4 litres/kg of fabric produced) and generating large volumes of discharged wastewater. Treatment and reuse of this water would not only reduce stress on water resources for industry, it could also increase the availability of drinking water in some areas. Since most textiles producers are small and mediumsized enterprises, they often lack the

 Water Conservation in Textile Industry, Muhammad Ayaz Shaikh, Assistant Professor, College of Textile Engineering, SFDAC


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

resources to implement state-of-the-art environmental procedures. However, several LIFE projects have shown how this can be achieved. In Italy, the PROWATER project (LIFE04 ENV/IT/000583) developed prototypes for effluent treatment and reuse in pilot sites at four textiles plants. Wastewater was treated using physical-chemical processes (coagulation and lamellar sedimentation or flotation) and innovative membrane technologies. These techniques exceeded targets for removal of surfactants (62%, against a target of 50%) and colour (98%, against a target of 85%), whilst also meeting targets for the removal of other pollutants, such as chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total suspended solids (TSS). The treated wastewater was then reused in production processes including fabrics softening, reducing overall water consumption by 40%. If implemented across Europe on an industrial scale, the PROWATER team calculates potential water savings of 44 million m3/yr. The technology can also reduce costs and has a payback time of five years. Enhanced cost effectiveness will help generate new employment opportunities for European industries and also improve competitiveness against low-wage textile producing countries and enhance green credentials.

Photo: LIFE05 ENV/E/000285

The LIFE RESITEX project demonstrated how water savings can be achieved in the textile sector

A subsequent Italian textiles sector project, BATTLE (LIFE05 ENV/ IT/000846), attempted to design and demonstrate a new best available technique (BAT) for efficient wastewater reuse in the textile industry. An analysis of production processes at Stamperia di Martinengo, a medium-sized textile finishing factory in Lombardy, was car-

The HAGAR project reduced consumption of high-quality water for the marble extraction industry in Hebron Photo: LIFE05 TCY/GA/000115


LIFE Focus

ried out to ascertain which effluents were potentially reusable and which were not. Based on this analysis, the most costefficient technology for water reclamation was selected and different water reuse schemes were designed for cost/benefit comparisons. A pilot plant was then constructed to demonstrate the applicability of the technologies in practice. This plant treated some 500 m3/day of process effluents, producing 374 m3/day of recovered water on average. Most significantly, the project’s findings also fed into the process for developing new BREF reference guidelines for the textiles sector, helping improve water efficiency across the EU. Efficient water use was just one aspect of LIFE RESITEX (LIFE05 ENV/E/000285), a Spanish textiles industry project that developed and tested best available techniques (BAT) for waste management that could be applied to all textiles subsectors. The key output of the project was a guidebook: “Procedure for Waste Management in the Textile Sector”, which provided advice on good management practices (e.g. how water savings can be made by moving from light to dark colours during a production cycle); selection and substitution of chemicals; equipment and new technologies; and ways of minimis-


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: LIFE04 ENV/IT/000414


LIFE Focus

Significant reductions in the use of chemicals, water and energy were achieved in the tanning sector thanks to the N.E.S.S project

ing resources and making use of recycling opportunities (including guidance on how to recover and reuse printing pastes or rinsing water and how to use biological sludge on agricultural land). The guidebook developed by the RESITEX project will help Europe’s textiles SMEs reduce their waste, and keep costs down while complying with environmental legislation, something that will be increasingly important as the sector faces greater competition from low-wage producers in China and India.

Helping leather look better The same could also be said of the leather/tanneries industry which, with LIFE’s assistance, has begun taking steps to decouple its resource use from its economic growth. Improving water efficiency was again the goal of a LIFE project in Lorca, Murcia (LIFE02 ENV/ E/000216), where some 40% of Spanish leather production takes place. LIFE support enabled the construction of a biological water treatment plant that used ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis techniques to bring tannery effluent within legal limits and enable its safe disposal.

The plant now discharges 8 000 m3/day of wastewater that can be recycled and used in agriculture and industry. The N.E.S.S. project (LIFE04 ENV/ IT/000414) implemented process improvements at a factory in Italy specialising in the skin finishing stage of the tanning production cycle, drawing on the BAT developed by the earlier LIFE GIADA project (LIFE00 ENV/IT/000184). The redesigned finishing line achieved significant reductions in the use of chemicals (95% - and consequently a 28% reduction in emissions of volatile organic compounds), water (up to 75%) and electricity (up to 95%), as well as in the amount of waste sludge generated (up to 98%). Working conditions were also improved thanks to noise abatement measures (cutting acoustic pollution by 85%) and the introduction of water-based, rather than solvent-based colours. Finally, the process improvements also reduced operating costs and the time required for skin finishing. A current LIFE Environment project in Spain (LIFE08 ENV/E/000140) is similarly implementing process improvements that should make more efficient use of resources. The OXATAN project

aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of replacing polluting and potentially carcinogenic chrome tannage with an environmentally friendly ‘oxazolidine’ tanning agent combined with other vegetable or synthetic agents. The project will promote its ‘chrome-free’ leathers to tanning, footwear and upholstery companies in Spain, Italy and Slovenia.

Resource efficiency from beginning to end-of-life There is a window of opportunity for the EU to influence production and resource standards in developing countries through EU market compliance standards. This obliges countries aiming to enter the EU market to comply with these standards. LIFE, through its Third Countries strand, has provided an impetus towards this goal. For instance, the HAGAR project in Gaza (LIFE05 TCY/GA/000115) worked closely with the Italian marble industry to establish new environmental procedures in Hebron municipality and address problems associated with the treatment of debris, sludge and water from marble extraction. Measures such as the construction of a prototype plant for recycling industrial wastewater and separat-


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: LIFE02 ENV/UK/000140


LIFE Focus

The INWATCO project developed innovative techniques and a Good Practice Guide for integrated management of groundwater, which are important tools for implementing the EU Water Framework Directive

ing calcium carbonate have contributed to a reduction in the consumption of high-quality water, as well as limiting pollution in soil and underground reservoirs from the stone sludge.

Poor materials management leads to significant wastage in the economy, with great economic cost. Improving material efficiency requires lifecycle and value chain perspectives. We have already seen how the LIFE programme is helping to realise resource efficiency

gains at the initial phase of production (extraction). Yet, equally LIFE is playing its part in the development of a resource efficient economy based around recycling and reuse of end-of-life products. The OXATAN project is one good example of this; another is ELVES (LIFE05 ENV/E/000317), a Spanish project that developed a system for separating metal alloys from end-of-life vehicle (ELV) engines and reusing them in

INWATCO demonstrated that groundwater systems that interact with mine workings can be managed to ensure good water quality Photo: LIFE02 ENV/UK/000140

Another LIFE project that tackled the environmental impacts of extraction industries was INWATCO in the UK (LIFE02 ENV/UK/000140), which demonstrated and evaluated innovative techniques and procedures for integrated management of groundwater resources in former coal mining areas. A river basin catchment-scale demonstration project took place in Wakefield (UK), with supporting activities in Romania, to assess the applicability of the project methodology to all major European coal mining regions. Data from INWATCO’s comprehensive water sampling and analysis programme were used to evaluate potential minewater management options and the relationship between minewater systems and the wider surface water and groundwater content. This information fed into a Good Practice Guide on integrated water resource management in former coal mining regions. The guide is an important tool for implementing the EU Water Framework Directive in the many

regions of Europe where coalfield drainage is a major consideration and has attracted widespread interest.


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: LIFE08 ENV/E/000140

kcal/tonne of product, a massive contribution to resource efficiency.

‘Chrome-free’ leathers for tanning, footwear and upholstery companies in Spain, Italy and Slovenia will be produced by the OXATAN project

new auto parts and engines. A facility capable of treating 33 000 tonnes/yr of ELV engines with 99% efficiency was built, kickstarting a new market in the process. The LIFE co-funded factory is able to recover more than 5 100 tonnes of aluminium per year, decreasing EU dependence on foreign raw material imports as a result.

an innovative cold-drawing system for the production of steel wire rod that has drastically cut energy consumption and the production of dangerous chemical wastes. If the techniques developed by this LIFE Environment “Best of the Best” project 2008-2009 were implemented throughout Italy, a country that processes 1.7 million tonnes/yr of steel wire rod, it would lead to environmental savings of 72 000 tonnes/yr of water consumption; 6 400 tonnes/yr of sulphuric acid and 1 900 tonnes/yr of hydrochloric acid production, and a reduction in energy consumption of some 430 000

The benefits of energy efficiency

The Italian New ESD project (LIFE04 ENV/IT/000598) developed and tested

technologies (e.g. hard seal coating) to deliver energy reductions of 30-70%, depending on the bearing and load. Project beneficiary SKF calculates that a 50% implementation of its Energy Efficient Bearings among existing customers would reduce energy consumption by 4 000 GWh/yr and disposal of waste lubricants by 4 million tonnes/yr in Europe. The substantial energy savings, reduction of lubricant use and increase of product longevity are also calculated to bring economic benefits to customers in less than five years.

 A part of a machine designed to reduce friction between moving parts or to support moving loads.

Energy Efficient Bearings could reduce energy consumption by 4 000 GWh/yr and disposal of waste lubricants by 4 million tonnes/yr in Europe Photo: LIFE06 ENV/NL/000176

Improving the energy efficiency of production processes has been one of the success stories of the LIFE programme, particularly for the most energy-intensive sectors such as the metals industry. For instance INCOCAST (LIFE05 ENV/D/000185), a “Best” LIFE Environment project for 2007-2008, sought to demonstrate the effectiveness of an alternative process to the cold-box technique used by most foundries for casting aluminium. The project significantly reduced energy consumption, emissions, deposits and wastewater through its ‘inorganic warm box’ casting technique and laid the foundations for the future use of this method in the mass production of more resource efficient aluminium engine blocks and cylinder heads.

LIFE continues to work to improve the energy efficiency of other areas of the metals industry and elsewhere, for instance, by helping companies develop new, energy and resource efficient products that could lead to widespread process improvements. The LIFE Green Bearings project (LIFE06 ENV/NL/000176) is just one example. An estimated 50 billion bearings are installed in machinery worldwide. This means that even small frictional power savings per bearing amount to enormous global - and European - power savings. LIFE Green Bearings introduced thin film lubrication, lightweight polymers and improved seal


LIFE Focus



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use


LIFE Focus

MEIGLASS brings new LIFE to waste glass This groundbreaking Italian LIFE project has established the first factory in Europe turning the unwanted waste fraction of recycled glass bottles into raw materials for the glass container, ceramics and bricks industries.


ecycling of glass bottles is now a long-established practice in Europe. Yet the average citizen is probably unaware that recycled glass producers also generate significant waste. Some 23-25% of glass from public collection points is rejected by the glass container industry and sent to landfill because of impurities in the cullet (the technical name for crushed waste glass that is ready to be remelted into new bottles etc). This per-

centage is likely to increase as the hollow glass industry demands oven-ready cullet that will enable it to produce containers with even greater resistance to thermal shock and mechanical stresses. “If the glass industry wants better quality cullet it has to reject more,” says Dr. Piero Ercole, scientific and technical director of the MEIGLASS project and president of ATIV, the Italian technical association of glass producers. Drawing on its long experi-

Photo: Justin Toland

Project manager Paolo Bertuzzi explains more about LIFE MEIGLASS

ence processing mined minerals, in 2003 the Italian company SASIL SpA began trials of a new process that promised to revolutionise the raw material use of the glass container industry, with significant resource efficiencies all round. As project manager Paolo Bertuzzi explains, SASIL’s aim was to clean the reject cullet and then grind and sieve it into pieces of 70-800 microns (0.07-0.8 mm) – so called ‘glassy sand’ – which could be melted without problems during glass container manufacturing. With the support of LIFE, SASIL was able to invest in upgrades to its facility in Brusnengo, Piedmont, that would allow it to implement its new process on an industrial scale. LIFE co-funding was to be invested in three areas: a wastewater treatment plant; a pyrolysis plant generating heat and power from waste plastic separated from the dirty cullet during glassy sand manufacturing; and in product development and testing. SASIL’s new water purification plant offers significant resource efficiencies,



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: Justin Toland

Less resources, more quality

Washing is one part of the process of turning reject cullet into glassy sand

as it allows the company to recycle 90% of its process water, greatly reducing the need for fresh water during glassy sand manufacturing (just 10% of the process water - lost through evaporation - must be replaced). Following teething problems with the initial design, SASIL plans to start up its pyrolysis plant in 2011. The oil and the gas generated by the low temperature plant (450-500° C ) will feed a turbine that will generate 2 MW of heat for SASIL’s drying processes and 1 MW of electric power. Most significantly though, LIFE support has been used to optimise the technical quality not only of glassy sand, but also of two other products generated by the process of cleaning and grinding of dirty cullet - ‘ceramic sand’ and ‘brick sand’. Ceramic sand, which accounts for some 25% of the output of SASIL’s plant, is

another example of the resource efficiency of the MEIGLASS process, since it is made up of pieces of less than 70 microns which would float on the surface and reflect heat if melted in a furnace for

LIFE MEIGLASS has generated significant environmental benefits. These include a reduction in the amount of cullet going to landfill of some 20 truck loads per day (from 25% to 2%). The 180 000 tonnes/yr of waste cullet now reused by SASIL means that 300 000 tonnes/yr less material needs to be mined for the glass container industry, a significant raw material saving. Furthermore, every tonne of glassy sand used in the furnace saves 300 kg of CO2. This means in 2008, SASIL helped the container industry avoid generating 43 500 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to taking 26 000 cars with a Euro 4 engine off the road for a year.

glassmaking. Instead, these fine granules are separated by an air stream and mixed with feldspar for sale to the ceramics industry, where they are used as an alkali carrier. A further 5% of production, a water suspension of very fine sand mixed with clay, is sold to the brick industry.

Other benefits of using glassy sand include the fact that it has a chemical oxygen demand (COD) 10 times lower than standard furnace-ready cullet (a COD of 100 mg/l as opposed to 1 000 mg/l) and 25 times lower than that of the cullet rejects.

The process is very flexible, allowing SASIL to change the ratios of glassy and ceramic sand in line with market needs. The company is also building on the LIFE MEIGLASS project by investigating the possibility of mixing the fine particles (under 70 microns) with larger granules to allow even more cullet to be returned to the glass industry. The first test results are “very promising” says Dr. Ercole.

Increasing the quantity of glassy sand has also been found to reduce the energy consumption in the furnace per kilo of glass produced by some 5%. “The melting furnace’s specific energy consumption is reduced by about 0.67% for each percentage of glassy sand used instead of natural raw materials,” notes Dr. Ercole. Furthermore, as Mr. Bertuzzi indicates, “decreasing the amount of ceramic stones is a big challenge for glass factories - with glassy sand they obtain this effect.” Trials show that with 3% glassy sand and 47% furnace-ready cullet, there were an average of 0.24 ceramic stones/tonne of glass pulled; when the mix was changed to 18% glassy sand and 32% furnace-ready cullet, the ratio of stones dropped to 0.09/tonne of glass pulled.

Photo: Justin Toland

Project beneficiary SASIL SpA is capable of producing up to 200 000 tonnes/yr of glassy sand for the glass bottle industry

Significantly, tests have shown that glassy sand can also improve the quality of glass containers. Results from the field indicate that when 25% glassy sand is used in the batch, the internal pressure resistance of bottles is 9% higher under the same thermal and forming conditions. “Glassy sand also enables better


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LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: Justin Toland


let to improve its properties and allow colour separation of glass (which does not happen at source in Italy). In addition, one of SASIL’s existing customers is now aiming to recover civil demolition waste glass and car windscreens and use glassy sand to produce flat glass. “This is a very important development,” says Dr Ercole. “Very little flat glass is recycled today.”

With LIFE support, SASIL SpA has established the first plant in Europe capable of generating new raw materials from waste cullet

control of oxy-reduction reactions and consequent higher consistency both in colour and in infrared light absorption,” explains Dr. Ercole. The result, he says, is that “there is more consistent behaviour of the glass in forming processes thanks to the improved chemical and thermal homogeneity.”

Spreading the message Results of the MEIGLASS project have been widely disseminated, with several articles in technical journals and local newspapers, and presentations

at events in Croatia, Finland and even Vietnam (by project partner Joanneum Research), as well as in Italy. “Other firms can learn from how SASIL persuaded the glass industry of the benefits of glassy sand,” believes Dr. Ercole.

SASIL is looking to develop other, new, resource efficient products and processes from waste glass. Now, with further support from LIFE, the NOVEDI project (LIFE07 ENV/IT/000361) sees the company in the process of developing a lightweight insulation material made from art and mosaic glass, light bulbs, cathode ray tubes and computer screens, all forms of glass that cannot be used to make glass containers because of their high lead and fluorine content. With the VALIRE project to recycle incinerator residues into high-value building materials (LIFE08 ENV/ IT/000421) also in the pipeline, SASIL is showing just how far it is possible to take resource efficiency in manufacturing. As CEO Lodovico Ramon is keen to stress: “Waste is the raw material of the future.”

As a sign of its success, sales of glassy sand have increased from 6 235 tonnes in 2003 to 144 337 tonnes in 2008, and SASIL’s factory is today capable of producing 200 000 tonnes/yr. The company is also looking to extend its resource efficient process into new areas, including the washing of furnace-ready cul-

Photo: Justin Toland

After MEIGLASS, NOVEDI: Paolo Bertuzzi shows off a display about SASIL’s latest LIFE project

ITALY Project number: LIFE06 ENV/IT/000332 Title: Minimising the Environmental Impact of GLASS recycling and glass container production Beneficiary: SASIL SpA Contact: Paolo Bertuzzi Email: Website: Period: Dec-2005 to Dec-2009 Total budget: e6 065 000 LIFE contribution: e1 144 000

13 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

LIFE conserving resources in product design, production, use and disposal Current patterns of consumption and production have significant environmental impacts, including the emission of greenhouse gases, pollution and the depletion of natural resources. Much can be done to make consumption and production in Europe more resource efficient. LIFE has an important role to play in supporting EU actions and proposals to improve the environmental performance of products and to stimulate demand for more sustainable goods and production technologies.


t is estimated that over 80% of all product-related environmental impacts are determined during the design phase of a product. Against this background, eco-design aims to reduce the environmental impacts of products, including energy consumption, throughout their entire lifecycle. Apart from changing the user’s behaviour, there are two ways of reducing the energy consumed in products: labelling to raise consumer awareness of the real energy use in order to influence buying decisions, such as labelling schemes for domestic appliances; and energy-efficiency requirements imposed on products from the early stage of the design phase.

EU action The EU’s Sustainable Consumption and Production / Sustainable Industries Action

Plan (July 2008) provides a framework to improve the energy and environmental performance of products and to help consumers make better choices. Building on earlier EU policies and initiatives, it includes extensions to the scope of the Eco-design and Labelling directives and Ecolabel Regulation, as well as significant revisions to the voluntary eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS II). A European Commission review of the Action Plan is expected in 2012, including assessment of the new Eco-design Directive (2009/125/EC), which has been extended so that it covers not only energyusing products (EuPs) on the EU market, such as computers, televisions, boilers, and industrial fans; but also energy-related products (adding products that don’t consume energy during use, but have an indirect impact on energy consumption, such as taps and window frames).

As many of the following LIFE project examples show, the efficient use of resources (whether for production, use or disposal) can be good for business as well as for the environment, particularly as the global market for environmental industries is expected to grow to €200 billion by 2020.

Saving energy … and valuable resources LIFE has provided financial support to enterprises across Europe seeking to explore more energy and resource efficient production methods and processes.

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14 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: LIFE04 ENV/IT/000589


strated that small quantities (1-10%) of sludge from wastewater treatment plants could be mixed with the clay material traditionally used to produce bricks. According to the project beneficiary, the concept, which replaces conventional gas-fired boilers with biomass heaters, could result in 6% potential net energy savings for the ceramics sector.

An Italian LIFE project, EWG, developed a technology to decorate ceramic tiles that reduces wasted glaze and energy consumption

Another cleantech project in this sector, Microfinishing (LIFE02 ENV/IT/000052) developed a new, dry finishing process for 2 A Best LIFE Environment Project winner 2006-07

ceramic tiles that cut energy consumption in half, eliminated the need for water and reduced to zero any resultant pollution. Energy efficiencies were also shown by Eco-Ceramics, (LIFE05 ENV/E/000301), as part of its innovative waste management concept targeting the re-use of sludge as a raw material for the structural ceramics industry. The project demon-

and aluminium windows. It is aiming to reduce consumption of raw materials by 20-35% per unit. This should equate to energy savings of 20-40% per unit. Cost savings from these environmental benefits are also expected through reduced production costs. The French CISDP project (LIFE08 ENV/ F/000481) is promoting the implementation of a sustainable development programme for the country’s cleaning companies. The programme contains more

A manufacturing process for PVC, wood and aluminium windows that reduces raw materials consumption is currently being demonstrated by the Slovenian UNISASH project Photo: LIFE07 ENV/SLO/007100

The ceramics sector, where the finishing process in particular is associated with significant environmental damage, has been the focus of several successful LIFE projects. The Italian EWG project, (LIFE04 ENV/IT/000589) demonstrated a new clean technology for the decoration of ceramics on flat and textured surfaces using a soft roll that is able to adapt itself to the surface’s shape. A pilot plant reduced wasted glazes by 98% and waste caused by printing faults by 8%. Its implementation generated a reduction in energy consumption of up to 76%.

Two other ongoing projects targeting, respectively, the greening of windowmaking and the cleaning sector, are also looking to substantially reduce their use of natural resources. The Slovenian UNISASH project (LIFE07 ENV/ SLO/000710) is aiming to develop a new type of environmentally friendly manufacturing process suitable for PVC, wood

15 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use


than 50 concrete actions targeting the conservation of natural resources and preservation of the environment through reduced water consumption and pollution, less waste and improved recycling. Furthermore, 50% of all employees will receive training thus creating green skills in this sector.

The Austrian PROCOOL project, (LIFE03 ENV/A/000002) organised a Europewide competition among manufacturers to promote innovation and show that hydrofluorocarbons (HFC)-free, energyefficient and cost-effective commercial appliances can be successfully produced. Entrants were set strict criteria, 3 A Best LIFE Environment project winner 2007-08

With CO2REF, energy consumption of refrigeration units is 4% lower than with an HFC system

which included recycling potential and repair-orientated designs.

Reducing waste and emissions

Eight leading manufacturers, representing 30% of the European market, entered the competition. Seven products finally met the competition’s tough stipulations. The winning entries incorporated enterprising solutions that found immediate markets for their new designs. All showed an energy saving of up to 50% compared with standard products, and also avoided harmful refrigerants and insulation materials, while comfortably meeting standards on noise levels.

As well as demonstrating resource and energy efficiencies, many innovative LIFE projects have also shown important reductions in emissions and waste. A number have also reported significant economic benefits from the more efficient management of resources previously wasted.

Photo: LIFE03 ENV/A/000002

Domestic fridges and freezers have increased in energy efficiency by more than 40% in the past decade or so, thanks in part to the introduction of the Energy Label Directive (92/75/EEC). However, the commercial world has been slow to make the same advances.

Photo: LIFE05 ENV/DK/000156

Energy-efficiencies In refrigeration

Meanwhile, the Danish CO 2 REF project, (LIFE05 ENV/DK/000156) investigated the use of CO2 as a greener refrigerant alternative to HFCs and then successfully introduced it in a pilot supermarket system. Initial results showed reduced energy consumption of around 4%, as well as service cost savings of 15%. Significantly, the system has proved to be a commercial, as well as a technical success, with 26 units in operation and a further seven on order (2008).

A particular focus has been the metal industries, traditionally associated with very high environmental impacts. For example, the Italian Clean-Deco project (LIFE00 ENV/IT/000213) developed a cleantech solution for the replacement of the highly polluting process of galvanising metals using physical vapour deposition (PVD) technology. This has resulted in the elimination of chromium wastes and a substantial reduction in the use of dangerous chemicals: chromium trioxide (CrO3) by 100%; hydrogen chloride (HCl) by 30%; and sulphuric acid (H2SO4) by 90%. Europe’s aeronautics sector was the focus of a high-profile French project, 4 A Best LIFE Environment project winner 2005-06

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LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: LIFE03 ENV/E/000106


that all vehicles must contain the highest-possible proportion of recyclable materials.

Packaging producers have made better use of raw materials by recycling plastic from vehicle factory waste

Packaging, wood and paper solutions Two LIFE projects have focused their activities on helping packaging producers make better use of their resources and raw materials. The RECIPLAS project in Spain (LIFE03

5 A Best LIFE Environment project winner 2007-08

ENV/E/000106) successfully recycled plastic from vehicle factory waste to produce pallets. The recovered material is a highly transferable process, which has enabled the beneficiary, a manufacturer of linings for car interiors, to turn its waste (previously all sent to landfill) into a 100% recoverable, reusable and recyclable high-quality plastic. The success of the scheme also has particular relevance within the motor industry, where EU directives concerning end-of-life vehicles require 6 A Best LIFE Environment project winner 2007-08

47 members and a handful of staff. By the end of the project, the cooperative had 355 members, between them using over 5 million boxes, saving not only 50 000 tonnes/yr of packaging waste but also €6.5 million/yr in waste disposal costs. Importantly, the scheme has continued to grow. Today it has over 950 members and 12 million boxes that are used a total of 110 million times/yr. This saves more than 100 000 tonnes/yr of waste, 100 Mwh/ yr of energy and €13 million/yr in waste disposal costs. The company is now present in all Italian regions and tens of jobs have been created. Yet the project cost only €1.5 million (with €600 000 of EU co-financing).

The results of the RECIPLAS project will help the motor industry comply with EU directives on end-of-life vehicles Photo: LIFE03 ENV/E/000106

(LIFE05 ENV/F/000062), targeting the development of a less polluting technology for aircraft panel manufacturing. Implemented by Dufieux Industries, a new Green Advanced Panels (GAP) mechanical milling process was designed to replace the chemical milling processes conventionally used for the machining of complex-shaped panels, a process that produces large volumes of toxic sludge. Independent analysis suggests this project could generate significant water and chemicals savings, a 57% decrease in electricity consumption, and cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases (6 200 tonnes/yr of CO 2) and volatile organic compounds (850 tonnes/yr). Together with a 16 000-tonne/yr reduction in the amount of waste produced, the project makes an important contribution towards the implementation of the integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) Directive (91/61/EC).

An earlier LIFE project in Italy, Use and… re-use (LIFE99 ENV/IT/000034) developed an innovative system to avoid the substantial amounts of waste generated in the packaging of fruit and vegetables. The project designed recyclable plastic boxes, which can be folded and re-used up to 30 times. The scheme included a processing centre to handle the cleaning, re-use and recycling of the boxes, and computer software to track their journeys. At the beginning of the LIFE project in 1999, the beneficiary (CPR system) was a small cooperative with 900 000 boxes,

17 LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Another innovative project aiming to show significant resource savings is the ongoing WOODRUB project in

bel scheme in its early days. When the project was launched in 2003, only a handful of Hellenic textile firms had

Spain (LIFE09 ENV/ES/000454), which is looking to develop construction materials from household waste wood products (furniture, doors, windows, floors, etc) and used tyres. This re-use initiative will provide wood/tyre producers with a new ‘end-of-life’ route, and offer public and private construction firms with a more environmentally friendly product option. Moreover, the planned new products will operate as carbon sinks – increasing the carbon storage in buildings using the products and replacing other, less green, building materials.

been awarded an Ecolabel in recognition of the good environmental performance of their product or service. The project was particularly successful in promoting the benefits of the Ecolabel to an audience that was largely sceptical (mainly due to a lack of information and knowledge on how to participate). It produced a best practice guide, established an eco-consultancy and successfully guided four textiles companies through the process. Its main achievement, however, was to show how the Ecolabel with its guarantee of greener credentials, can provide a competitive edge to Greek, and other European textile manufacturers, who are increasingly under pressure from lower-cost garments imported from China, and cheaper raw materials from countries such as Turkey.

The manufacture of paper has a significant environmental footprint both upstream (where raw materials are acquired and processed) and downstream (waste-disposal impacts). Recycling obviously reduces this impact. One of the earliest LIFE projects to target this sector (LIFE95 ENV/IT/000393) was implemented by Italian specialist paper manufacturer, Favini. The company tested the use of various biowaste materials (e.g. pomace, algae, apple peel) to develop 100% recyclable paper of the same high quality as its other products. Results included a 10% saving in trees and a 12% saving in energy consumption.

Voluntary actions A Greek LIFE project, ECO-TEXTILE (LIFE03 ENV/GR/000204) helped spread awareness of the EU’s Ecola-

Another voluntary initiative is currently being investigated by a Spanish-led project to encourage more environmentally friendly practices among Europe’s footwear manufacturers. SHOELAW (LIFE08 ENV/E/000147) is seeking to develop an e-platform for environmental self-diagnosis among 50 companies in five European countries: Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Slovenia. These countries jointly represent 90% of European footwear companies. Focusing on improvements in environmental standards and the promotion of compli-


Construction materials will be produced from household waste wood products, such as furniture, doors and floors with the WOODRUB project

ance with environmental legislation, the overall goal is to help manufacturers in this sector reduce their environmental footprint through awareness of the legal requirements they need to meet. An alert system will be set up to inform companies of relevant environmental legislation.

A lifecycle approach Finally, the Integrated Product Policy (IPP) approach has contributed significantly to the development of environmental policies in Europe in the areas of product design, use of natural resources and management of waste. Reflecting this lifecycle approach is the Luxembourg LIFE+ ECO2 Tyre Tech project (LIFE09 ENV/LU/000390) just underway, led by European and worldwide tyre producer, Goodyear (see pages 18-20). Another important IPP project targeting the automobile industry was the French EDIT project (LIFE00 ENV/F/000593). The project successfully developed lifecycle assessment (LCA) methodologies and support software tools for the management of vehicle components. The approach involved key stakeholders: carmakers, parts’ manufacturers, and raw material suppliers; and covered all stages of the product lifecycle, including end-of-life issues. 90% of European footwear companies will be involved in the SHOELAW project to improve their environmental performance and compliance with environmental legislation

Photo: LIFE08 ENV/E/000147


Photo: LIFE09 ENV/ES/000454

LIFE Focus

18 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use


There is growing awareness among Europe’s manufacturers that opportunities for greater resource efficiencies can bring both economic as well as environmental gains. Two LIFE projects demonstrate opportunities for sustainable growth through the development of greener materials for tyres. These materials will help to reduce the environmental impact of tyres, could avoid or mitigate problems of ever-scarcer resources and costly raw materials and also contribute to improved consumer safety.

LIFE helps drive greener tyre making


oad transport generates over 20% of all CO2 emissions in the EU, with passenger cars responsible for more than half these emissions. Furthermore, because of a significant increase in traffic, CO2 emissions from road transport have risen by more than 20% since 1990. This represents a major concern to the EU, which aims to achieve an average CO2 emission for new cars of 120 g/km by 2012 and 95 g/km by 2020. The contact of rolling vehicle tyres with road surfaces creates a drag force known as the ‘rolling resistance’. Any reduction achieved in rolling resistance means lower fuel consumption and related CO2 emissions.

traditional non-renewable fillers, such as petroleum-based carbon black or mineral-based silica, used in tyres for their reinforcement properties. The new biofiller would be made from renewable resources (a new starch-based material), thereby reducing its environmental impact and allowing reductions in CO2 emissions during its production. The Fuel consumption was reduced by 5-6% thanks to the environmentally friendly tyre design

project’s second component consisted of an in-depth analysis and modification of the tyre structure, aimed at minimising energy loss through rolling resistance while the vehicle is in motion. A final phase was to incorporate the developed new material and use the results of the optimisation of the tyre structure to develop prototype tyres to be tested at the beneficiary’s technical facilities in Luxembourg. After this, the best prototypes were sent to BMW for further testing under real life conditions.

Thus the overall aim of the 2005-09 LIFE BioTyre project (LIFE06 ENV/L/000118) was to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of an environmentally friendly tyre design that achieves a substantial reduction in rolling resistance of up to 30%.

The project successfully achieved all its goals over the 42 month project period. A new Bio Tyre with a ‘BioTRED’ compound was developed (see box), and the tyre structure optimised. Thanks to these actions, the project was able to gain a higher than targeted - 34% - reduction in rolling resistance, without any loss in safety, vehicle handling performance or longevity.

Coordinated by Goodyear Luxembourg SA, the partnership project also involved Italian company, Novamont, and German car manufacturer BMW. Its first component was to develop an alternative to

A major difficulty for the project team, according to principal engineer, Christian Kaes, was to achieve this ultralow rolling resistance in the two-year time period for prototype optimisation and



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use


LIFE Focus

Partner BMW expects to use BioTyres in new car models, and there is considerable interest from other vehicle manufacturers

technological validation. From a technical point of view, this was a “big challenge… It was very, very difficult to reduce the rolling resistance, while keeping all the other performance parameters expected by our customers,” he explains.

Reducing CO2 emissions The main environmental benefit of BioTyres will come once they are fitted to

cars and in use. The beneficiary estimates that a 30% decrease in rolling resistance corresponds to a 5%-6% decrease in fuel consumption. Considering a typical average run distance in Europe of 40 000 km/yr run by 1 million BioTyres, this would mean a saving of the equivalent of 80 000 tonnes/yr of CO2. Moreover, the production process of the second generation of biofiller developed in the LIFE project has an even more positive CO2 balance, compared with the first gen-

Photo: Novamont

Italian partner Novamont used nano-particles of corn starch to produce the new biofiller to reinforce tyres

eration: the absorption capacity through photosynthesis of the corn starch being greater than the CO2 rejected during its transformation process into a biofiller. In contrast, the production of carbon black is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. An additional benefit is that BioTyres incorporate the beneficiary’s ‘run on flat’ (ROF) technology, which means vehicles only require four tyres (no spare) – another resource saving and weight reduction that should help to keep costs down for motorists, as well as improving safety (by maintaining car control after sudden air loss). Importantly, since the project finished, Goodyear has moved from pilot phase into production. Partner BMW currently foresees using BioTyres in new car models (e.g. for the 2012 BMW 3-Series) and there has been considerable interest from other vehicle manufacturers. Project manager Georges Thielen says the close cooperation of the partners played an important part in its successful outcome. In addition, European Commission support via the LIFE programme was “very important”, he says,



LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

as it provided a European platform for the product. For BMW, it demonstrated the carmaker’s commitment to sustainable technologies via its ‘EfficientDynamics Programme’. And for all partners, it will help meet the policy objectives highlighted in the EU’s 6th Environment Action Programme and the Flagship Initiative under the Europe 2020 Strategy. Building on the experience of the first project, a new LIFE+ ECO 2 Tyre Tech project (LIFE09 ENV/L/000390) is underway, coordinated once again by Goodyear Luxembourg. The 2010-14 project brings together three partners of the tyre supply chain from material supply (Rubber Resources - The Netherlands), tyre production (Goodyear) to car manufacturing (BMW). Its aim is to develop environmentally sustainable tyres incorporating innovative green materials from recycling or renewable origin and weight-reducing tyre designs. All lifecycle stages of the activities involved during the manufacturing, as well as the use and recycling of tyres will be improved and further developed. A lifecycle assessment (LCA) study will be carried out with a targeted reduction of 35% over all life stages

DEVELOPING THE ‘BIOTRED’ FILLER Italian partner, Novamont, a specialist in the production of bioplastics from renewable raw materials of agricultural origin, was responsible for the development of the new industrial biofiller. Made from nano-particles of corn starch, it is designed to partially replace the non-renewable fillers such as carbon black and silica. As well as producing and testing experimental grades of biofiller (more than 80 new materials in total), Novamont was also responsible for validating the second generation of BioTRED filler, in order to provide the project beneficiary with sufficient materials to produce the first tyres for testing. The aim with these new grades was to significantly improve the tyres’ rolling resistance while maximising the renewable raw material content in the biofiller, thereby improving interface properties, reducing weight and minimising costs.

Importantly, all the targets concerning improvements to the tyres (rolling resistance, noise, etc) are well above the upcoming EU regulations concerning safety and environmental efficiency of tyres and as such are also likely to enable suppliers to benefit from the new rules governing tyre labelling i.e. a system of A-G grading information for customers (along the lines of the EU Energy Label). As with the LIFE BioTyre project, the new consortium will work jointly towards the validation and first industrialisation of the tyres. Furthermore, the project will also contribute to the main objectives of the EU REACH legislation by reducing emissions and exposure risks during fabrication into soil, water and air, while maintaining principle climate change objectives. The goals in relation to tyre manufacturing are to introduce: • R ecyclable materials (derived from used rubber articles); • New renewable source materials from wood (e.g. lignin, cellulose); and • New chemicals for tyre vulcanisation and ageing protection with low environmental impacts and improved tyre mileage.

The project also seeks to improve tyre performance during use, and is targeting a 40% rolling resistance reduction; 25% weight reduction; 25% mileage improvement; and a 3dBA noise reduction. The expected improved environmental tyre performance will be tested on both conventional and electric cars under various driving conditions. Finally, the project is also expected to contribute to the end-of-life phase by providing new processes for the recycling of large quantities of used rubber goods.

LUXEMBURG Project number: LIFE06 ENV/L/000118 Title: Development and validation of ultra low rolling resistance tyres with environmentally friendly resources Beneficiary: Goodyear Luxembourg SA Contact: Georges Thielen Email:

1 Regulation (EC) No 1222/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the labelling of tyres with respect to fuel efficiency and other essential parameters

Period: Dec-2005 to May-2009 Total budget: e12 393 000 LIFE contribution: e3 120 000

21 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Lifecycle thinking - a key thought of LIFE The resource efficiency of a product or process can only truly be understood by considering its whole lifecycle. LIFE projects have raised awareness of this, produced improved tools for implementing lifecycle assessments and demonstrated the importance of eco-design and end-of-life management to resource efficiency over the lifecycle.


To improve resource efficiency, policies and practices therefore need to take account of the value chain and the full lifecycle of resource use for any process and product, considering upstream and downstream activities. Evaluating the impact and costs of products and processes from cradle to grave in this way is the concept of lifecycle thinking. Yet, the complexity of this and the number of actors involved can be a major obstacle. Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) is a methodological tool that applies lifecycle thinking to create a quantitative environ-

mental analysis. Importantly, LCAs seek not only to highlight where resource efficiency gains can be made, but also ensure that apparent environmental gains at one stage of a product’s lifecycle do not create greater costs at

another stage. Similarly, LCAs seek to ensure that impact burden is not simply shifted from one form of environmental impact to another. It is the overall environmental balance of the whole lifecycle that is important.

Lifecycle assessments, eco-design and end-of-life management have also been the focus of LIFE funding Photo: LIFE00 ENV/NL/000808

hether a process or product uses resources efficiently cannot be assessed by looking at the natural resources consumed during operation alone. Natural resources are used as raw materials in the production of the original parts and are consumed during their collection, treatment and transportation. Further down the chain, marketing and distribution, and the treatment and disposal of products at the end of their life, all consume natural resources.

22 LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

There are clear theoretical resource efficiency benefits to be had from applying a lifecycle approach to material and product management. It can help identify synergies and trade-offs within interconnected elements of a product’s lifecycle. It can also highlight which element of a product’s lifecycle is the most inefficient, or draw attention to previously overlooked resource use associated with a product. A lifecycle approach can thus inform changes in policy or practice that make a real difference to overall environmental impact and be a key to the transformation towards a resource efficient economy.

Lifecycle thinking in policy LCA is increasingly used in sustainable business decision-making and environmental policymaking, already playing a key role in EU policies in areas such as Integrated Product Policy (IPP), sustainable consumption and production and waste legislation. ISO 14040 provides a standardisation framework for LCA that covers the definition of the goals and assessment parameters of an LCA, lifecycle inventories (LCI), assessment of the inventory data in LCIA and interpretation of results. The Commission communication on European IPP (COM(2003)302) recognises that the lifecycle of a product is often long and complicated and that there cannot be one simple policy measure for everything. A range of measures are needed to encourage and stimulate actors as diverse as designers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers to improve their environmental performance. These include obligatory measures, such as substance bans and voluntary ones, such as environmental labelling. The EU has created and developed an important information source for LCA practitioners, providing lifecycle inventory data from a range of European business sectors. The first edition of the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) handbook was published in March 2010. The handbook consists of a series of technical documents that provide

The RESOLVED project demonstrated new recycling methodologies for thin film photovoltaic panels to produce valuable raw materials with a purity of 99.99%

authoritative guidance for policymakers and businesses on how to conduct an LCA to quantify the emissions, resource consumption and environmental impact of a product. These documents provide detailed technical guidance on all steps of LCA. The EU, through the Joint Research Centre (JRC), is currently developing lifecycle-based indicators to measure progress towards sustainable consump-

tion and production, with particular focus on the de-coupling of environmental impacts from economic growth. Indicators of resource efficiency, resource productivity and consumption – ‘baskets-of-products’ - can be used to monitor the environmental impacts of relevant goods and services consumed by EU citizens as well as the transition

One of the 23 different strategies that the DANTES project produced using existing tools and methods for environmental assessment, such as LCA

Identify information required for decision

Information for decision-making

Information requirements

Comprehensible information

Break down the information requirements into tools & methods

Interpret the acquired information Tools & Methods


Basic information

Photo: LIFE02 ENV/S/000351


Photo: LIFE04 ENV/DE/000047


LIFE Focus



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

LIFE projects have been at the forefront of challenging these obstacles, raising awareness, developing tools to facilitate implementation and carrying out groundbreaking lifecycle assessments.

Photo: LIFE00 ENV/NL/000808

LIFE and lifecycle thinking tools

LIFE EQuation used LCA tools in the construction industry with over 100 sustainable building projects being assessed and improvements identified

towards more sustainable consumption behaviour. They can also help assess the impact of policy measures with regard to more environmentally sound goods and services. Waste management indicators, covering the entire waste management chain, are designed to help the EU monitor how technological progress and changes in the amount of waste result in reduced environmental impacts. They will also highlight material and energy resources saved via better waste management. However, there are still some gaps in understanding and lack of expertise in the implementation of LCAs and IPP, which limit the impact of the lifecycle concept on resource efficiency. A number of

LIFE projects have worked to raise awareness of lifecycle thinking and provide practical tools and guidance on how LCA can be used to make real resource efficiency gains in often complex sectors of the economy. The Swedish DANTES project (LIFE02 ENV/S/000351) demonstrated and assessed new tools for environmental sustainability, including lifecycle assessment and lifecycle cost. As well as awareness, the project provided analysis of how to use the methods and tools within companies to assess resource efficiency and other environmental information. The project website also provides businesses with a guide to the lifecycle information they need to make improved environmental decisions. The LIFE EQuation project (LIFE00 ENV/NL/000808) optimised innovative LCA tools for the construction industry in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK. Through practical application, the project team optimised an advanced computer model for calculating environmental impact and an environmental assessment method for homes, making them easy to

use and developing understanding of the tools amongst municipalities and other decision-makers. Over 100 sustainable building projects were then assessed and improvements identified with designers, architects and developers. Environmental performance improvements of 15% were achieved, particularly by facilitating improvements in the preliminary design stage. The Spanish project FENIX (LIFE08 ENV/E/000135) has been working since 2008 to develop an easy-to-use tool for obtaining LCA results for the specific context of packaging waste. The project expects to provide public authorities with tools for tackling waste management and to create an Iberian network of experts in LCA and waste management. The project highlights the need to ensure that measures to improve the management of waste do not consume more natural resources than they save, a key principle of the lifecycle approach. LCA is important to make sure that there is an overall resource efficiency benefit from any waste management system, as well as ensuring positive overall economic and social outcomes. Data from the project will also be fed into the ELCD to help complete this European database. An interesting tool for encouraging lifecycle thinking is the use of eco-labels awarded for environmental performance of the whole value chain. The Italian LIFE project Aqualabel (LIFE03 ENV/ IT/000333) sought to develop such a

Photo: LIFE08 ENV/E/000135

The FENIX project aims to provide public authorities with tools for tackling waste management and to create a network of experts in LCA


LIFE Focus



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: LIFE04 ENV/GR/000110


LIFE Focus

The ECOIL project developed a groundbreaking LCA for the olive oil industry providing an analysis of the whole olive oil lifecycle, from tree cultivation to waste management

quality and environmental management label for water distributed in waterworks systems, according to ISO14024 standards. The project identified wastewater treatment, water sanitisation and pumping operations as the processes in the water supply cycle with the greatest environmental impact. It produced a manual outlining the measures necessary for overall certification with an eco-label from the relevant environmental bodies. The project thus provided awareness and practical understanding of how water supply systems can improve their resource efficiency throughout the lifecycle of the water.

providing tools for future LCAs. It also established Product Category Rules (PCR) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for both office desks and cooker hoods, showing how lifecycle thinking can promote improved resource efficiency for these specific products in the furniture industry. A Greek LIFE project, ECOIL (LIFE04 ENV/GR/000110), developed a groundbreaking LCA for the olive oil industry in Spain, Cyprus and Greece. It provided analysis of the whole olive oil lifecycle, from tree cultivation to waste management, enabling comparisons of resource use at different stages of the lifecycle. This showed where optimisation could be possible and highlighted environ-

LIFE and LCA in specific contexts

Linking with European Integrated Product Policy (IPP), the Italian project LAIPP (LIFE04 ENV/IT/000588) worked to show how LCA could be implemented in the furniture industry. It ran pilot actions including LCAs and ProductOriented Environmental Management Systems (POEMS), aiming towards ISO certification, in six companies. It successfully optimised three LCA software programmes for different types of user,

At the opposite end of Europe, LIFE OSELCA in Estonia explored LCA for oil-shale electricity production and energy intensive products (LIFE03 ENV/EE/000194). It was the first largescale application of LCA in Estonia and has been a benchmark for other industries in the country to follow. Led by a major energy company, it compared the resource use of electricity generated from oil-shale with that produced from

The LCA for oil-shale electricity production and energy intensive products used by the OSELCA project has set a benchmark for other industries in Estonia Photo: LIFE03 ENV/EE/000194

LIFE projects have been particularly instrumental in showing how LCA tools can be used in specific business contexts and sectors.

mental success stories within the production chain. The project thus helped stakeholders identify where they could provide improved environmental performance and where they could demand it from others, particularly from their suppliers.


LIFE projects such as ECOIL and OSELCA have used lifecycle thinking to show how stakeholders can improve the resource efficiency of their industry, not just by improving their own performance, but through their choice of suppliers. Energy-intensive products can transform their resource efficiency by using green energy. Such modification of purchasing decisions based on suppliers’ environmental performance could be crucial in implementing Europe’s IPP by creating market pressure for more resource efficiency throughout the supply chain without the need for prohibitive legislation.

LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: LIFE07 ENV/P/000639

hard coal and biomass. It also looked at the significant impact of the energy source used on the total resource efficiency of a random product - in this case a wooden weatherboard. It successfully demonstrated that energy production will often be one of the most significant factors of a product’s overall resource efficiency.



LIFE Focus

Electrovalue is looking at effectively extracting and exploiting raw materials from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

lifecycle. Some of the greatest efficiency gains can be achieved by extracting resources from a product at the end of its life for re-use rather than sending them to landfill or incineration. Equally, environmentally aware design can avoid all manner of inefficiencies downstream, such as high resource use from transpor-

LIFE, eco-design and endof-life

tation and waste management. A number of LIFE projects have looked at how to implement eco-design and effective endof-life strategies to improve a product’s resource efficiency over its lifecycle.

One of the key messages of the lifecycle approach is that particular consideration needs to be given to resource efficiency at the beginning and end of a product’s

The Rural LIFE Design project (LIFE00 ENV/FIN/000656) implemented IPP in rural SMEs by promoting tools for ecodesign. The project conducted LCAs

of possible products and developed pilot eco-brands and eco-marketing with four rural enterprises. The project showed how successful grassroots rural entrepreneurship can be encouraged using LCA to identify opportunities for resource-efficient products that can be marketed as such. Thinking from the design stage through the lifecycle of a product can raise the awareness of designers, investors and consumers to promote resource-efficient products.

Photo: LIFE04 ENV/GR/000138

IPP TEL used LCAs to demonstrate how eco-design of a modem could avoid some of the challenges of its end-of-life management

IPP TEL in Greece (LIFE04 ENV/ GR/000138) conducted LCAs and carried out tests on telecommunications products to identify the major costs and challenges of efficient end-oflife management. It used its analysis to demonstrate how eco-design of a modem could significantly improve its overall resource efficiency. It proposed eco-label criteria for modems based on these findings. Improved end-of-life management for high-technology products could have a big impact on overall resource efficiency. The German project, Resolved (LIFE04 ENV/DE/000047), demonstrated an environmentally friendly process for extracting the valuable raw materials from thin film photovoltaic panels. In Portugal, LIFE Electrovalue (LIFE07 ENV/P/000639) is looking at effectively extracting and exploiting raw materials from waste electrical and electronic equipment. Both projects are demonstrating how high-tech practical measures taken at the end-of-life of certain products can make a major contribution to improving resource efficiency overall.



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use


LIFE Focus

ACADEMY: managing the lifecycle of complex products Environmental management systems (EMS) have improved the environmental performance of many companies. However, their benefits can be limited by the complexity of products’ production and lifecycles. The LIFE ACADEMY project has demonstrated how EMS can be successfully applied over the lifecycle of an extremely complex product - aircraft.


nvironmental Management Systems are typically applied at site level. This means that an installation is assessed for the environmental impact of all the activities taking place there. However, in complex industries such as the aeronautical sector, many sites are involved in the lifecycle of the product. It is possible to achieve high environmental standards at each site and still fail to optimise overall product resource efficiency. Applying environmental assessments at site level fails to take into account

the impact of practices at one site on environmental performance elsewhere in the production chain. For example, an aircraft could be built with a material that is resource efficient in its extraction and treatment, but which implies high resource use in its maintenance or endof-life treatment downstream.

Developing a new approach - SPOEMS The major European aeronautical company Airbus - with around 52 500 employees worldwide - recognised the

limitations of its existing environmental efforts at achieving EMAS certification at its sites. “Improved management was essential to put environmental performance at the core of Airbus’s strategy. Yet, traditional approaches were not enough; we needed to look at the full lifecycle of the product,” explains ACADEMY project manager Bruno Costes. Isabelle Delay, one of the project leaders within Airbus, highlights the importance of the lifecycle approach for a complex product: “Environmental assessment at one site revealed that volatile organic



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

be acquired and shared between sites. “Importantly, this meant that the sites were now speaking a common environmental language and developing consistent ways of reporting,” notes Ms. Delay. This was an essential precondition for enabling the company to calculate the overall environmental impacts and costs of a product across its various sites.

Eco-design is crucial for resource efficiency

compound (VOC) emissions were a key environmental concern. However, there was only so much that could be done to tackle this at that site. The best way to reduce VOC emissions is to choose materials in the design phase that do not create the problem.”

Site and Product Oriented Environmental Management System. This aimed to tackle the complexity of carrying out the Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) of an aircraft by involving as many sites as possible in an integrated environmental assessment of the product’s lifecycle.

Airbus applied for LIFE funding to run the ACADEMY project (LIFE04 ENV/ FR/000353) and set about creating a new tool, which it named SPOEMS -

Airbus expanded the internal application of EMS to cover an impressive 93% of its network of 16 production sites, progressing in stages so that learning could

ACADEMY then carried out two pilot Lifecycle Assessments on aircraft within the Airbus fleet. To make the process manageable, these used a customised and streamlined approach to LCA, covering the more important aspects of the aircraft’s production and lifecycle - design, procurement, manufacturing, transport, in service operations (including maintenance), end-of-life and recycling and collating the data from the sitespecific monitoring processes. What it provided was a new understanding of the environmental impact of the aircraft throughout the company and throughout its life, beyond traditional addressed challenges such as noise and in-flight emissions.

The impact of the SPOEMS approach Implementing SPOEMS did not suddenly solve all Airbus’s environmental

Assessments were carried out throughout 16 Airbus production sites, covering 93% of its network


LIFE Focus



LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

challenges. However, it has provided the means to implement an ongoing process of environmental review and improvement. According to Ms Delay, “SPOEMS has been a real catalyst for the identification of possible improvements in the production chain.” It allows the company to have a vision of the overall production process and better identify where and how the most significant efficiencies could be accomplished. One of the key achievements of the LIFE ACADEMY project was to successfully engage all levels of Airbus in the SPOEMS approach and create new internal momentum for environmental improvement. Right up to the highest levels of management, this has improved the ability of the company to communicate on environmental issues, helping to identify synergies and spread good practice. Additionally, SPOEMS has had an impact beyond the company by helping the procurement team identify where changes to contracts with suppliers can substantially improve overall resource efficiency for a product. The achievements and ongoing commitment of Airbus to improved environmental management was recognised by

environmental certification ISO 14001 following a company-wide audit by DNV in December 2006. This was both an aerospace industry first and one of the broadest environmental management certifications ever made, covering the whole company, including design, procurement, manufacturing, transport, and in-service operations (maintenance, aircraft end-of-life and recycling). “What we have achieved is unique,” believes Mr Costes. “It is the first demonstration of how Integrated Product Policy (IPP) can be implemented at this scale.” Another major achievement of ACADEMY has been to create momentum for improved environmental management in the wider aeronautical industry. Importantly, the SPOEMS approach to lifecycle thinking was widely disseminated by the national aerospace trade associations of France, Spain and the UK, and the chamber of commerce in the French region of Midi-Pyrenees. There is increasing recognition in international aeronautical companies of the importance of environmental issues as a driver towards sustainable development and how SPOEMS can anticipate environmental trends and regulations. The European Aeronautic Defence and

Space Company (EADS), of which Airbus is a part, has made a firm public commitment to “a continuous assessment of its environmental performance throughout the lifecycle of its products, so as to find out the best way to improve it.” The LIFE ACADEMY project lives on in Airbus through its strategic commitment to use SPOEMS to become a leader in the aeronautical sector on eco-efficiency, combining environmental and economic objectives. The company has gone on to use SPOEMS to enhance resource efficiency in its production processes by developing environmental innovations. These include the use of a greener, chemical-free milling process for fuselage panels; more environmentally friendly painting processes; and steps to minimise energy and water consumption during the production cycle. For its aircraft product line, Airbus continues to work on quieter and more fuel efficient jetliners, and on clearly defined and targeted short and long-term environmental targets and has renewed its EMS certification with Bureau Veritas. Airbus also complemented ACADEMY with another LIFE project - PAMELA looking at a Process for Advanced Management of End-of-Life Aircraft (LIFE05 ENV/F/000059).

The LIFE ACADEMY project has helped AIRBUS improve the overall resource efficiency of its product

FRANCE Project number: LIFE04 ENV/FR/000353 Title: ACADEMY - Airbus Corporate Answer to Disseminate Integrated Environmental Management System Beneficiary: Airbus S.A.S. Contact: Bruno Costes Email: Website: innovation/eco-efficiency/ Period: Sept-2004 to Aug-2007 Total budget: e4 518 000 LIFE contribution: e2 245 000

29 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Water - an essential component of LIFE Water is one of the most crucial natural resources - for both human activities and ecosystems. Yet pressures on clean water supplies in Europe are only increasing. More efficient use of available water is a major policy challenge. LIFE has shown ways forward with pioneering projects on reducing demand for water and making better use of existing supplies.

ater is life, sustaining ecosystems and regulating our climate. But it’s a finite resource, and less than 1% of the world’s freshwater is accessible for direct human use. Competition for water poses a growing risk to the economy, communities and the ecosystems they rely on. If climate change keeps raising average temperatures across Europe, water is expected to become even scarcer in many areas, so it is vital to find solutions to protect this resource. An adequate supply of good-quality water is a pre-requisite for economic and social progress, so we need to save water, and also to manage our available resources more efficiently. Water scarcity in the EU is most acute in the south, but by no means limited to these areas: most Member States have suffered episodes of drought since 1976, and many now report frequent water scarcity problems and over-exploited aquifers. But demand for water continues to rise across Europe, putting a

strain on our resources. In a ‘business as usual’ scenario, water consumption by the public, industry and agriculture would increase by 16% by 2030. Climate change will add to the problems of water scarcity and droughts. On the other hand, it is estimated that some 20-40% of Europe’s available water is being wasted (through leaks in the supply system, dripping taps, unnecessary irrigation etc.).

A variety of approaches are being used at EU level to preserve Europe’s waters. Legislation, market instruments, monitoring, research and awareness raising can all make a contribution. In 2000, the EU introduced the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the most ambitious and comprehensive piece of EU legislation ever approved in water policy. Taking a genuinely European

LIFE has contributed to preserve Europe’s waters with innovative approaches and technologies Photo: LIFE03 ENV/NL/000467


30 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: LIFE07 ENV/IT/000475


2012. The Blueprint will foster a move towards prevention and preparedness with a view to ensuring a sustainable balance between water demand and the supply of clean water, taking into account the needs of both human activities and of natural ecosystems.

Measuring the river flow using an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP)

approach, it establishes a management system based on natural river basin districts rather than regional and national boundaries. The aim is to bring together all water managers – from governments to local communities – the public and all affected sectors to safeguard ground and surface waters, and achieve good ecological status by 2015. In 2007, the EU put forward a Communication addressing the challenge of water scarcity and droughts. The Communication identified seven policy initiatives that had to be addressed if Europe was to move towards a waterefficient and water-saving economy. EU policy related to water scarcity and droughts is based on the principle of a ‘water hierarchy’. This means that additional water supply infrastructure, such as water transfers or desalination plants, should be considered only when all

demand-side measures, e.g. water-saving, water efficiency improvements and

As the importance of water efficiency becomes increasingly apparent, lessons and knowledge can be drawn from the innovative approaches taken by numerous LIFE projects. These have already been at the forefront of investigating and developing new and effective means of reducing water loss, improving natural recharge of groundwater supplies, reducing demand and reducing waste.

water-pricing, have been exhausted.

LIFE improving the supply of clean water

A 2009 EU policy paper on adapting to climate change highlights the need for further measures to enhance water efficiency and to increase resilience to climate change. This approach reinforces the consistency of measures taken at both EU and national level, and sets the scene for further European action.

As much as 50% of water wastage in some areas of Europe is the result of leaky infrastructure. In addition to the waste of resources and economic cost, leaks can have additional impacts on groundwater quality. LIFE projects have specifically tackled water loss from the supply infrastructure in different contexts through the introduction of technologies to detect leaks more rapidly and better regulate water flow, costeffectively increasing the effective supply of clean water to households and businesses without having to explore new sources of water.

The policy on water scarcity and droughts will be reviewed by 2012, together with the assessment of the Member States’ plans for managing Europe’s river basins, as required by the Water Framework Directive, and the review of the vulnerability of water resources to climate impacts and other man-made pressures. These evaluations will contribute to the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Waters planned for

Photo: LIFE00 ENV/EE/000922

Water losses were decreased by introducing an innovative detection system in Estonia

The RAKWANET project (LIFE00 ENV/ EE/000922) in Rakvere, Estonia showed that significant water savings could be achieved in ageing Soviet-era infrastructure with a moderate investment. The new system reduced the time taken to detect leaks from around six days to three and introduced a computerised calibrated hydraulic model of the water network. By enabling quicker intervention, water losses were decreased from 37% to 21% of total extraction. The Pump And Leakage Management project PALM (LIFE09 ENV/IT/000136) is a new Italian project taking a similar approach. It is introducing the latest acoustic technologies to detect leaks and a calibrated hydraulic model to

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LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use


optimise water flow and close valves to control leaks.

A different approach to making better use of available water resources is to find cost-effective and environmentally friendly means of cleaning water sources to a sufficient standard for their use or re-use. The Dutch project VERBAL (LIFE03 ENV/NL/000467) successfully tested innovative vertical-flow reed beds for filtering surface water. It demonstrated that, in a closed system of mildly polluted urban surface water, it could reduce phosphate levels to below 0.05 mg/l, making the water not only suitable for swimming and water sports, but also providing a cleaner source for drinking water production. An earlier German LIFE project (LIFE98 ENV/D/000509) looked at re-use of fil-

Photo: LIFE07 ENV/IT/000475

Another Italian project, TRUST (LIFE07 ENV/IT/000475) has directly tackled the challenge of over-exploited groundwater, which threatens the long-term supply of clean water. It is working at river basin level to coordinate macro-actions for artificial aquifer recharge using excess surface waters, notably caused by floods. The project is demonstrating a cost-effective means of maintaining natural water sources over time to meet usage needs. It is also introducing climate change predictions into river basin management to meet future, as well as existing, challenges.

The TRUST project is introducing climate change predictions in river basin management

LIFE reducing demand for clean water

ter backwash water from the process of cleaning frequently used filters in groundwater treatment. The project was able to recover 99.85% of the water in drinkable form through the use of submerged membrane modules, effectively increasing the remaining supply of clean fresh water and reducing waste.

Photo: LIFE98 ENV/D/000509

A German project demonstrated a process to recover 99% of backwash water and use it as drinking water

Dealing with limited water resources does not necessarily require dramatic solutions. As a number of LIFE projects have shown, significant progress can be made by encouraging and enabling households, businesses, farms and public bodies to use only the water that they need, saving this valuable resource and saving money and, in agriculture, often leading to better end results. The least technical means of reducing demand is increasing public awareness of the need to save water and of how small gestures, such as turning taps off when not in use and taking a shower rather than a bath, can reduce water consumption considerably. The Eco-Animation project (LIFE07 INF/ UK/000950) has produced a series of cartoons aimed at teaching young children about key environmental messages including the importance of preventing water wastage.



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

The city of Zaragoza in Spain has used LIFE funding to turn itself into a demonstration ‘Water Saving City’, particularly for other countries in southern Europe. The city applied for LIFE funding (LIFE96 ENV/E/000509) to run a massive awareness campaign. This used the full range of media and promotional tools to encourage households, businesses and public authorities to reduce their water consumption.

Photo: LIFE03 ENV/E/000164

The project gave practical guidance on how to save water and persuaded more than 140 companies to market and/or give discounts on water-saving products. It increased the sale of existing domestic appliances with built-in water savers by 15% and saw use of water meters and water-saving taps increase 400% and 600% respectively. The number of households practising water-saving measures doubled and over 1 billion litres of water were saved in 1998 alone.

An innovative watering system developed by the OPTIMIZAGUA project has brought great efficiencies in the irrigation of crops and parks

A number of partners in Zaragoza sought to build on the progress made by the LIFE project and further initiatives followed. A second LIFE project, OPTIMIZAGUA (LIFE03 ENV/E/000164), used sensors to detect moisture in soil and weather conditions, and combined it with knowledge of the water needs of different crops and grass. This enabled an automated watering system to provide only the amount of water necessary on any given day, replacing the previous safety-first approach of erring on the side of too much water (for further details see pp 43-45). The EcoAnimation project worked with children across several European countries to evaluate the content of cartoons concerning water Photo: LIFE07 INF/UK/000950


LIFE Focus

Such approaches demonstrate how water efficiency policies can be implemented without negative side-effects.

tems for using non-drinking water in appropriate applications, such as street cleaning and watering gardens.

An innovative Dutch project, Maastricht Water (LIFE00 ENV/NL/000790), worked to introduce a system of integrated water management for a cluster of eight industries. It sought to meet existing demand using less total water. Although unable to achieve all its objectives, it found synergies between industries - for example one industry using the wastewater of another - which reduced overall water consumption. It favoured use of water from the River Maas rather than already stressed groundwater supplies and prevented the discharge of nitrates into the water system.

Water efficiency in agriculture

The Dropawater project (LIFE02 ENV/ E/000183) sought to tackle all sides of the water efficiency question in the water-stressed Spanish exclave of Ceuta (North Africa). Demand in 3 800 houses was reduced by 10% through the introduction of state-of-the-art water meters. Water supply efficiencies were achieved by checking pipes metre-by-metre for leaks, a process which saved more than double the money it cost, through saved water. The project also introduced sys-

We have already seen how LIFE funding has helped reduce water abstraction for agriculture. Another Spanish project HAGAR (LIFE02 ENV/E/000210) also introduced modern technologies into irrigation systems to calculate the realtime water requirements of plants and thus avoid over-watering. The project extrapolated the results from 12 pilot fields and concluded that this optimisation of water use throughout the river basin could restore natural aquifers and wetland areas in its catchment, thereby contributing to European biodiversity objectives and international commitments such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The experiences of these and other LIFE projects point the way to achieving water efficiency improvements and implementing the EU’s water hierarchy, as well as achieving complementary European objectives around water quality and water-based ecosystems.

33 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

A cleaner and more efficient transport system LIFE projects are at the forefront of demonstrating successful approaches to implementing EU legislation on sustainable transport. LIFE innovations contribute directly to efforts to promote cleaner and more resource efficient transport systems, as well as to reducing transport demand.

he transport sector is a major contributor to resource use in the EU, not only in term of the significant use of non-renewable fossil fuels, but also in terms of the environmental impact of emissions from the combustion of these fuels and the impact on habitats and the landscape of transport infrastructure. In contrast to other sectors of the economy, progress in reducing these environmental impacts has been slow. The transport sector still depends on fossil fuel for around 97% of its total energy requirement and improvements in the sector’s energy and emissions intensity have not been sufficient to offset growth in transport volumes. The development of new transport infrastructure, particularly in the newer Member States, also continues to put pressure on habitats and biodiversity. Technological improvements need to be made to transport systems to achieve a more resource efficient Europe. Transport is important to Europe’s economy, but its environmental performance has to be improved by reducing transport demand,

improving the efficiency of transport systems, vehicles, mobility and logistics, and by promoting a modal shift to more sustainable transport options and the transition to clean technologies and renewable energy sources. This is underlined in the “Flagship initiative under the Europe 2020 strategy”, which foresees a reform of the trans-European networks for transport and states that the future Transport White Paper will “present a vision for a low-carbon, resource-effi-

cient, secure and competitive transport system by 2050 that removes all obstacles to the internal market for transport, promotes clean technologies and modernises transport networks”. EU transport policy currently addresses some of these issues. A binding target of

 See COM (2011) 21 Communication on A resource-efficient Europe – Flagship initiative under the Europe 2020 Strategy

LIFE projects have contributed towards a low-carbon, resource efficient and competitive transport system Photo: LIFE06 ENV/D/000479




LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

a 10% share of renewable energy sources in transport by 2020 has been agreed as part of the EU’s Climate and Energy package, which also sets targets for a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (below 1990 levels) and a 20% reduction in primary energy use by 2020. In addition, a binding target was set to reduce transport fuel GHG intensity (carbon per unit energy) by 6% by 2020 Legislation setting energy and emission performance standards for new passenger cars, heavy vehicles and railway transport has also been adopted. On the demand side, this is supported by initiatives to promote the market for clean and energy-efficient vehicles. EU air quality directives (in particular Directive 2008/50/EC), which set limits for

 Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources  Directive 2009/30/EC on fuel quality  Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the Community’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles  Directive 88/77/EEC On the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the measures to be taken against the emission of gaseous pollutants from diesel engines for use in vehicles On the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the measures to be taken against the emission of gaseous pollutants from diesel engines for use in vehicles  Directive 97/68/EC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to measures against the emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants from internal combustion engines to be installed in non-road mobile machinery

Photo: LIFE06 ENV/D/000477

The PARFUM project combined innovative technologies for clean vehicles for city logistics and public transport

sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, particulate mat-

ENV/GR/000359), a project that tested the potential benefits, and barriers to

ter and lead concentrations in ambient air, provide further impetus to efforts to improve the environmental performance of the transport sector. Promoting a ‘modal shift’ from roads and air transport towards more sustainable travel modes is also an important component of EU transport policy.

market uptake, of cleaner and more efficient engine technologies. Monitoring the energy performance of hybrid vehicles in the city of Thessaloniki (Greece), the project showed that fuel consumption was 52% lower in a hybrid car than in a comparable conventional car during use in urban areas and 27% lower on the motorway. Similar reductions in CO2 emissions were also observed. A survey of users of the test vehicles found that while most would be willing to use a hybrid car, the vast majority would only buy one if it was the same price or cheaper than a conventional car in the same category. The project subsequently carried out a detailed costbenefit analysis of different measures to provide financial and non-financial incentives to help boost the market.

Mapping the route ahead A good example of how LIFE Environment has demonstrated successful approaches to improving transport efficiency is LIFE IMMACULATE (LIFE02

 Regulation (EC) No 1382/2003 on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles

The MHyBus LIFE project aims to develop and test a first prototype hydro-methane bus Photo: LIFE07 ENV/IT/000434


LIFE Focus

LIFE PARFUM (LIFE06 ENV/D/000477) looked at the potential of different clean vehicle technologies (electric, hybrid, natural gas, methane) for city logistics and public transport, focusing in particular on the cities of Bremen (Germany), Padova (Italy) and Rotterdam (Netherlands). Modelling and monitoring carried out during the project showed the disproportionate environmental impact of heavy duty vehicles (HDV), which only represent some 10% of city traffic, but can contribute up to 50% of harmful emissions. The project demonstrated the potential of the different technologies to reduce air



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

tovoltaic electric recharging sub-stations and two biodiesel processing plants, which together will provide sufficient energy to power the two buses.

Photo: LIFE02 ENV/E/000253

Encouraging behavioural change

The ECOBUS project collected cooking oil to produce some 323 000 litres of bio-diesel to fuel 264 buses in Valencia

of support measures and incentives to encourage the wider uptake of these technologies. Hydrogen also offers considerable potential as a clean and renewable transport fuel when produced from renewable sources. Recognising this potential, the MHyBus project (LIFE07 ENV/IT/000434), which is being implemented by the Region of Emilia-Romagna (Italy) aims to develop and test a first prototype hy­dro-methane bus, powered by a fuel blend of up to 20% hydro­gen and 80% natural gas.

From the frying pan to the fleet Focusing on the production of transport fuel from recycled material, the LIFE ECOBUS project (LIFE02 ENV/E/000253) demonstrated the potential for producing biofuels from used cooking oil. The project established a collection system involving 800 commercial establishments, as well as three collection points for domestic waste oil. The waste oil collected was then processed to produce bio-diesel, which was mixed with conventional diesel to power the city’s bus fleet. During the project, around 800 000 litres of cooking oil was collected to produce 322 654 litres of bio-diesel that was used to fuel 264 buses, displacing an equivalent amount of conventional diesel. As an additional result of the project, the beneficiary sent Valencia City Council a proposal to establish, at local level, regulations for managing the used cooking oil.

In Portugal, the OIL PRODIESEL project (LIFE05 ENV/P/000369) also successfully developed an integrated system for the collection and recycling of used cooking oil. Located in Oeiras, a small town on the outskirts of Lisbon, the LIFE project established 20 collection points and developed a prototype 1 000-litre biodiesel processing plant. The fuel produced was tested in the municipal transport fleet, demonstrating both energy and cost savings. Recycling of waste oil is an important component of the ETRUSCAN project (LIFE08 ENV/IT/000425), which also incorporates the use of solar power in order to demonstrate, not only the potential for increased use of renewable energy in the public transport system, but also the possibility to source all of this energy locally. The project will develop two hybrid bus prototypes. It will also establish two pho-

demand” (i.e. the passenger would enter journey start and end points via phone or Internet and a computer system would then match the request to the vehicle in the best way). The new service was then promoted with an awareness-raising campaign, to encourage private car users to switch to public transport. The pilot scheme, which ran from June 2004 to September 2005 showed an increase from 40% to 63% in the numbers of daily public transport users within the target zone. Modal shift was also the aim of the GESMOPOLI project (LIFE05 ENV/ E/000262), which established on-site partnerships to promote sustainable mobility in six industrial parks in the

The ETRUSCAN’s project prototype urban bus also incorporates solar power Photo: LIFE08 ENV/IT/000425

pollution, especially in urban hot spots, but it also highlighted the importance

Encouraging a shift to more sustainable modes of transport is a key component of EU transport policy. The LIFE SIDDHARTA project (LIFE03 ENV/IT/000319), successfully demonstrated the benefits of introducing a ‘demand responsive’ public transport service on two urban bus routes in the city of Genoa (Italy). The existing diesel-powered buses on these routes were replaced with methane-run vehicles, which were then operated “on-


LIFE Focus



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

region of Catalonia (Spain). Mobility plans were produced for each estate and pilot actions were carried out to promote and demonstrate the benefits of car pooling and alternative modes of transport.

Cleaner and more efficient transport over water EU transport policy actively encourages a modal shift to transport over water as a more sustainable alternative to road or air transport. However, it also recognises the considerable scope for improving the environmental performance of water-based transport, which is still largely reliant on diesel or heavy fuel oils. The LIFE LNG Tanker project (LIFE03 ENV/NL/000474) built and delivered the smallest liquid natural gas (LNG) carrier in the world, the 1 100 m3 Pioneer Knutsen, which operated on short sea waterways in Norway for a 41-week demonstration phase. Compared with a diesel alternative, the ship demonstrated a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions, a 60% reduction in hydrocarbon emissions and an 80% reduction of NOx. The success of the project led to an order for three similar vessels from Gaz de France. LIFE WINTECC (LIFE06 ENV/D/000479) demonstrated an innovative wind propulsion technology for cargo vessels. Implemented by Beluga Fleet Manage-

Photo: LIFE03 ENV/NL/000474

The smallest liquid natural gas carrier in the world was built by the LNG project which reduced CO2, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide emissions

ment, an SME that manages heavy lift cargo shipments worldwide, the project succeeded in developing the SkySailsSystem: a fully automated towing kite and a wind-optimised routing system, which is designed to be used in addition to the ship’s propeller. The first prototype was tested in 2008 and during its maiden voyage energy savings of more than 20% were achieved, equivalent to daily savings of some 2.5 tonnes of fuel, or more than €500, according to the project beneficiary.

Power-assisted by an electric motor run from a fuel cell, the ship commenced service in August 2008 on Hamburg’s Alster lake.

Integrated approaches

Another German project, ZEM/SHIPS (LIFE06 ENV/D/000465), developed the first hydrogen-powered passenger ship.

LIFE WINTECC used an automated towing kite for propelling cargo ships Photo: LIFE06 ENV/D/000479


LIFE Focus

Bringing together a combination of different approaches, the CATCH project (LIFE02 ENV/UK/000136) successfully demonstrated the potential of integrated strategies for reducing the environmental impact of transport. Focusing primarily on the city of Liverpool (UK), the project combined actions to reduce transport demand, such as walking and cycling initiatives, with the deployment of clean fuels and hybrid buses. The project’s evaluation showed that the wider implementation of the project actions throughout the city would result in emissions reductions of 50 939 tonnes/yr of CO2, contributing directly to the EU GHG reduction targets, as well as targets for air quality and the use of renewable energy sources. The LIFE RAVE project (LIFE02 ENV/ IT/000106) also successfully demonstrated an integrated “slow mobility system” in the city of Novara, Italy. Led by the city council, the project combined the creation of protected pedestrian areas, cycle paths and bicycle parking with the introduction of fast, low-emission buses and intelligent traffic lights. These measures were complemented by a strategy to discourage the use of motorised vehicles.

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LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

LIFE helps boosts the energy efficiency of EU building stock Europe’s buildings offer many possibilities for making positive contributions to the objectives of the EU’s resource efficiency Flagship, particularly via improvements in energy performance. A variety of LIFE projects have been active in this area and their results are helping Europe’s buildings steer a more sustainable course.


s much as 40% of EU energy consumption and 36% of EU CO 2 emissions are associated with buildings. Resource efficiency principles are therefore highly relevant for Europe’s building stock. Efforts to improve the energy efficiency of both existing and new built premises provide significant opportunities for mitigating negative climate change effects. Bettering buildings’ energy efficiency performance can also make useful contributions to improving energy security, and simultaneously generate employment in related sectors.

Bold targets have been set across the EU so that by 31 December 2020, all new buildings shall be nearly zero-energy consumption buildings. New buildings occupied and owned by public authorities will have to comply with the same criteria by 31 December 2018. Significant structural challenges are involved

Photo: LIFE00 ENV/A/000243 and Markus Reiseinberger

Policy approaches for strengthening resource efficient building practices are promoted through the Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings (2002/91/EC) and its recast (2010/31/ EU). This sets common Member State standards and certification requirements for important energy consumption factors such as heating, lighting, insulation, and air conditioning systems. The directive’s objectives closely

complement goals in DG Environment’s Resource-efficient Europe Flagship to improve energy profiles of buildings.

with these strategic ambitions and an interesting array of LIFE projects have been helping the EU building sector pave the way to a more energy efficient future. Furthermore, as of 2013, all Member States will have to set their minimum energy performance requirements based on a lifecycle assessment, ensuring optimal cost efficiency.



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: LIFE04 ENV/GR/000137


LIFE Focus

Energy efficiency in heating and cooling was demonstrated thanks to an innovative methodology for sustainable school buildings

Systematic and simplified approaches Directive 2002/91/EC calls for strong methodological approaches to improve energy efficiency in buildings. Several different LIFE actions have addressed this requirement. For instance, for the transnational LIFE project SB-MED (LIFE04 ENV/GR/000137), partners from Greece, France and Germany joined forces to collate, adapt and apply best practices in European sustainable build-

ing design methods for schools. The result was a methodology on sustainable school buildings that was tailored to the particular needs of Mediterranean countries. The new methodology holds strong demonstration value for other parts of the region and is especially relevant for improving the performance of existing buildings. By incorporating factors such as alternative cooling techniques, appropriate materials, natural shading and renewable energy the new methodology creates cost savings from

improved energy efficiency, estimated at 35-50% for heating, and 25-30% for cooling. Another example of a beneficial resource efficiency methodology being introduced by LIFE can be seen in the EQuation project (LIFE00 ENV/ NL/000808), which showed that energy performance gains of 15% were possible by adopting sustainable design approaches. EQuation was nominated as a “Best” LIFE Environment project in 2004-2005 (see pp 21-25).

Photo: Monique Braem and LIFE00 ENV/A/000243

Wood and straw used for wall insulation helped the S-HOUSE project cut energy consumption

Award schemes are often useful for identifying and disseminating good practices in resource efficiency methodologies, and LIFE’s SUSCON project (LIFE05 ENV/GR/000235) ran a series of competitions to encourage ecofriendly construction techniques among public and private sector stakeholders. This work formed part of the project’s wider actions involving the design of computerised systems for reducing the environmental impact of construction works. The software developed during the LIFE project represented an innovation in Greece and Cyprus because it provided for the first time a full-scale

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LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

In addition to promoting more simplified and systematic approaches to resource efficiency, the Flagship also underscores the importance of speeding up and spreading eco-innovations. The LIFE programme has been at the vanguard of such new thinking, through projects such as Austria’s S-House (LIFE00 ENV/A/000243), which built an ‘eco-office’ from renewable and recyclable raw materials. Extensive use of wood and straw for the outer panelling and wall insulation helped cut energy consumption by 9 kWh/m2/yr compared with a standard house. It also helped save raw materials, using only 10% of the amount of natural resources that would have been needed for standard

E C O - CAMPS The French ECO-CAMPS project (LIFE04 ENV/FR/000321) demonstrated a series of resource efficient eco-design innovations tailored to the needs of campsite managers. The project showed how energy consumption of chalet heating could be cut by 60% and of camping appliances by 28% when chalets were made more energy efficient through improved insulation, natural lighting, solar power and roof planting. Europe’s camping sector has experienced a resurgence in recent years and this LIFE project will help spread the word about how to build energy efficient, eco-friendly camping facilities.

Austria’s S-House built an ‘eco-office’ from renewable and recyclable raw materials

concrete walls. To add to this material efficiency, the S-House also featured a large, south-facing glazed facade and stone flooring to capture heat, as well as a prototype biomass stove capable of storing and regulating energy.

Material efficiency The German INSU-SHELL project (LIFE06 ENV/D/000471) focused its attention on the issue of ‘material efficiency’ in order to reduce the impact of the concrete industry - cement produc-

tion uses substantial amounts of energy and accounts for some 5% of worldwide annual CO2 emissions. The project aimed to lower the volumes of concrete required for conventional facades and walls through the introduction of high-tech textiles that could reinforce cement mixes and create stronger, thinner walls (reduced from the standard 70 mm to a more ‘material efficient’ 10 or 20 mm). This raw material efficiency offers the prospect of significant associated energy savings.

Photo: LIFE04 ENV/FR/000321


Photo: Monique Braem and LIFE00 ENV/A/000243

The results of these LIFE-funded works directly support high level EU initiatives such as the Action Plan for Energy Efficiency and will of course remain valuable for helping the resource efficiency Flagship navigate the challenges that lay ahead.


application of Integrated Product Policy (IPP) and sustainable construction techniques (combining energy efficiency with land use, low impact materials, water conservation, health and safety and economic performance criteria).



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LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

RENEW BUILDING A lot of effort has been invested in improving the energy efficiency

Photo: LIFE02 ENV/A/000285

potential of new buildings but Europe’s existing building stock is badly in

An Austrian project validated considerable energy savings with green construction techniques

need of solutions to boost its energy performance. LIFE’s RENEW BUILDING (LIFE08 ENV/A/000216) tackles this challenge by strengthening the environmental capacity of the renovation sector. Concluding in 2012, RENEW BUILDING is facilitating knowledge transfers about energy and resource efficient construction materials and providing training in sustainable renovation skills among target groups in the renovation trade that are often difficult to reach, such as micro businesses and SMEs.

This new know-how builds on a growing library of data from LIFE projects demonstrating effective energy efficient building techniques. Notable among

More data on material efficient techniques will soon be available from the ongoing EDEA project (LIFE07 ENV/E/000805), which aims to improve knowledge about

these is Austria’s LIFE BBMpassiv project (LIFE02 ENV/A/000285) which validated a series of green construction techniques during its investment in the development of a multi-functional, multi-storey administration building. The result has been the creation of a ‘passive house’ that requires only 14 kWh/m²/yr of heat thanks to the use of hemp and cellulose insulating material. The energy efficient building, which prioritises airtight fabrics, could save 75 000 kg of CO2/yr in comparison with a conventional building.

resource efficiency in social housing developments. The project seeks to show how appropriate design of new products, along with suitable application of existing products, can considerably improve the environmental performance of buildings. It aims to do this without increasing costs beyond the scope of social housing schemes. To this end, the project has built an ‘experimental’ house, a social housing facility that is acting as a ‘living laboratory’ for testing and demonstrating resource efficient approaches for low-cost homes. Here, the EDEA team is conduct-

ing applied research into intelligent home technologies, renewable energies and methods for reducing gas, heat, dust and light emissions.

Knowledge building As noted earlier, LIFE has been and will continue to be an invaluable source for helping public, private and NGO sectors develop new know-how on energy and other resource efficiency components. Building knowledge about cost-effective ways to achieve a resource efficient Europe is considered vital by the EU and will play a long-term role in helping the Flagship sail towards its goal of a sustainable horizon.

Photo: LIFE07 ENV/E/000805

The EDEA project is improving knowledge about resource efficiency in social housing developments



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Buildings’ capacity to store and regulate energy affects their efficiency ratings, and LIFE funds have been used to help offset financial risks involved with finding eco-innovation solutions for new types of resource efficient building materials that can reduce European energy bills.

Taking the risk out of resource efficiency investments


rends in building techniques over

buildings provide more stable internal

state, and in doing so releases the stored

recent years have seen a boom in the use of prefabricated, lightweight and modular constructions. This trend is especially strong in the housing sector where wood and metal frame buildings are faster and cheaper to build than concrete or stone alternatives. These modern techniques can reduce the cost of construction but they often remain environmentally flawed in terms of the building’s ‘thermal mass’.

temperatures and they tend to have lower heating or cooling costs.

(latent) energy back into the room.The result is a natural passive solution that does not require air conditioning.”

Thermal mass is the ability of a building to absorb and store heat. Buildings that contain a lot of dense material, such as concrete or stone, are able to soak up heat or light energy and store this within the walls, floors and ceilings. Buildings made of materials such as wood and metal cannot soak up and store as much energy and have a lower thermal mass. Rooms in low thermal mass buildings therefore heat up quicker during hot weather and become colder faster in winter. They are less energy efficient because they consume new energy each time the room needs to be heated to a comfortable temperature, or cooled down using air conditioning units. Heating and air conditioning appliances are the largest users of energy in Europe’s buildings. Buildings with higher thermal mass are able to better absorb heat energy from solar or indoor sources. They store the heat and release it when the room temperature drops, as part of a natural passive energy cycle. These types of

Market trends for lightweight buildings with low thermal mass have hence created an escalating environmental problem that conflicts with practical and policy requirements for increased energy efficiency and improved energy balances.

Lightweight materials with a high thermal mass

Despite the energy efficiency potential of PCMs, their wider use in the past had been hindered by application problems. Dupont set out to tackle this issue by developing a user-friendly PCM panel that could be easily installed in any building, especially lightweight, quick-build, prefabricated structures.

Risk reduction A LIFE project based in Luxembourg has helped develop an innovative solution for this problem. The EFFERNERGY project (LIFE06 ENV/L/000121) was led by the Buildings Innovation department of the private sector firm DuPont, and LIFE support helped the company work with SMEs to design a new type of lightweight building material that exhibits a high thermal mass. “The key to our eco innovation is a ‘Phase Change Material’ (PCM) which changes its form at different temperatures,” explains Wim Maes, DuPont’s Contract Operations Manager for Europe. “We have produced a thin flat wall panel that contains an internal layer of special wax. When the temperature in a room increases above 21 degrees Celsius the wax in the PCM panel starts to absorb heat energy and slowly melts. If the room temperature drops to below 21 degrees the liquid wax material then starts to change its phase back to a solid

A lack of market demand for PCM building panels represented a large risk for DuPont. LIFE support is able to help companies bridge such risk gaps and the programme’s role in this area is acknowl-

Placement of the innovative thermal-mass panels made of a wax-polymer blend


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LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

EFFENERGY improved the thermal performance of existing buildings

edged as a highly useful tool by beneficiaries. Mr Maes reiterates this and says, “Research and development money at DuPont is very competitive but with the help of LIFE we were able to raise enough financial support to get our project started. Without LIFE’s help the eco-innovations we have introduced to the building market might never have gotten further than the drawing board. The LIFE project helped us overcome the period when we didn’t have an income.” Ulrike Koster from DuPont explains further, “It’s not about creating a new material that will land in an existing market. It’s about creating a new solution with new material landing in a non-existent market. LIFE helped us to define a market strategy for commercialising the initial eco innovation idea of the PCM panel.”

Commercialising PCM Much of the project’s €1.51 million of LIFE co-finance was spent on the prototyping phases for the PCM panels. Most of this money was used by the SME and academic partners from France and Greece that were involved in testing the PCM materials. Notable among this work was the development of new software to determine the specifications of the panel. Without defined specifications the new product would not be able to be adopted by the market. Thanks to the work started under LIFE and continued after-LIFE, in 2010, DuPont made software available for the trade that includes PCM specifications. Building designers and their clients can now check the energy efficiency and thermal comfort of a building that includes the PCM panels. DuPont says this was an

important lesson from the project – think ahead and start work early on determining product specifications.

Overcoming obstacles In addition to the issue of defining specifications, a number of other time-consuming obstacles were overcome by the project, and these offer some useful insights for decision-makers involved in promoting resource efficiency at regional, national and EU levels. For example, EFFERNERGY has shown how building codes can hamper the uptake of PCM panels because “the official methodologies for calculating energy performance do not know PCM yet,” explains Jacques Gilsent, DuPont’s marketing manager. “They know concrete and they know stone, so if you are builder and you want to get the energy efficiency of your building validated you can only use conventional materials.” This issue still represents a serious obstacle to the energy saving benefits of PCMs and only the regulators can change the system. As each Member State has its own building regulations, each Member State has the power to make the changes needed for promoting more energy efficient building materials. “The main driver for changes in the industry continues to be the official rules and legislation,” stresses Mr. Gilsent. Thus, a review of building regulations and certification systems by decision-makers could encourage the industry to change its behaviour. Wim Maes believes this “is in the interest of everyone who wants to change the energy bill of the EU”. As part of any such review, the role of subsidies could be considered.

Other options for increasing uptake of this type of eco-innovation lay with the insurance certification systems that are required for building materials. Before builders can start a construction project they normally need to get insurance to cover their work and insurance companies seek assurances that the products being used in a building are safe. All new products need to be certified for insurance purposes and so the energy saving benefits available from PCM panels could also be accelerated by help from the product certification bodies. DuPont have found this certification process slow and expensive. “It’s been difficult for us as a large company, so imagine how challenging it might be for smaller companies with similarly good eco-innovation ideas,” says Ms. Koster.

In conclusion Examining the EFFERNERGY project highlights the facts that energy storage is a core part of energy efficiency, and that PCM is an excellent solution for energy storage in modern building methodologies. In 10 years time we might expect that this approach could be much more common, and this may be in part attributed to the risk finance provided by LIFE to help DuPont and its partners produce the industry’s first ever user-friendly PCM building panel.

LUXEMBOURG Project number: LIFE06 ENV/L/000121 Title: EFFENERGY - Energy Efficient Building Systems Beneficiary: DuPont Luxembourg Contact: Wim Maes Email: Website: Period: Dec-2005 to Nov-2008 Total budget: e5 610 000 LIFE contribution: e1 510 000

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LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Protecting Europe’s fisheries and marine resources Overfishing, pollution and unsustainable coastal development present a serious threat to the EU’s marine environment and coastal areas. LIFE projects are actively contributing to the implementation of EU policy to tackle these issues, testing and demonstrating new tools and approaches for protecting and conserving our marine resources, including fish stocks.


Facilitating the co-existence and development of these different sectors, while also protecting the marine environment on which they depend, is an increasingly important challenge for the EU. Overexploitation of fish stocks, pollution from land and sea-based sources, and unsustainable development now represent a major threat. These problems are further compounded by the

negative impacts of climate change on coasts and the marine environment. If the resilience of our marine ecosystems is continually undermined, the potential to provide important resources and services – ranging from food provision to climate change and erosion abatement to bioremediation of waste and pollutants, as well as tourism and aesthetic enjoyment - will also be compromised.

The ecosystem approach of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD - see box) allows for the sustainable use of goods and services, such as fish stocks and other resources (biological resources, minerals, ecosystem services and renewable marine energy sources). These marine resources, many of which are still unknown, have a high potential and can be used in applications such as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, biotechnology, bio-engineering/bionics, food

The Baltic MPAs project worked with fishermen to gather data on fishery by-catch Photo: Markus Vetemaa and LIFE05 NAT/LV/000100

urope’s coastal and maritime areas are central to its wellbeing and prosperity. Oceans and seas cover more than half of EU territory and maritime regions are home to about 40% of the EU population. These areas also generate some 40% of EU GDP, with economic activities focusing on areas such as shipping and shipbuilding, fisheries, offshore energy and coastal and maritime tourism. The exploitation of mineral resources, aquaculture, blue biotechnology and emerging subsea technologies are also increasingly important sectors.

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LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use


production and processing. The careful exploitation of some minerals and renewable energy resources may also relieve pressure on land-based ecosystems and reduce dependency on resources outside of the EU. Furthermore, marine and maritime technologies, resources and services serve as catalysts for innovation, competitiveness and, ultimately, blue growth and jobs. There are ways to guarantee resource efficiency of our seas in the future, such as by promoting sustainable fishing techniques, minimising discard and by-catch practises, developing technologies that exploit marine resources sustainably, and by preventing marine litter and pollution. LIFE funded projects have a key role to play in demonstrating how this is possible in practice.

LIFE in our seas and oceans LIFE projects are at the forefront of developing and demonstrating innovative approaches that contribute to the effective implementation of EU policy on the marine environment. These projects address a wide range of issues, including the conservation of fish stocks, combating marine pollution, preserving habitats and biodiversity, and the application of an ecosystem approach to managing marine resources. The LIFE ECOSMA project (LIFE07 ENV/ D/000229), for example, is looking at ways to promote more sustainable aquaculture as a means of relieving stress on wild fish stocks and improving water quality in the Baltic Sea. The project

THE EU’S INTEGRATED MARINE POLICY The European Union, through its Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP), aims to promote the sustainable use of oceans, seas and coasts. The IMP fosters interaction between all sea-related sectors and policies in the EU, in particular transport, fisheries, customs and the protection of the marine environment. Adopted in June 2008, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/ EC) represents the environmental pillar of the IMP. The directive aims “to achieve good environmental status of the EU’s marine waters by 2020 and to protect the resource base upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend.” The directive provides for Member States and non-EU countries to cooperate within European Marine Regions to develop and implement strategies to achieve this goal. seeks to increase production of, and develop a market for, ecological mariculture products by promoting ecological certification. It will create a directory of German mariculture and establish a regional committee on sustainable mariculture, leading to a draft White Paper and a code of practice.

Testing an ecosystem approach in the Celtic Sea An ecosystem-based approach to managing marine resources is a key component of the MSFD. This approach involves the integrated management of land, water and living resources in a way that promotes conservation and sustainable use of resources in an equitable way. It is now widely recognised as the best means of managing and governing activities affecting the marine environment. Contributing to knowledge in this area, the PISCES project (LIFE07 ENV/UK/000943)

Photo: LIFE07 ENV/UK/000943

Stakeholders are testing new methods for implementing an ecosystem approach in the Celtic Sea

is working closely with stakeholders from several Member States to test collaborative methodologies for implementing an ecosystem approach in the Celtic Sea. Like other EU seas and oceans, the Celtic Sea is under threat from a variety of external pressures (climate change, fisheries, food cultivation in the open ocean, chemical pollution, shipping, construction and dredging, coastal development, recreation and tourism). The project will bring together stakeholders and government representatives and will lead to the development of agreed mechanisms for implementing an ecosystem approach to managing and overcoming these pressures.

Recycling solid waste Contributing directly to the implementation of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, the Integrated Maritime Policy and the Waste Framework Directive, the 3R-FISH project (LIFE07 ENV/E/000814) aims to improve the quality of marine waters and seabeds, and prevent marine litter in compliance with the “nothing overboard” and “zero waste in ports” principles. This will be achieved by promoting the correct use of equipment and by minimising the environmental impact of solid waste from the fishing industry (polystyrene, fishing nets, lighting devices, batteries) by promoting collection and recycling. The project will support the reuse and recycling of devices and equipment used by the fishing industry in selected ports



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: Michele Lischi and LIFE06 NAT/IT/000050


LIFE Focus

The sustainable use of coastal areas in two Italian regions will be ensured through the active involvement of fisheries associations, tourism operators, NGOs and local authorities

in Galicia (Spain). Project actions include the collection and recycling of disused nets and expanded polystyrene, and the collection and treatment of some 1 400 batteries). These innovative systems for the management and recovery of waste, throughout the entire lifecycle, will also aim to recover secondary raw materials, thus reducing use of primary raw materials.

project (LIFE06 NAT/IT/000050) aims to safeguard and restore nine Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) in the coastal zones of Lazio and Calabria (Italy), which are under threat from human activities. Project actions are focusing on priority habitats such as Posidonia beds, Coastal lagoons, Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp, and Dunes with pine forests.

It also defined management measures for fishing activities to reduce by-catch of sea turtles. The results show the potential value of modifications to fishing gear when it comes to reducing by-catch. The project’s approach to preparing and implementing its management plan has also provided valuable lessons for other marine SCIs in the EU.

Preserving marine habitats and biodiversity

An important aspect of the project is the involvement of local fisheries associations, tourism operators, environmental NGOs and local and regional government in ensuring the sustainable use of coastal areas.

Making more resource efficient use of by-catch and discards, a priority for EU policymakers, was also the subject of LIFE BE-FAIR (LIFE05 ENV/E/000267), and the follow-up project, FAROS (LIFE08 ENV/E/000119), which are the subject of a feature article on the following pages of this section.

Focusing on managing areas already designated for protection, the Co.Me.Bi.S.

An earlier LIFE project also explored effective approaches to managing Natura 2000 sites. In the context of increasing pressure from urbanisation, tourism development and other human activities, the LIFE Zonas costeiras/Açores project (LIFE98 NAT/P/005275) sought to develop and implement integrated management plans for coastal and marine habitats in the Azores (Portugal). The project focused in particular on five marine SCIs and seven Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). It also proposed the designation of new protected areas under national law. Notable successes of the project included the adoption of new regulations on whale watching, a reduction in by-catch, and the updating of measures for the protection of birds.

Measures for the protection of birds were updated thanks to a Portuguese project Photo: LIFE98 NAT/P/005275 and S. Mendes

The Baltic MPAs project (LIFE05 NAT/ LV/000100) provided a scientific basis for the designation of Natura 2000 sites in the marine territories of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by proposing seven new marine protected areas (MPAs) and conceiving management plans for six of them. The project gathered data from fishermen on species (seals, birds and non-commercial fish) caught in their gear, complemented with information from independent project fishing activities. Hydro-dynamic modelling was used to assess the impact on marine habitats from the dumping of dredged material and other activities. The project also implemented measures to assess and reduce the impact of fishery by-catch on target bird and mammal species (such as the struggling populations of ringed seal, Pusa hispida).



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LIFE Focus

No discards, zero waste Promoting a more efficient use of fisheries resources was the main aim of the LIFE BEFAIR project, which developed and tested new approaches for managing and reusing


fishing industry waste and by-catch.

pproximately 85 million tonnes of wild fish are harvested globally each year. Of this, an estimated 27 million tonnes - almost one-third - is discarded, or thrown back into the sea. The remaining ”target” catch is then subject to on-board processing, which creates significant quantities of waste, such as heads, bones, guts and skins. This is also usually returned to the sea. More waste is produced on-shore as a result of the activity of fishing ports, auctions, fish traders and processing plants. This combination of discards and waste represents a serious threat to the sustainability of the fisheries sector, contributing not only to a depletion of fish populations and a change in the overall structure of marine trophic webs and habitats, but also to the accumulation of pollutants and the spread of parasites in the marine environment.

New uses for fishing industry waste and by-catch In line with EU objectives of “no discards” and “zero waste”, the LIFE BEFAIR project (LIFE05 ENV/E/000267) sought to develop new commercial uses for fishing industry waste and discards by piloting innovative waste and discards pre-processing and valorisation practices, both on-board fishing vessels and also on-shore in a dedicated pilot plant. “The idea behind the project was that everything harvested from the sea should be treated as a valuable product, always bearing in mind that resources are limited and that fishing activities must become sustainable,” explains Luis Taboada Antelo, LIFE project team member. “We are wasting valuable biomass from which we can produce secondary raw materials. The aim was to find ways to

efficiently reuse fish resources (discards and by-catches) which represent potential food resources and sources of basic compounds for the medical and pharmaceutical industries.”The first stage of the project involved an assessment of the A prototype for the extraction of fish oil from fish livers was designed for use onboard



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

In France, the results showed a discard rate of about 13% for Atlantic fisheries and 31% for the Mediterranean. Sardine fisheries in the Mediterranean had a discard rate of over 50%, because of the presence of mixed banks of sardines and anchovies.

Samples of chondroitin sulphate produced from fish cartilage

activities in selected fisheries in Spain, France and Portugal in order to determine the amount and type of discards and by-products being generated. “This was essential to understanding the feasibility of processes that we would examine later,” says Mr Taboada. The results showed a wide variety of fish species being caught as by-catch

and significant volumes of discards and waste being dumped back into the sea. For example, Spanish trawlers operating in the North Atlantic, which targeted Greenland halibut, also caught grenadier, white hake, witch, American plaice, redfish or skates, shrimps, yellowtail and even flounder and cod. Waste material generated included viscera, heads and trims of the target species, all of which were thrown overboard.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) can be extracted from the vitreous humour of certain fish species, such as swordfish or tuna

According to information gathered in Portugal, crustacean and demersal finfish trawl fisheries were found to have high discard rates, although the values could be quite variable, according to the season, fishery and boat type. The highest rates (up to 60% for fishing trawlers and 70% for crustacean trawls) were found in the Algarve. An assessment of activities on land also revealed high levels of waste production. At the port of Vigo (Spain), for example, the local fish auction produced 10-14 tonnes/day of fish waste, while waste generated by fish processing amounted to some 35% of the total fish catch. In France, it was estimated that in 2005, some 215 000 tonnes of waste was generated as a result of fish trade and fish processing activities. This mostly comprised of fish heads (40%), fish bones (27%) and viscera (25%).

New guidelines and incentives for resource efficient fishing Taking account of the types and amounts of discards and waste generated, the project team developed a “Good-Practice Manual for the Recovery, Handling and Classification of Discards and ByProducts”. This manual includes proposals for appropriate management practices, on-board and on-shore, with recommendations for preserving and pre-treating discards and sub-products. The guidelines for on-board activities focus on two types of fishing vessels; trawlers and long-liners. However, these can easily be adapted to other fishing vessels, fishing gear or types of catch. While the manual was an important starting point, the project team also recognised that to translate this into practice,


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The first is the irregularity of supply, because of the variability of the types and quantity of waste and by-catch. And the second is the link to the market, which has yet to be established. According to Mr Taboada, “it was not possible to address these issues within the timeframe of the project. This is why we developed the follow-up LIFE FAROS project (LIFE08 ENV/E/000119), which aims to put all the pieces together; to create a network and to establish the link to market.” At the port of Vigo in Spain the local fish auction produced 10-14 tonnes of fish waste per day

there had to be incentives to make it economically attractive.

as a complement to other sources, it was found to have potential.

“Keeping discards and waste on board implies a cost, as it takes up space that could be used to store fish with an economic value, so you have to create an incentive and demonstrate that fishermen can gain some economic return from this,” insists Mr Taboada.

The prototype for the extraction of fish oil from fish livers was designed for use

To address this issue, the project developed four different prototypes which were used to demonstrate the potential to produce commercial products from fish wastes and by-catch: • A mechanical device to extract vitreous humour from fish eyes; • A fish oil extractor to obtain oils from fish liver on-board; • A water reduction units; and • A multipurpose prototype for gelatine extraction/chondroitin sulphate/enzyme processes. A preliminary assessment of the market potential of the different products was also carried out. Hyaluronic acid (HA) can be extracted from the vitreous humour of certain fish species, such as swordfish or tuna. Used in the treatment of bone disease and in cosmetics, this was found to be the product with the highest commercial value (up to €100 000 per kg). The market opportunity for HA produced exclusively from fish was found to be limited because of the low concentration of this compound in fish vitreous humour, but

FAROS will also look at the introduction of new on-board technology to retrieve real time data on fish being harvested. This will facilitate the generation of maps of activity and resources at sea, and will also help to predict areas where rates

on-board and the shipowner’s union of Vigo (ARVI) has agreed to test it on its vessels.

of by-catch and discards are likely to be higher, so that these areas can be avoided or closed off during spawning periods or if numbers of certain fish species have dwindled.

The water reduction unit was also designed for on-board use, where it could help to reduce the volume of discard and waste by crushing to obtain a dry cake. Mr Taboada reports that “this prototype is already being used in France and there is also interest in Vigo.”

“The first thing to keep in mind is to try and avoid by-catch, but if this is not possible then let’s exploit it and make sure we use marine resources more efficiently,” concludes Mr Taboada.

The multipurpose prototype worked by extracting collagen from fish skins to obtain a purified gelatine that could then be used as a food supplement. The same process can also be used to produce chondroitin sulphate (CS), a substance used, for instance, to treat rheumatism. “This can be extracted from the cartilage of fish such as ray or monkfish,” explains Mr Taboada. “Only about 20% of a ray is edible, so at present the remaining 80% is waste that can be transformed into a valuable resource.”

Establishing links to market The project clearly demonstrated a resource efficient approach, showing the potential to add-value to discards and waste, and the willingness of fishermen to implement the guidelines and adopt the prototype equipment, as long as it was economically feasible. However, two key challenges remain.

SPAIN Project number: LIFE05 ENV/E/000267 Title: Benign and environmentally friendly fish processing practices to provide added value and innovative solutions for a responsible and sustainable management of fisheries. Beneficiary: The Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) Contact: Antonio Álvarez Alonso Email: Website: Period: Nov-2005 to Nov-2008 Total budget: e1 859 000 LIFE contribution: e909 000

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Planning for a more resource efficient European landscape Expanding cities and changing lifestyles demand an ever-increasing supply of natural resources and energy. LIFE Environment projects are providing support at national, local and regional levels for European Union strategies that promote more resource efficient land use and planning in Europe.

he way we use our land space can have major impacts on environmental conditions and resource consumption. These impacts can be direct, such as the destruction of natural habitats and landscapes, or indirect, such as increasing the amount of traffic on our roads - leading to more congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gases. In Europe, land use planning and management decisions are usually made at local or regional level. However, the European Union has a role to play in ensuring Member States take environmental concerns into account when putting together their land use development plans. LIFE has been actively supporting Europe’s local or regional authorities to develop their land use planning strategies in a more resource efficient way.

land use and planning, has emerged as an important concept in the development of a more resource efficient European

land use and planning policy at all levels: the results are also highly transferable to both larger and smaller regions of Europe, municipalities, and also to companies or organisations in the context of their environmental management systems.

landscape. Several LIFE projects have explored this concept. For example, the Finnish ECOREG project (LIFE02 ENV/ FIN/000331) demonstrated how ecoefficiency monitoring, and the integration of environmental, economic and socio-cultural dimensions into sustainable development can be implemented at a regional level. The project developed a series of ecoindicators for the development of the region of Kymenlaakso on the country’s southern Baltic coast, which were later included in a Regional Plan. The indicators showed that the overall ecoefficiency of Kymenlaasko improved between 1995 and 2002.


The project’s findings are relevant to the development of more resource efficient

Eco-efficiency, combining the ecological, economic and social dimensions of

1 a ‘Best LIFE Environment Project’ winner 2005-06

A second Finnish project, Green Valley (LIFE02 ENV/FIN/000319) developed a resource efficient land use plan for a substantial new housing development in

The eco-efficiency of land use in Kymenlaakso improved thanks to LIFE funding Photo: LIFE02 ENV/FIN/000331


50 LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Salo. The plan included specific actions e.g. favouring the procurement of ‘green electricity’ and the enhancement of environmental aspects in the public procurement of the participating municipalities.

The Coastal Woodlands project (LIFE02 ENV/S/000355) demonstrated the application of ICZM, focusing on the Baltic Sea coastal zone woodlands of Finland, Sweden and Estonia.

Stakeholder consultation led to greater public involvement in the planning stage and thus significant uptake of the completed dwellings.

Surveys carried out by the project on the cultural, social and environmental value of these woodlands, as well as studies of different forestry management activities, resulted in the development of integrated inventories and maps for the project area. This new information was used in the stakeholder consultations in the recommendations for ICZM in the Baltic Sea.

Landscape management aspects also delivered some 60 small-scale plans for biodiversity, semi-natural habitats, landscape improvements and water protection. Furthermore, by involving the area’s cattle farmers, who play an important role in maintaining meadows and thus contributing to biodiversity, the project was able

The findings highlighted the cross-cutting aspects of coastal management encompassing sustainable forestry, agriculture,

to recommend changes to the application of EU agri-environmental support that were subsequently adopted by regional and national environmental authorities.

tourism and development planning. Moreover, the project demonstrated better use of legislation for nature protection and rural planning as well as helping to stimulate more environmentally-conscious attitudes toward land use.

Another success was the promotion of environmental training, which resulted in the establishment of two new enterprises targeting innovative waste management technologies.

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) is about managing coastal resources and coastal space by joining up all the different policies which have an effect on coastal regions.

ICZM focusing on the Baltic Sea coastal zone woodlands was applied in Finland

Tools to aid strategic urban planning were developed by the DIVERS project

Urban dimension

Spatial planning information is essential for good environmental management decision-making and avoidance of conflicts.

Europe is highly urbanised, with four out of every five of its citizens living in towns or cities. The challenge for policy-makers is to come up with a sustainable and integrated approach to urban development and management that works in harmony with natural systems rather than against them. A number of LIFE projects are furthering the EU’s Thematic Strategy on Urban Development, which targets a more integrated approach and supports action at local level.

There are many different producers of such planning tools, but data are often restricted by reasons of cost or accessibility. The high-profile ENVIFACILITATE project (LIFE04 ENV/FI/000304) tackled this problem – designing accessible, technologically sustainable and user-friendly mapping tools for shared environmental spatial planning information.

For example, the Spanish-led DIVERS project (LIFE02 ENV/E/000176) developed tools and a shared database to aid strategic urban planning towards a model for a more sustainable city. Piloted in five cities – in Spain, Greece and Italy – the project has a high demonstration value, as the strategy and methodology is applicable to any city.

The tools provide users with access online to the most recent data. They allow maps and databases to be overlaid to give a clear representation of spatial data with the dozens of alternative data layers available.

Another Spanish project – GALLECS - (LIFE02 ENV/E/000200) developed a Strategic Plan for a rural area on the outskirts of Barcelona to address the phenomenon of urban sprawl. The project promoted more sustainable land use, renewable energy and more efficient water irrigation systems to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development in transition zones on the edge of cities. As a result, the project was able to strengthen the rural area’s function as an ecological buffer zone between the urban fringe and the countryside beyond.

Spatial planning tools

ICZM a priority in EU planning

Photo: LIFE02 ENV/E/000176


Photo: LIFE02 ENV/S/000355


LIFE Focus

The project contributed towards several national and international environmental information systems. It also supported the networking of planning information actors at regional level; and developed an interactive tool to allow the public to participate in the regional planning process. 2 a ‘Best of the Best’ LIFE Environment project winner 2007-08

51 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

LIFE turns food for thought into action There is significant scope to produce and consume our food and drink in a more resource efficient manner. EU policy initiatives in this regard have been supported on the ground by a number of innovative LIFE Environment projects.


n the globalised economy and interlinked environment, the EU is increasingly affected by global changes in resources, climate, material availability and food prices. These issues are likely to become more pressing, with a projected increase in global demand for food of some 70% by 2050. Steps taken by the Commission at EU level to address climate change can also contribute to improving global food security. Key areas of policy intervention in the food and beverage sector have included improving resource use in production and avoiding food waste.

The LIFE programme has played an important role to date in helping to implement these policy objectives across the EU-27 and in neighbouring countries.

Improving resource use in food production A plethora of LIFE Environment projects have been dedicated to helping food and beverage producers make better use of their resources and raw materials. The wine industry has been a particular focus, given its growing importance and geographic spread.

Photo: LIFE05 ENV/FIN/000539

Resource use in the food and beverage sector has improved with LIFE funding

One of the earliest LIFE projects to target wine production (LIFE99 ENV/E/000349) took place in the Rioja region of Spain. This high-profile demonstration project was developed by the Rioja Economic Development Agency (ADER), the Rioja Water Board and the regional government in order to develop an environmentally sustainable and economically viable model applicable to the entire wine production process. Key areas for resource efficient production that the project focused on included: measures to reduce the use of environmentally-harmful pesticides in vine cultivation; improved water treatment and use (including a pilot wastewater treatment plant); investigating the potential for re-using grape byproducts (e.g. pomace); and integrating wine production into sustainable urban and rural management. The most notable outcome of the project was the agree-



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION OF EUROPE’S FOOD AND DRINK As the European Food Sustainable Production and Consumption Round Table in January 2011 highlighted, food and drink industries have an important part to play in a science-based, coherent approach to sustainable consumption and production in the food sector, one that takes into account interactions across the whole food chain. The round table, co-chaired by the European Commission, set out the folPhoto: LIFE08 ENV/E/000143

lowing three key objectives: • To establish scientifically reliable and uniform environmental assessment methodologies for food and drinks; • To identify suitable tools and guidance for voluntary environmental communication to consumers and other stakeholders; and • To promote continuous environmental improvement measures along the

HAproWINE seeks to integrate waste management and Lifecycle Assessment tools into the wine industry

whole supply chain.

ment of the wine companies to fund the largest multi-winery effluent treatment plant in Europe, the Station District of Haro. The Rioja project found that better handling and storage would be required to make commercial re-use of wine byproducts, knowledge that was widely disseminated, including at Green Week 2000. The Greek DIONYSOS project (LIFE03 ENV/GR/000223) has drawn on this learning to successfully build a pilot plant for processing winery solid waste. The project was able to recover high added-value polyphenols (used in food supplements and cosmetics), use the slurry wastes and sludgy wastewater to produce high nutritional value

animal feed, and transform the remaining waste into natural organic fertiliser by composting. This LIFE Environment “Best of the Best” project for 20072008 has attracted much interest from wineries keen to improve the resource efficiency of their production processes and develop financial viable uses for their by-products. Two Greek wineries that did not participate in the project have already implemented its methods. Two ongoing LIFE projects are looking to build on these earlier success stories. The WINEC project in Cyprus (LIFE08 ENV/CY/000455) is developing an environmental management system (EMS) and wastewater treatment plant for

High nutritional value animal feed was produced from winery wastewater Photo: LIFE03 ENV/GR/000223


LIFE Focus

the Tsiakkas Winery in the west of the country. It is hoped that this will have an important demonstration effect, since many Cypriot wineries still spread their untreated effluent in fields, thereby polluting groundwater resources. Halting the decline of soil fertility and improving water quality are EU-level goals for reducing risks to future agricultural production and food security. Meanwhile, the HAproWINE project in Spain (LIFE08 ENV/E/000143) seeks to integrate waste management and Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) tools into the wine industry, including promoting the reuse of winery wastes and creating a certification scheme to help consumers make more environmentally-friendly choices. This lifecycle approach chimes with the goals of the European Food Sustainable Production and Consumption Round Table (see box). Improving resource efficiency through an LCA approach was also the goal of the ECOIL project (LIFE04 ENV/GR/000110) (see pages 21-25).

Showing the way to efficient production The EU produces around half of the world’s potato starch, a process that uses large amounts of water and energy. The LIFE New potatopro project (LIFE04 ENV/DK/000067) aimed to develop a novel energy efficient process for potato protein extraction on an industrial scale.



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: LIFE05 ENV/NL/000035


LIFE Focus

Reductions in energy and water use were achieved through a Closed-Loop Blanching method

This new process, designed by Danish beneficiary, Karup Kartoffelmelfabrik, would also made more efficient use of raw materials.

A second good demonstration of resource efficiency in the potato processing industry is provided by CLB (LIFE05 ENV/NL/000035), a Dutch LIFE project that developed an innovative new method of blanching chips (French fries). CLB stands for Closed-Loop Blanching, a method that is designed to avoid the negative environmental impacts – waste energy and water – and loss of potato solids (some 10-30%) of industry standard hot water blanching processes. The CLB project achieved significant savings

Results were impressive: by transforming fruit water to high-value protein, the starch factory was able to take steps towards producing fertiliser concentrate and biomass for energy production, as well as towards treating process water for reuse in the production process.

The new facility also removes 55-60% of the nitrogen load from the wastewater. The waste product, containing phosphorous and potassium, can then become a useful secondary raw material, as it is dried and sold as fertiliser sludge. The factory also now has a system for separating the potato proteins into fractions and is attempting to produce a new product with a low solanine content (the substance that turns potatoes green).

A closed-loop water treatment process was also the goal of another Dutch project targeting the dairy industry. LIFE ‘Dairy, No Water!” (LIFE03 ENV/NL/000488) achieved significant improvements in resource use in a cheese factory in Hogeveen by extracting whey water and reusing it as process water. Although the plant did not become totally self-sufficient

An innovative treatment process produced water efficiencies in a Dutch cheese factory Photo: LIFE03 ENV/NL/000488

The beneficiary’s new factory, co-funded by LIFE, features a more efficient heating and heat exchange system for the process, as well as better decanting and drying of the end product. These improvements have resulted in energy savings of some 60% and a 40% reduction in water consumption.

in raw materials, as well as reductions in energy and water use, transport and overall emissions.



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Reducing water consumption and associated impacts of wastewater treatment (such as sludge and odour emissions) was also the goal of the Spanish JELLY project (LIFE04 ENV/ES/000224), which applied the EU’s Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) guidelines to the manufacture of gelatine from pig skin. The improvements instigated by the JELLY project have cut the time needed for the whole process from 60 hours to 10 hours. Water savings are equivalent to the average consumption of a town with 6 000 inhabitants, with significant reductions in energy consumption, solid waste by-products and odour emissions. Final product quality is also higher because the gelatine is exposed to higher temperatures for less time. Other important achievements include an investment payback time of 3 years 3 months and the discovery that blood, proteins and fats contained in wash waters could be recovered and converted into valuable products made from these secondary raw materials. A new company – Proca Ingredients S.L. has been set up by the beneficiary and a project partner to exploit this opportunity.

Families who took part in the IDEAL 79 project reduced the amount of waste they produced by purchasing ecogoods and services

Photo: LIFE05 ENV/FIN/000539

in water, as planned, it did reduce water intake from 825 million to 275 million litres/yr, reduced wastewater by 255 million litres/yr and eliminated the use of groundwater. In addition, energy savings amounted to some 7.8 Kton of CO2.

Photo: LIFE05 ENV/F/000063


LIFE Focus

Best practice models and materials on waste prevention were tested in households in Helsinki

Tackling food waste It is not only food and beverage producers that LIFE has targeted, the programme has also played a leading role in the drive to avoid food waste among consumers. Wastage leads to more imports and exports of food, driving up commodity prices, increasing instances of ‘land grabbing’ of agricultural land in developing countries and putting more pressure on the environment. An estimated 179 kg/capita/yr of food is wasted by the food processing industry, wholesalers, caterers and households. A large part of this wastage could be avoided, especially at household level. The French IDEAL 79 project (LIFE05 ENV/ F/000063) and WASTEPrevKit in Finland (LIFE05 ENV/FIN/000539) are just two examples of pilot schemes that are helping to mainstream resource efficient food consumption practices. IDEAL 79 took practical steps to reduce waste in Deux Sèvres, distributing an eco-consumer’s guide to 160 000 homes in the department and providing incentives (e.g. price reduction vouchers) to switch to purchasing eco-products and services. Sales of eco-products in large supermarkets increased 19% as a result. Nine families who took part in a pilot scheme to reduce the amount

of waste they produced by purchasing eco-goods and services achieved an average reduction of 120 kg (34%) in 12 months. The LIFE project also helped reduce the average residual waste per inhabitant of Deux Sèvres by 9.9% in three years (from 314 kg per inhabitant in 2005 to 283 kg per inhabitant in 2008) as well as raising awareness of the need to conserve resources and reduce waste. The purpose of the WASTEPrevKit project was to work, test, disseminate and adopt best practice models and materials on waste prevention. It was expected that this would lead to a reduction in the amount of waste in the test area. The target groups were households, schools, day care centres, vocational institutions, public administrations and enterprises in the Helsinki Metropolitan area. Information campaigns were supported by a diverse range of project actions, including the development of teaching materials, the extension of an existing waste benchmarking service, and a two-year pilot waste reduction project involving households in the Viikki-Latokartano area of Helsinki. Results were positive (for instance, families taking part in the pilot scheme reduced mixed waste by 9% and biowaste by 22% on average) and are readily transferable.

55 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

LIFE aids agriculture to preserve resources Europe faces many challenges on the path to resource efficient agriculture and ecosystem services. The LIFE programme is helping to demonstrate ways of improving water efficiency, reducing soil erosion and mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, in line with EU policy goals.

ne of the main challenges that the EU faces is how to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) so that Europe continues to contribute to food production and to increasingly deliver environmental improvements, preserving soil fertility and other ecosystem services, avoiding deforestation and promoting rural areas and livelihoods. At present agriculture and food production are continuing to challenge environmental resources, sometimes creating disservices, even with the ongoing reform’s requirements for ‘cross-compliance’ (i.e. the requirement that farmers respect environmental, food safety, phytosanitary and animal welfare standards, in order to receive their direct payments). Hence more steps need to be taken towards sustainable agricultural practices that preserve and make an

1 Management practices in agriculture can create disservices such as nutrient run-off, sedimentation of water bodies, pesticides poisoning, soil erosion, water depletion, desertification and loss of habitats and biodiversity

efficient use of our resources, as foreseen with the CAP reform that is under preparation.

while guaranteeing the same or higher production levels, as the following examples illustrate.

The LIFE programme has led the way in demonstrating agri-techniques that have efficiently helped to preserve resources

Water efficient agriculture

2 See COM (2010) 672 final The CAP towards 2020: Meeting the food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future http:// do?uri=COM:2010:0672:FIN:en:PDF

Agriculture accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption and water scarcity issues have affected 17% of EU territory. The changing climate will further reduce the availability of water in the

The AGRICARBON project will demonstrate that conservation agriculture can reduce GHG emissions and adapt farming techniques to new climatic conditions Photo: Aixa Sopeña and LIFE08 ENV/E/000129


56 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

As the world’s forest resources are under threat from deforestation, fires and pests, the United Nations has declared 2011 the International Year of Forests (IYF). Through its LIFE programme the EU has supported and continues to support initiatives to preserve the resilience of forest resources. The Climforisk project (LIFE09 ENV/FI/000571) will map changes in future forest growth and carbon mitigation potential and changes in the susceptibility of forests to drought and selected biotic disturbance (pests/pathogens). The system will be used to develop maps and indicators that will support decision-making by public officials and forest managers. Forest biomass provides a carbon store and is important for mitigating climate change. The LIFE Bioenergy & Fire Prev. project (LIFE09 ENV/ES/000450) aims to develop new forest management tools and approaches to minimise the risk of forest fires by reducing the amount of ground-level waste biomass in forest areas. It will also evaluate the potential of biomass as a source of renewable energy and rural employment.

driest areas of Europe. The OPTIMIZAGUA project (LIFE03 ENV/E/000164) demonstrated efficient ways to reduce water consumption in irrigation cultures (cereals – wheat and maize – and grass)

The project demonstrated great results in terms of efficiency - 40% water savings compared with traditional irrigation systems (20 000 m3 in only 4 hectares).

the technical, hydraulic and administrative management of El Vicario’s ‘irrigation community’ and helped optimise the management of the entire river basin. Stakeholders (including farmers) were

by developing a prototype that combined traditional rainwater collection and storage systems with “smart irrigation” systems. Rainwater is used for irrigation, thus reducing the consumption of water from public supply networks, with the irrigation system adjusting the water intake according to the crop, soil type, weather conditions and availability of water. The prototypes are wind and solar powered, giving the project an energy efficient dimension as well.

Mediterranean countries use some 70% of their water for irrigation purposes and the average loss is high in an area already faced with issues of water scarcity. The Spanish gEa project focused on improving water efficiency for irrigation

trained to use the gEa system, which, in trials, saved some 1 087 000 litres when used on only two fields. This gives a good idea of the extent of water savings that could be achieved if the technology were to be used extensively.

in El Vicario (LIFE05 ENV/E/000313). It developed an automated online system for real-time reading of meters, control of water quality, regulation of water consumption and detection of leaks. This decision-support tool helped improve

Lack of information, insufficient expertise and scarcity of financial and human resources sometimes make it difficult for farmers to undertake actions or to find innovative technologies to reduce water

The OPTIMIZAGUA prototype achieved notable water efficiencies by combining combined rainwater collection and storage systems with “smart irrigation” Photo: LIFE03 ENV/E/000164


LIFE AND THE International Year of Forests (IYF)

57 LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

The terracing system developed by LIFE PRIORAT increases vegetation cover and thus a better drainage system for rainwater

use. The AQUA (LIFE09 ENV/IT/000075) project aims to work with stakeholders from agriculture and agri-industry to produce and disseminate a “Water Saving Kit” that will demonstrate how to anticipate environmental threats such as water scarcity, as well as to respond to eventual emergencies, such as subsidence and droughts, based on a ‘cradle to cradle’ approach. Mountain viticulture can lead to water exploitation and soil erosion. To address

these problems, the PRIORAT project (LIFE05 ENV/E/000330) developed a “Mountain Viticulture Sustainable Management System” which introduces a terracing system that - aside from improving landscape conservation and the organic content of soils - allows vegetation cover to be increased by 80%. The increased vegetation produces a better drainage system for rainwater, which in turn significantly reduces soil erosion. Furthermore, subsurface drip irrigation systems were installed that cut

water consumption by 85%. The project methodology allowed for a higher level of productivity and economic benefits also derived from reduced water, energy and chemical consumption.

Soil erosion

Photo: LIFE00 ENV/E/000547 and Audrey Thénard

Conservation agriculture techniques such as vegetation cover improved soil quality in the Doñana National Park

Conventional agricultural techniques can lead to soil erosion, water pollution, loss of biodiversity and reduced carbon sequestration. Some 18% of EU territory is affected by soil erosion, which is particularly severe in the Mediterranean because of the prevalence of steep slopes, dry periods followed by high precipitation and conservative farming practices. The ALMOND PRO-SOIL project (LIFE05 ENV/E/000288) demonstrated the benefits of cultivating almond trees to prevent desertification, soil erosion and the abandonment of land in rural areas. The project increased soil fertility and biodiversity (via enhanced organic matter content and microbial activity), reducing erosion and improving the soil’s physical structure, stability and water holding capacity. Another Spanish project, DOÑANA SOSTENIBLE (LIFE00 ENV/E/000547), tackled the problem of soil erosion on 33 pilot farms covering 318.9 ha by applying conservation agriculture techniques such as vegetation cover to improve soil



Photo: LIFE05 ENV/E/000330

LIFE Focus



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

protection and diminish soil erosion and the run-off of water and fertilisers. The result was an improved conservation status of the Guadiamar River. In the UK, the Sowap project (LIFE03 ENV/UK/000617) replaced ploughing with zero-till or non-inversion tillage to reduce soil erosion and enable cover crops during winter that improved soil structure and enhanced soil biodiversity. The results reduced run-off by as much as 90%, particularly during heavy rainfall, and cut soil erosion by 95% on light sandy soils. Soil function was also improved, as shown by higher soil carbon, nitrogen and moisture together with increased invertebrate biodiversity.

Climate change The agricultural sector’s potential to mitigate, adapt to and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions needs to be developed to meet the EU energy and

Photo: LIFE05 ENV/E/000288

A Spanish project demonstrated how cultivating almond trees could prevent desertification and soil erosion

climate agenda. LIFE projects are showing what can be achieved by improving

age the agro-forestry sector in Galicia (Spain) to become involved in activities

energy efficiency, biomass and renewable energy production, and the protection of carbon in soils.

that support adaptation and mitigation measures. The project aims to promote the use of renewable energies and biofuels, recycling, the establishment of energy efficiency measures, a shift to organic farming and the use of climateadapted crops, as well as encouraging farmers to adopt sustainable management alternatives.

The Changing the Climate project (LIFE07 INF/E/000852) aims to encour-


The Acciòn Agroclimatica project (LIFE09 ENV/ES/000441) will develop tools for carrying out energy and GHG audits on farms, and for identifying the most suitable crops and best practices for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Ultimately it aims to develop a diagnostic software for energy balances and GHG emissions and demonstrate general practices for each farming sector to reduce energy use and GHG emissions by 10% to 40%.

Agriculture has a major influence on the Natura 2000 network and its surroundings. Intensive farming techniques and bad agricultural management can produce pressures on the conservation status of habitats and species, whereas other forms of agriculture can be essential to managing extensive areas of valuable habitat. Reforms of the CAP and the Rural Development Regulation (2007–2013) have introduced policy tools and measures that have improved the integration of biodiversity considerations into farming and forestry practices across the EU. New rural development measures under Pillar II have also supported farming and forestry activities that are beneficial for wildlife. The CAP reform, foresees that, in the future, environmental measures should be tailor made to fulfil the needs of regions and local areas such as Natura 2000 and high-nature-value (HNV) farms and the functions of intensive and extensive farming practices will have to be revised. Photo: Gabriella Camarsa and LIFE04 ENV/ES/000269


LIFE Focus

CO2 emissions in farming come mainly from ploughing, which causes soil carbon loss. The LIFE+AGRICARBON project (LIFE08 ENV/E/000129) encourages the uptake of conservation agriculture (CA) techniques that can reduce GHG emissions and the adaptation of farming techniques to new climatic conditions resulting from global warming. Through the sink effect of CA, the project aims to fix an additional 0.601.50 tonnes of CO 2/ha/yr on farms, a 20% reduction in CO 2 emissions. In addition to reducing energy consumption, the project also aims to quantifiably improve soil quality.



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: José Fernando Robles


LIFE Focus

Conservation agriculture reduces soil erosion in Andalusian wetlands The Spanish Humedales Sostenibles (‘Sustainable Wetlands’) project showed how LIFE can contribute to the conservation and efficient use of natural resources, taking into account the needs for landscape preservation, flood protection, carbon storage, good water quality and control and protection of biodiversity.


ndalusia has a rich and diverse natural heritage, especially in terms of wetland habitats: some 17% of Spanish of Spanish wetlands are located in the region. These dynamic ecosystems are also fragile and can be negatively impacted by soil erosion caused by the intensive agricultural practices typically used in the Mediterranean. Such practices can increase soil loss and reduce the fertility and ability of soil to absorb CO 2, leading to the loss of water content in the soil, nutrient run-off and loss of biodiversity.

The aim of the LIFE ‘Sustainable Wetlands’ project (LIFE04 ENV/ES/000269) was to demonstrate the application of agricultural practices that used resources such as soil and water efficiently in order to improve the conservation status of Andalusian wetlands, whilst increasing awareness amongst farmers of the importance of Natura 2000 sites. “We wanted to demonstrate the decisive role that agriculture can play in protecting our natural resources and in providing us with important ecosystem services,” explains project manager José Fernando Robles.

The LIFE project involved 33 farmers in a pilot scheme showing how conservation agriculture (CA) techniques can drastically reduce soil erosion in the catchment areas of the wetlands. A Geographical Information System (GIS) was used to select the areas for the trial and to help farmers choose the best soil management systems and crop rotations in accordance with the physical characteristics of their farms. Demonstration plots covering 60 ha were established in the surroundings of wetlands in Utrera, Osuna-Lantejuela, Gosque and



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Lebrija-Las Cabezas. There, with training and guidance from the Technical Office for the Promotion of Conservation Agriculture, the farmers tested techniques including minimum or no tillage, the maintenance of harvest residues on soil surface, direct sowing and vegetation cover for arboreal crops. In addition, the project produced a guide to CA techniques that was disseminated to Andalusia’s agricultural community.

Conservation Agriculture in action Farms located in Lebrija have clay soils that are significantly exposed to soil erosion. The run-off of soils has heav-

ily impacted the area’s wetlands causing siltation. “Our land suffers from soil erosion and I was very interested in learning techniques for optimum soil management,” says Juan Cortines, a local farmer who participated in the LIFE project. “Soil is one of the primary resources that allows us to produce in the long run. Without it we would have no agriculture in this area.”

From the farmer’s point of view, production levels are what matters most. Mr. Cortines, who eliminated soil tillage and applied direct sowing on his demonstration plot of 6 ha of sunflowers, is pleased to note that “over the three years during which I applied the techniques, the production levels remained the same and in some cases they increased.” The farmland of Osuna also suffers from soil erosion. Here, another local farmer, Pedro Baena, applied CA techniques on 25 ha of olive groves and wheat fields. “Before introducing the techniques suggested by the project, the land would lose up to 4 cm/ha when it rained,” says Mr Baena. “That is equivalent to 400 tonnes/ha/yr that will never be recovered.” This soil erosion also caused silta-

One of the most important tasks, believes project technician Emilio Cuberos, was to train farmers how to produce in compliance with the Natura 2000 network and make them understand the importance and value that wetlands represent in terms of biodiversity.

Osuna’s farmland would lose up to 400 tonnes/ha/yr of soil through precipitation Photo: José Fernando Robles


LIFE Focus

tion and sedimentation of the neighbouring wetlands. To reduce the soil erosion in his olive groves, Mr Baena added vegetation cover. According to Emilio González, General Secretary of the European Conservation Agriculture Federation (ECAF – a project partner), “This produces the effect of filtering water more rapidly so that it does not remain on the surface, thus reducing run-off and siltation. Furthermore, the vegetation impedes the loss of water.”

Preserving resources and enhancing biodiversity The project’s technical team monitored each of the demonstration plots and compared them with plots where conventional soil management techniques were continuing to be applied. The results in terms of soil erosion were impressive. For example in the wetland area of Laguna del Gosque, soil erosion decreased by 1 022 tonnes/yr for olive groves, by 1 489 tonnes/yr for corn/cotton crops and by 1 811 tonnes/yr for wheat/sunflower crops in comparison with soil losses uses conventional farming techniques. Other benefits noted during monitoring included a reduction in run-off and an increase in the hydric content of the soil where direct sowing was employed. By avoiding tillage and, by maintaining harvest residues on the surface, the



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Photo: Gabriella Camarsa


LIFE Focus

Project manager José Fernando Robles explains how soil erosion has caused the siltation and sedimentation of neighbouring wetlands

organic content and fertility of the soil was increased, while the carbon content in the soil was found to have increased by 1 tonne/yr. The decrease in soil erosion was reflected in less siltation of the wetlands, where a significant increase in biodiversity was also observed. Organic matter in the soil is the main food source for microorganisms, which thus benefits all other organisms in the trophic chain (insects, mammals, birds, e.g. flamingos, etc). The increase in vegetation cover on some of the demonstration plots also meant more hiding and nesting places for fauna, as well as more food, thus enhancing the biodiversity of the area.

Green skills and economic benefits The techniques applied by the project were shown to reduce production costs significantly (since no machinery was required to till the soil). “We have calculated that the savings are between 40 and 60 euros per hectare per year for annual crops in southern Europe,” says Mr. Robles. This compensates for the investment in machinery for direct sowing. The LIFE funded project was also a clear demonstration of how green skills in the agricultural sector can be created, as

it requires greater professional skills to apply the soil conservation techniques correctly. “More than half of the 33 farmers are still applying the techniques today. Some have not been able to invest in the direct sowing machinery, however, more simple techniques are being applied in the area and this is creating interest amongst the farming community of Andalusia even four years after the project has ended,” notes Mr Robles proudly.

countries of the Mediterranean, but throughout the EU. The uptake of sustainable practices that make efficient use of our natural resources by farming communities will provide European citizens with quality, value and diversity of food and ensure the long-term future of EU agriculture and rural areas.

Achieving further resource efficiencies Ultimately the project has demonstrated how CA techniques can be applied to make more efficient use of resources (mostly soil and water), avoiding the deterioration and sedimentation of protected wetlands whilst preserving biodiversity and enhancing production. “The project will facilitate the adaptation of farms to the new context established by the Natura 2000 Network and the future CAP reform,” says Mr. Robles. “It has demonstrated how CA techniques can be easily adopted to preserve our natural resources, which are the basis of thriving agro-ecosystems.”

SPAIN Project number: LIFE04 ENV/ES/000269 Title: Humedales Sostenibles - Integrated management of agriculture in the surroundings of community importance wetlands (sustainable wetlands) Beneficiary: Asociación Agraria Jóvenes Agricultores de Sevilla (ASAJA-Sevilla) Contact: José Fernando Robles del Salto Email: Website: Period: Oct-2004 to Oct-2007 Total budget: e1 087 000

Such techniques are in the midst of a phase of expansion, not only in all the

LIFE contribution: e541 000

62 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

LIFE shows the environmental benefits of GPP One way of favourably influencing Europe’s unsustainable use of its natural resources is to encourage one of its largest consumers, public authorities, to adopt common green criteria for purchasing such goods as computers, stationery (paper), vehicles and furniture as well as fuel, food and electricity.

ublic authorities have great purchasing power – spending around 17% of the EU’s gross domestic product – and their choices about the goods and services they purchase not only have a significant impact on the environment directly, but also greatly influence the market for those goods and services by boosting green businesses. As a result, greening the performance of public authorities – or Green Public Procurement (GPP) as it has come to be known – is an area that has received much attention from legislators and policymakers in the EU. For GPP to become more widespread, clear and verifiable environmental criteria for products and services must be established that are compatible between Member States. A level playing field will boost the single market, reduce the impact of goods and services on the environment and lead to a more efficient use of resources. To date, the Commission has developed EU GPP criteria for 18 product and serv-

The role of LIFE

ice groups, and also adopted a new procedure for the development of GPP criteria in 2010. The aim is to make the process more transparent and participatory and enhance synergies among

LIFE projects have aimed to raise awareness of GPP and promote the use of GPP criteria by establishing regional networks and developing and implementing tools for joint procurement practice. For example, the Italian GPPnet project (LIFE02 ENV/IT/000023)

the various eco-innovation labels that are already in place. Criteria help public authorities choose the best environmental products on the market whilst minimising verification requirements and costs. In the future, the way forward may be to put in place mandatory Green Public Procurement to support targeted areas of innovative, resource efficient goods. This approach could remove barriers to innovation, such as when public procurement of water delivery services gives preference to well-tested solutions, rather than resource efficient ones. A forthcoming Communication from the European Commission’s DirectorateGeneral for the Environment (DG ENV) will point to the scope for procurement to drive innovations that can improve resource efficiency.

The GGPnet project produced a 300-page handbook for public administrations

Photo: LIFE02 ENV/IT/000023


63 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

expertise and competence in the use of green technologies – as a specific barrier to innovation. Green skills are needed to develop new technologies, more resource efficient processes and new working methods. EU 2020 initiatives, such as “Youth on the Move”, and “Green Skills” will be addressing these

The GPPnet project trained staff in charge of public purchasing to identify products and services with lower environmental impacts, and to introduce environmental criteria into purchasing procedures, widely disseminating the concept of resource efficiency through GPP in so doing. To facilitate the training process, the project produced a 300-page handbook that contained a step-by-step outline of how environmental criteria can be introduced into a public administration’s purchasing procedures, including ways of elimi-

The Province of Cremona is continuing its GPP activities after the end of the LIFE project. The legacy of the GPPnet project is evident in other regions too. A National Working Group on GPP, based on the experiences of the project, was established in Bologna in 2005. The body is spreading the good procedures determined during the project to local and regional authorities throughout Italy. In line with the Commission’s emphasis on common criteria for GPP, the group of tools for assisting GPP implementation developed by the LIFE LEAP project (LIFE03 ENV/UK/000613) are transferable across Europe. In fact, 11 local authorities in five Member States were partners in the project. Launched at the EcoProcura conference in Barcelona in 2006, the LEAP Toolkit consists of eight tools for implementing GPP. The tools outline a five-step implementation process, give examples of good practice, set out standard specifications for key products, and detail evaluation priorities and the promotion of a green market. Most importantly in terms of resource efficiency, the criteria developed by the project could be used as a

projects have shown that providing green skills benefits job creation. For example, the Spanish ELVES project (LIFE05 ENV/E/000317) created 11 permanent positions for trained staff involved in the separation of metal alloys from end-of-life vehicle engines. The green skills employed in this process are having a significant environmental impact in terms of waste reduction and recycling of materials, since the alloys are reused in new engines for the automotive sector.

Photo: LIFE05 ENV/E/000317

nating administrative burdens that may impede the adoption of GPP. The guidelines contained in this handbook, which were used for calls for tender during the project, demonstrate EU policy in action and could be used as examples for future common GPP guidelines.

issues, but further action specific to resources may also need to be taken. LIFE

basis for a future mandatory implementation of GPP. Moreover, the project produced a tool for testing joint procurement approaches to overcoming market barriers for green purchasing in Europe. Such a tool will help meet the policy objectives highlighted in the EU’s 6th Environment Action Programme. Lack of information remains an obstacle to further take-up of GPP. The ongoing GPPinfoNET project (LIFE07 INF/IT/000410), is demonstrating ways of tackling this problem in Italy, and with the potential to be transferable to the EU as a whole. By the end of the project, it aims to have ensured that at least 30% of local authorities that have joined regional networks will have published green tenders and implemented actions that favour the adoption of GPP within their administrations: just one example of how LIFE is furthering the goal of resource efficiency by encouraging the widespread adoption of GPP.

To monitor the success of this project and other initiatives, the Commission has proposed two types of indicator: quantitative indicators to assess the progress of the policy and its impact on the supply side; and impact-oriented indicators allowing assessment of the environmental and financial gains made. A 2009 study tested this methodology. Further evaluation will take place in 2011, and statistical data will serve as the basis for setting future targets for GPP implementation. The figures are impressive. A saving of the equivalent of 60 million tonnes of CO2 is achievable if all public authorities across the EU demanded green electricity (equivalent to the emissions of 6.5 million Europeans). The Commission estimates that environmental building construction could lead to a similar result. Large CO 2 reductions can also be achieved through the use of energyefficient computers, and greater water use efficiency could result in considerable savings.


GREEN SKILLS The European Commission identifies the lack of ‘green skills’ – i.e.

created a network of politicians and executives in the Province of Cremona to spread awareness of the potential of GPP at all administrative levels.

64 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Project list The table below provides the complete list of LIFE projects on resource efficiency mentioned in this publication. For more information on individual projects, visit the online database at:

Project Reference




LIFE04 ENV/IT/000583


Sustainable water management in the textile wet industry through an innovative treatment process for wastewater re-use


LIFE05 ENV/IT/000846


Best Available Technique for water reuse in TextiLE SMEs


LIFE05 ENV/E/000285


Alternatives for waste volume reduction in the textile sector through the application of minimisation measures in the process and in the consumption


LIFE02 ENV/E/000216


Development of a new salt water purification system in the tanning sector for reuse


LIFE04 ENV/IT/000414


New Eco Spray System


LIFE00 ENV/IT/000184


Integrated Environmental Management in the tannery district of Chiampo Valley (Italy)


Production processes

LIFE08 ENV/E/000140


Environmentally friendly oxazolidine-tanned leather


LIFE05 TCY/GA/000115


Environmental action for the sustainability of natural resources through recycling of water and sludge frm marble production


LIFE02 ENV/UK/000140


Integrated Water Management in former coal mining regions


LIFE05 ENV/E/000317


Development of a system for high-quality separation of metal alloys from end-of-life-vehicle engines and its reuse in new engines and components for automotive sector


LIFE05 ENV/D/000185


Demonstration of environmentally friendly aluminium engine block Core Package casting (CPS) using an inorganic binder


LIFE04 ENV/IT/000598


New ESD (eco-sustainable drawing) system, environment-friendly to process steel wire rods / by-products, eliminating the current pickling practice and the related chemical fumes possessing a high environmental impact substituting the ...


LIFE06 ENV/NL/000176

Green Bearings

Demonstrating innovative technologies that significantly improve the environmental performance of bearings


LIFE06 ENV/IT/000332


Minimising the Environmental impact of GLASS recycling and glass container production


LIFE07 ENV/IT/000361


No Vetro in Discarica (No glass in landfill): demonstrating innovative technologies for integral recovery of glass rejects actually landfilled


LIFE08 ENV/IT/000421


Valorisation of incentration residues


Eco-products and eco-design

LIFE04 ENV/IT/000589


New clean technology for the decoration of all kinds of ceramic surfaces, whether flat or textured, with a minimal use of raw noble materials


LIFE02 ENV/IT/000052


A new dry process of microfinishing of gres porcelain and natural stone surfaces, which will substitute the stage of smoothing/ polishing, drastically decreasing the environmental impact of this stage, to aim for a sustainable development


LIFE05 ENV/E/000301


Ecological ceramics optimization. Alternative to sludge disposal


LIFE07 ENV/SLO/000710


Resource efficient, Universal Window Sash


LIFE08 ENV/F/000481


Cleaning Industry Sustainable Development Programme


LIFE03 ENV/A/000002


Development and successful market penetration of HFC-free and eco-efficient cold appliances for the commercial use


Best projects

“Best of the Best� projects



LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Project Reference



LIFE05 ENV/DK/000156


Development and demonstration of a prototype transcritical CO2 refrigeration system


LIFE00 ENV/IT/000213


Development of a clean coating technology pvd for decorative applications on metal components in place of the traditional (galvanic) coating technologies


LIFE05 ENV/F/000062


Clean alternative technology to chemical milling: demonstration of technical, environmental and economic performance of mechanical milling for the machining of complex shaped panels used in the aeronautical and space industries - GAP (Green Advanced Panels) project


LIFE03 ENV/E/000106


Integrated reusable plastic crates and pallets, eliminating package waste, for sustainable distribution of everyday commodities in Europe.


LIFE99 ENV/IT/000034

Use and … re-use

Use and ... reuse. The “processing centre” in the logistics of packaging of fresh fruit and vegetable products


LIFE09 ENV/ES/000454


Utilisation of recovered wood and rubber for alternative composite products


New raw materials from agri-food and industrial wastes: sugar paper, orange paper, smog paper


LIFE95 ENV/IT/000393


LIFE03 ENV/GR/000204


Introduction and Promotion of the ECO-LABEL to the greek textile industry


LIFE08 ENV/E/000147


Promotion of Environmental Legislation among European Footwear Industries


LIFE09 ENV/LU/000390

ECO2 Tyre Tech

Development and validation of ecologically sustainable tyres through lifecycle enhancing technologies


LIFE00 ENV/F/000593


Eco Design Interactive Tools


LIFE06 ENV/L/000118


Development and validation of ultra low rolling resistance tyre with environmentally friendly resources

LIFE02 ENV/S/000351


Eco-Efficiency evaluation of new and existing products (DANTES)


LIFE00 ENV/NL/000808


Demonstration and dissmeination project for stimulating architects and local governments to build sustainable with help of innovative design tools


LIFE08 ENV/E/000135


Fenix-Finding regional environmental lifecycle information on packaging waste management through flexible software tools and databases



Environmental certification of water resource distributed by waterworks systems.  



Dissemination of IPP tools in the furniture industry



Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as a decision support tool (DST) for the eco-production of olive oil.



Introduction and Implementation of Life Cycle Assessment Methodology in Estonia: Effects of Oil Shale Electricity on the Environmental Performance of Products


LIFE00 ENV/FIN/000656

Rural LIFE Design

Eco-design and marketing model for rural products and services


LIFE04 ENV/GR/000138


Integrated Product Policy in the Telecommunication Sector



Recovery of Solar Valuable Materials, Enrichment and Decontamination



Electric and electronic eco-assembly alternatives for the valorisation of the end-of-life products in the recycling market



Airbus Corporate Answer to Disseminate integrated Environmental Management System


Process for Advanced Management of End of Life of Aircraft


Lifecycle thinking

LIFE03 ENV/IT/000333 LIFE04 ENV/IT/000588 LIFE04 ENV/GR/000110

LIFE03 ENV/EE/000194

LIFE04 ENV/DE/000047

LIFE07 ENV/P/000639

LIFE04 ENV/FR/000353 LIFE05 ENV/F/000059 Best projects

“Best of the Best” projects

26-28 28


LIFE Focus



LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Project Reference




Water efficiency

LIFE00 ENV/EE/000922


Demonstration Activities for the Reduction of Water Losses and Preservation of Water Quality in Over-dimensioned Water Distribution Network in Rakvere Town, Estonia


LIFE09 ENV/IT/000136


Pump And Leakage Management


LIFE07 ENV/IT/000475


Tool for regional - scale assessment of groundwater storage improvement in adaptation to climate change (TRUST)


LIFE03 ENV/NL/000467


The Vertical Flow Reed Bed at Leidsche Rijn. A natural way to filter urban water


LIFE98 ENV/D/000509

Reuse filter backwashwater

Reuse of filter backwashwater from groundwater treatment for drinking water purposes with a submerged membrane system


LIFE07 INF/UK/000950


Eco-Animation: a cutting edge cartoon to raise awareness on climate change and sustainable use of natural resources among European children


LIFE96 ENV/E/000509


Zaragoza: water saving city. Small steps, big solutions


LIFE03 ENV/E/000164


Demonstration of water saving for watering uses through the experimentation of artificial


LIFE00 ENV/NL/000790

Maastricht Water

Demonstration of integrated total water management for a cluster of 8 industries, implementing a centralised water supply and a semi collective WWTS and resulting in substantial ground water and energy savings


LIFE02 ENV/E/000183


Durable Regions On Peripheal Areas for Water Reduction


LIFE02 ENV/E/000210


Tools of self-management for water irrigable in the overused hydric systems


Sustainable transport

LIFE02 ENV/GR/000359


IMprovement of Urban Environment Quality of Air and Noise Levels by an Integrated, Cost Effective and MUlti-Level Application of Clean Vehicle Technologies


LIFE06 ENV/D/000477


Particulates, Freight and heavy duty vehicles in Urban Environments


LIFE07 ENV/IT/000434


Methane and Hydrogen blend for public city transport bus: technical demonstrative application and strategic policy measures


LIFE02 ENV/E/000253


Collecting used cooking oils to their recycling as biofuel for diesel engines


LIFE05 ENV/P/000369


Integrated Waste Management System for the Reuse of Used Frying Oils to Produce Biodiesel for Municipality Fleet of Oeiras


LIFE08 ENV/IT/000425


Under the Etruscan sun - Environmental friendly Transport to RedUce Severe Climate change ANthropic factors


LIFE03 ENV/IT/000319


Smart and Innovative Demonstration of Demand Handy Responsive Transport Application to improve the quality of the urban environment


LIFE05 ENV/E/000262


Integral mobility management in industrial estates and areas


LIFE03 ENV/NL/000474

LNG Tanker

Demonstrating the effective and safe use of liquid natural gas as fuel for ship engines for short-sea shipping and inland waterway transport


LIFE06 ENV/D/000479


Demonstration of an innovative wind propulsion technology for cargo vessels


LIFE06 ENV/D/000465




LIFE02 ENV/UK/000136


Clean Accessible Transport for Community Health


LIFE02 ENV/IT/000106


The Green Ray of Novara


Energy efficient buildings

LIFE04 ENV/GR/000137

Best projects


“Best of the Best” projects

Enhancing transferability of innovative techniques, tools, methods and mechanisms to implement “sustainable building” in the Mediterranean region




LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Project Reference




LIFE00 ENV/NL/000808


Demonstration and dissemination project for stimulating architects and local governments to build sustainable with help of innovative design tools


LIFE05 ENV/GR/000235


Sustainable Construction in Public and Private Works through IPP approach


LIFE00 ENV/A/000243


S-House: innovative use of renewable resources demonstrated by means of an office and exhibition building


LIFE06 ENV/D/000471


Environmentally Friendly Facade Elements made of thermal insulated Textile Reinforced Concrete


LIFE04 ENV/FR/000321


Eco-design and eco-engineering of buildings, amenities and accommodations in campsites


LIFE02 ENV/A/000285


Multifunctional company and administration building with logistics and cultural centre in passive house standard in sustainable timber construction


LIFE07 ENV/E/000805


Efficient Development of Eco-Architecture: Methods and Technologies for Public Social Housing Building in Extremadura


LIFE08 ENV/A/000216


Demonstration and Dissemination of Climate and Environmental Friendly Renovation and Building with Renewable Resources and Ecological Materials


LIFE06 ENV/L/000121


Energy Efficient Building Systems


Fish and marine resources

LIFE07 ENV/D/000229


Ecological Certification of Products from Sustainable Marine Aquaculture


LIFE07 ENV/UK/000943


Partnerships Involving Stakeholders in the Celtic sea Eco-System


LIFE07 ENV/E/000814


Integral management model of recovery and recycling of the proper solid waste from the fishing and port activities


LIFE05 NAT/LV/000100

Baltic MPAs

Marine protected areas in the Eastern Baltic Sea


LIFE06 NAT/IT/000050


Urgent conservation measures for biodiversity of Central Mediterranean Sea


LIFE98 NAT/P/005275

Zonas costeiras/Açores

Integrated management of coastal and marine zones in the Azores


LIFE05 ENV/E/000267


Benign and environmentally friendly fish processing practices to provide added value and innovative solutions for a responsible and sustainable management of fisheries


LIFE08 ENV/E/000119


Integral networking of fishing actors to organize a responsible optimal and sustainable exploitation of marine resources


Land use and planning

LIFE02 ENV/FIN/000331


The Eco-Efficiency of Regions - Case Kymenlaakso


LIFE02 ENV/FIN/000319 LIFE02 ENV/S/000355

Green Valley

Operation model of environmental management in Salo region


Coastal Woodlands

Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Woodlands by the Baltic Sea


LIFE04 ENV/FI/000304


Integration of spatial environmental information across different themes, scales, resolutions and uses : added value of facilitating mechanisms


LIFE02 ENV/E/000176


Information, Competitiveness and Sustainability in Urban System


LIFE02 ENV/E/000200


Demonstration project on land use and environmental management of the physical planning in Gallecs as a biological and stable connector in the fringe space of Barcelona metropolitan area  


Food and beverage

LIFE99 ENV/E/000349

Best projects

“Best of the Best” projects

Business, environment and wine: from the winegrape to the bottle. Vertical integration of the environment in the wine production process and horizontal optimization of resources



LIFE Focus



LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Project Reference




LIFE03 ENV/GR/000223


Development of an economically viable process for the integrated management via utilization of winemaking industry waste; production of high added value natural products and organic fertilizer


LIFE08 ENV/CY/000455


Advanced systems for the enhancement of the environmental performance of WINEries in Cyprus


LIFE08 ENV/E/000143


Integrated waste management and life cycle assessment in the wine industry: From waste to high-value products


LIFE04 ENV/GR/000110


Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as a decision support tool (DST) for the eco-production of olive oil


LIFE04 ENV/DK/000067

New potatopro

Novel energy efficient process for potato protein extraction


LIFE05 ENV/NL/000035


Demonstration of a closed loop blanching system for the potato processing industry


LIFE03 ENV/NL/000488

Dairy, No Water!

A dairy industry which is self-supporting in water


LIFE04 ENV/ES/000224


Demonstration project for gelatine production with use of innovative technology achieving an important washing wastewater reduction


LIFE05 ENV/F/000063


Sustainable Initiatives and Local Alternatives towards waste prevention


LIFE05 ENV/FIN/000539


Waste Prevention Kit for enterprises, education and households


LIFE09 ENV/FI/000571


Climate change induced drought effects on forest growth and vulnerability


LIFE09 ENV/ES/000450

Bioenergy & Fire Prev.

Contribution of forest biomass generated in the prevention of forest fires in the EU energy strategy


LIFE03 ENV/E/000164


Demonstration of water saving for watering uses through the experimentation of artificial


LIFE05 ENV/E/000313


Excellence in irrigation water management


LIFE09 ENV/IT/000075


Adoption of Quality water Use in Agro-industry sector


LIFE05 ENV/E/000330


Making compatible mountain viticulture development with European Landscape Convention objectives


LIFE05 ENV/E/000288


Soil protection in Mediterraanean areas with increased soil erosion rate through cultivation of new


LIFE00 ENV/E/000547


Design and Application of a Sustainable Soil Management Model for Orchard Crops in the Doñana National Park Area


LIFE03 ENV/UK/000617


Soil and Surface water protection using conservation tillage in northern and central europe


LIFE07 INF/E/000852

Changing the Climate

LIFE+campaign ‘Changing the change’. The Galician agriculture and forest sector facing climate change.


LIFE09 ENV/ES/000441

Acción Agroclimática

Combating climate change through farming: application of a common evaluation system in the 4 largest agricultural economies of the EU


LIFE08 ENV/E/000129


Sustainable agriculture in Carbon arithmetics


LIFE04 ENV/ES/000269

Humedales Sostenibles

Integrated management of agriculture in the surroundings of community importance wetlands

Agriculture and ecosystem services


Green Public Procurement and Green Skills

LIFE02 ENV/IT/000023


Green Public Procurement Network


LIFE03 ENV/UK/000613


Local Authority EMAS and Procurement


LIFE07 INF/IT/000410


GPPinfoNET The Green Public Procurement Information Network


LIFE05 ENV/E/000317


Development of a system for high-quality separation of metal alloys from end-of-life-vehicle engines and its reuse in new engines and components for automotive sector


Best projects

“Best of the Best” projects

69 LIFE Focus


LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

Available LIFE Environment publications LIFE-Focus brochures LIFE and local authorities: Helping regions and municipalities tackle environmental challenges (2010 - 60 pp. - ISBN 978-92-79-18643-1 - ISSN 1725-5619) Water for life - LIFE for water: Protecting Europe’s water resources (2010 - 68 pp. - ISBN 978-92-79-15238-2 - ISSN 1725-5619) LIFE among the olives: Good practice in improving environmental performance in the olive oil sector (2010 - 56 pp. - ISBN 978-92-79-14154-6 - ISSN 1725-5619) Getting more from less: LIFE and sustainable production in the EU (2009 - 40pp. - ISBN 978-92-79-12231-6 - ISSN 1725-5619) Breathing LIFE into greener businesses: Demonstrating innovative approaches to improving the environmental performance of European businesses (2008 - 60pp. - ISBN 978-92-79-10656-9 - ISSN 1725-5619) LIFE on the farm: Supporting environmentally sustainable agriculture in Europe (2008 - 60 pp. - 978-92-79-08976-3 - ISSN 1725-5619) LIFE and waste recycling: Innovative waste management options in Europe (2007 - 60 pp. - ISBN 978-92-79-07397-7 - ISSN 1725-5619)

LIFE and Energy: Innovative solutions for sustainable and efficient energy in Europe (2007 – 64pp. ISBN 978 92-79-04969-9 ISSN 1725-5619) LIFE-Third Countries 1992-2006 (2007, 64 pp. – ISBN 978-92-79-05694-9 – ISSN 1725-5619) LIFE in the City: Innovative solutions for Europe’s urban environment (2006, 64pp. - ISBN 92-79-02254-7 – ISSN 1725-5619) The air we breathe: LIFE and the European Union clean air policy (2004 - 32 pp. – ISBN 92-894-7899-3 – ISSN 1725-5619) A cleaner, greener Europe - LIFE and the European Union waste policy (2004 - 28 pp. – ISBN 92-894-6018-0 – ISSN 1725-5619)

A number of LIFE publications are available on the LIFE website: life/publications/lifepublications/ index.htm A number of printed copies of certain LIFE publications are available and can be ordered freeof-charge at: life/publications/order.htm

Other publications Best LIFE Environment projects 2009 (2010, 32pp.-ISBN 978-92-79-16432-3 ISSN 1725-5619) Environment Policy & Governance Projects 2009 compilation (2010, 125pp. – ISBN 978-92-79-13884-3) Information & Communications Proj­ects 2009 compilation (2010, 14pp. – ISBN 978-92-79-16138-4) Nature & Biodiversity Projects 2009 compilation (2010, 91pp. – ISBN 978-9279-16139-1) Environment Policy & Governance Projects 2008 compilation (2009, 107pp. – ISBN 978-92-79-13424-1) Information & Communications Projects 2008 compilation (2009, 21pp. – ISBN 978-92-79-13425-8) Nature & Biodiversity Projects 2008 compilation (2009, 87pp. – ISBN 978-9279-13426-5) Best LIFE Environment projects 20082009 (2009, 32pp.-ISBN 978-92-79-13109-7 ISSN 1725-5619) Environment Policy & Governance and Information & Communications Projects 2007 compilation (2009, 92 pp.-ISBN 97892-79-12256-9)


“L’Instrument Financier pour l’Environnement” / The financial instrument for the environment

Period covered (LIFE+) 2007-2013. EU funding available approximately EUR 2 143 million Type of intervention at least 78% of the budget is for co-financing actions in favour of the environment (LIFE+ projects) in the Member States of the European Union and in certain non-EU countries.

LIFE+ projects

Further information

further information on LIFE and LIFE+ is available at

How to apply for LIFE+ funding

The European Commission organises annual calls for proposals. Full details are available at


European Commission – Directorate-General for the Environment LIFE Unit – BU-9 02/1 – B-1049 Brussels – Internet:

LIFE and Resource Efficiency: Decoupling Growth from Resource Use Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union 2011 - 72p - 21 x 29.7 cm ISBN 978-92-79-19764-2 ISSN 1725-5619 doi:10.2779/74370

ISSN 1725-5619 ����������


> LIFE+ Nature projects improve the conservation status of endangered species and natural habitats. They support the implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives and the Natura 2000 network. > LIFE+ Biodiversity projects improve biodiversity in the EU. They contribute to the implementation of the objectives of the Commission Communication, “Halting the loss of Biodiversity by 2010 – and beyond” (COM (2006) 216 final). > LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance projects contribute to the development and demonstration of innovative policy approaches, technologies, methods and instruments in support of European environmental policy and legislation. > LIFE+ Information and Communication projects are communication and awareness raising campaigns related to the implementation, updating and development of European environmental policy and legislation, including the prevention of forest fires and training for forest fire agents.

LIFE and resource efficiency  

LIFE and resource efficiency. Decoupling growth from resource use.