Newsletter No. 6 / September 2016

Welcome to the latest TESS Newsletter, with updates on recent research findings and dissemination activities. This includes an analysis of our case study community-based initiatives (CBIs) and an introduction to ‘Track-It!’, an online climate mitigation calculator which allows CBIs to estimate the greenhouse gas emissions avoided through their activities. Learn more about TESS through our animated video and explore our case studies of CBIs in six European countries. Enjoy reading, watching and listening!

Table of contents

The TESS Track-It! calculator– a tool for community-based initiatives to estimate carbon avoidance

The TESS team is completing development of an innovative climate mitigation calculator which will enable community-based initiatives to estimate the greenhouse gas emissions avoided through their activities. The aim is to help community groups to communicate and reflect upon their contribution to the low-carbon transition.

The Track-It! tool enables community initiatives to estimate the impact of their activities in different domains, such as transport, waste processing, food and energy. It uses a simple method that compares initiatives’ activities against average consumer behaviour to generate useful estimates of their achieved emissions reductions. With relatively little data, groups can understand the impacts of their activities in different areas and use this information to communicate their contribution to the low-carbon transition to others.

How does it work?
The Track-It! calculator estimates greenhouse gas emissions avoided through an initiative´s activity by comparing them with what would have happened in the absence of the initiative. This is called the ‘baseline scenario’. An example is the production of organic, local vegetables compared with the production of the same amount of conventional vegetables typically bought in a supermarket. Track-It! calculates the difference between the two.

What can it do?
Baseline scenarios and data requirements have been determined for the following activities in the domains of transport, waste, food and energy:

  • Transporting goods
  • Personal travel
  • Recycling
  • Growing or selling organic food
  • Avoiding food waste
  • Preparing meals
  • Generating heat
  • Generating electricity

You find more information in the Information Sheet, the Technical Documentation or the online tutorial.

Here is an example of the results provided by the tool:

screenshot_usato

Try the Track-It! calculator now. We would be very interested to get your feedback.

Get involved – Two Upcoming Webinars

The TESS team is completing development of an innovative climate mitigation calculator which will enable community-based initiatives to estimate the greenhouse gas emissions avoided through their activities. The aim is to help community groups to communicate and reflect upon their contribution to the low-carbon transition. TESS has developed two online tools for community based initiatives:

  • the Resilience Compass to help groups deal with the challenge of change,
  • and the Track-It! calculator to estimate greenhouse gas emissions avoided by their activities.

To support and explain the use of these tools we will be holding two Webinars to respond to your questions about their application and use with community groups.

The dates for the Webinars are:

  • Thursday 29th September 2016, 13.00 BST for UK / 14.00 CEST for Europe to attend the Track-It! calculator.
  • Thursday 20th October 2016, 13.00 BST for UK / 14.00 CEST for Europe to attend the Resilience Compass webinar

To register for one or both of these events please email to Anne Holsten. We will then send you details of how to join the event.

TESS @ 14th European Week of Regions and Cities

In collaboration with the European Commission, TESS and its two sister projects ARTS and PATHWAYS organise the session “Cities as actors of open innovation: Accelerating Transition towards Sustainable and Low-carbon Societies” during the 14th European Week of Regions and Cities (10-13 October 2016 in Brussels).
The workshop will take place on 11 October, 14.30-17.00h
Venue: European Commission, Centre Borschette, Room 0C.
You can register to the event here.

Recent TESS scientific reports

The theoretical background for the Track-It! and Resilience Compass tools can be found in the following report:

Carbon reduction and community impact Scoreboard
The first part of the report introduces the concept of community resilience as a way of assessing the activities of local community-based initiatives (CBIs) aiming at a more sustainable future. The concept is translated into a simplified compass constructed through 4 key indicators, which provides an approach for understanding the extent to which a CBI may support its community in responding creatively to change and creating the fertile ground from which systems’ change to a zero-carbon future may become possible. The second part of this report assesses in detail one key environmental aspect of CBIs, namely the potential for greenhouse gas mitigation that is achievable through their sustainability activities. Results are compared across the various activities of over 50 initiatives. This can facilitate the CBIs’ interpretation of their quantitative contribution towards a low-carbon transition and support the development of newly formed initiatives or the provision of information for funding agencies.

Latest blog posts on our case study CBIs

Blogs posted in August on our Sustainable Communities website include descriptions of our case study CBIs in Germany and Romania:

The TESS video

A quick animated guide to TESS, which shows how community-based transitions can contribute to societal change.