Carbon Smart Communities

Inform yourself about the CaSCo achievements

Presentation of the prize of the CaSCO video to the winners in Italy

At the educational park “Le Colline di Giuca”, in connection with the week of the #CSS2020 cinema school dedicated to climate change, Environment Park delivered the prize for the most clicked video on the theme of the local wood, result of the competition realized in the CaSCo project. The prize was collected by Erica Zucalli and Federico Ambrogio, who in their video tell the magic of the local wood used in their house recovered at the Borgata Grangette in Perrero. The award, made in regional larch wood certified PEFC, was also certified Low Carbon Timber thanks to the proximity of the chain that led to the finished object (151 km) with minimal environmental impact.

New CaSCo Smart Place in Italy

The centre for the promotion of regional wood, at Segheria Valle Sacra, is officially part of the CaSCo Smart Places Network, with the plate with the QR code linking to the on line platform placed. The building , which also won the CaSCo award as one of the best projectss, hosts a show room with examples of realizations with short supply chain timber, linìke floors and furnitures made with larch, thermo-treated chestnut, ash oak and other relevant regional wood species. Internal furnitures are mostly realized with regional recycled wood elements, assembled with the support of designers specialized on timber objects.

Policy recommendations for a more favourable development of low carbon timber across Europe

Timber products are imported from all corners of the world, making wood’s carbon stocking properties inefficient for climate change mitigation. The emissions related to transportation can account for up to 5 times of a given timber product’s share of carbon emitted. Creating a short circuit for timber products within the Alpine Space not only contributes to carbon emissions reduction, but also protection of biodiversity and responsible resource use. This report aims to make a link between low carbon policies and timber policies at European, national and regional level.

Policy recommendations for development of low carbon timber

Report: Wood clusters in the Alps

What are the gaps in the value-added chain of wood in the CaSCo regions and which approaches for solutions do the partners propose? These and further questions are the object of the synthesis report  “Wood clusters in the Alps: an overview on selected regions”.  The partners contributed to this report by carrying out intensive study activities on their regional situations. These results are available here as separate reports in the partner's languages with an English summary (section cluster study reports).

The synthesis report summarises eight regional cluster study reports. It presents in a condensed way the regional situations and particularly focuses on the existing challenges. The report shows the diversity of the frame conditions in order to contribute to improving the regional value added chains and to thereby make an important contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Trainings for the implementation of the low carbon timber capacity building- experiences in the organisation and conduction

A total of 544  decision makers, representatives of local communities, relevant associations and external experts received trainings, in 26 capacity building events organized in the 5 countries. A report summarizes the experiences in the organisation and conduction of trainings for the implementation of the low carbon timber capacity building. Main objective is the acquisition of the necessary skills and tools for the promotion and implementation of low carbon timber short value chains in regional contexts. Analysis of case studies and site visits were carried out, with moments of discussion and sharing of ideas between participants and trainers.

Organisation and conduction of trainings

Contracts Incorporating Low Carbon Timber

The guide aims to support local authorities to include wood from short supply chains into their public tenders. The document explains every stage of the process and offers, gives recommendations regarding main challenges to include carbon from short supply chains at each stage of the  renovation or construction project.

Contracts incorporating low carbon timber

Be inspired and check out our best practice collection

Many public and private actors are realising short distance wood in various applications, in different ways. Such examples show that it is possible to realize different structures with wood from regional sources. Not for all of them the control of material flows is possible.

Our interactive map presents more than 20 of such examples from the different countries by describing the process and characterising the building. Use the examples as a source of inspiration to follow!

CaSCo is cooperating with the Secondary School for Wood Technology and Forestry Maribor

Within the framework of the CaSCo project the Slovenian partner E-institute has established a very good cooperation with the Secondary School for Wood Technology and Forestry Maribor. The School recognized the importance of the CaSCo project for the protecting of the forests and mitigating climate change. The school manages about 80 ha of forest and is systematically focusing on the forest management and traceability of local wood from the forest to the finished product. Before the cut wood is taken away from the parcels its origin is clearly documented within a paper that states some basic information (i.e. quantity and type of timber). The amount of timber that is taken away must be consistent with the amount that has been designated for felling in the forest. Wood of better quality (logs) is used for the creation of products like furniture, while wood of lower quality (firewood, cellulose) is intended for biomass.

The school also participated in the CaSCo Video Award and made a short promotional movie entitled "Local wood".


First Low Carbon Timber-certified furnishings for Arpa Piemonte

The first Low Carbon Timber-certified wooden furnishings (notice boards, benches, seats and tables) have been produced for Arpa Piemonte.
Falegnameria F.lli Gagliardi s.n.c. of Chialamberto (TO), which was awarded the contract, made the articles in lime wood coming from forests managed in a sustainable way in the territory of La Cassa (TO). They were painted with EU Ecolabel products. Along the entire production chain the timber travelled only 98.6 km with a carbon footprint of 5.3 kg of CO2 equivalent.
The furnishings are equipped with a plate with a QR code that allows access to the Smart Place Network of the CaSCo project.

Chestnut truss made of regional timber presented at the "Building global, building local" conference

On 15 November the Italian CaSCo team has demonstrated the prototype of a chestnut wood truss made of regional timber certified by Low Carbon Timber and PEFC, presented at the conference "Building global, building local". The conference took place in Torino and was organised by Environment Park and GQL Wood Quality Group. The CaSCo partners of Environment Protection Agency for the Piedmont Region and the Mountain Union of the Municipalities of Valsesia supported the event by presenting the main benefits of using and procuring regional timber. The demonstrated wooden elements were made by Falegnameria Valtorta with wood supplied by Segheria Valle Sacra. They are characterized by the innovative type of a polyhedral joint.











Vorarlberg: Building with local wood pays off

Short transport distances contribute to climate protection. This is why the Austrian province of Vorarlberg has included the "Holz von Hier" label in its new funding guidelines for housing construction. If building owners can present their proof of origin, this will pay off for them from the beginning of 2020.

Recently, the state of Vorarlberg published the funding guidelines for the renovation of residential buildings and new construction in the private and public sectors applicable to 2020 and 2021. The climate-friendly procurement of wood and wooden products from the region is anchored in these guidelines. The origin of the wood must be proven by means of the label "Holz von Hier" that recently has been introduced in Austria or comparable certificates.

Financial advantage for building owners through regional timber
If regional wood is used, the costs eligible for housing subsidies, for example per square metre of roof and facade area, increase by 20 euros in renovation projects. For an average-sized single-family house, this can mean around 4,000 to 5,000 euros. In the case of new buildings, the recog-nised costs for a loan under the housing subsidy also increase by 20 euros per square metre of usable floor space for the use of regional wood for the windows; for the facade, the increase is as much as 30 euros.
"With this innovation, we have placed climate-friendly procurement in the foreground, without the danger of legal discrimination against companies in border regions," emphasises Christian Gantner, Member of the Vorarlberg Council. Unlike other quality seals, "Holz von Hier" is not oriented towards state or national borders, but only takes into account the transport distances along the entire processing chain. Cross-border cooperation in the timber processing chain is thus strengthened. "In the long term, regional, rural businesses can be strengthened and imports from more distant countries such as Russia and Scandinavia can be replaced thanks to "Holz von Hier", adds Andreas Amann, head of the forestry department of the Vorarlberg government.

Trend reversal towards more regionality and climate protection in timber construction
The inclusion of the "Holz von Hier" label can stimulate demand for domestic wood among end customers. In public tenders, proof of origin has already been required in conformity with the law since it was included in the specifications for the municipal building certificate. For the use of the label, the entire processing chain must be traceable - all companies from saws to dealers to window manufacturers must join the initiative if they want to offer domestic wood with a Chain of Custody certificate.
"We think that with the inclusion of wood from here" in the housing guidelines a trend reversal towards more regionality and climate protection in the building industry can be initiated", hopes Erich Reiner, contact person for Holz von Hier in Austria. This could succeed even better, if with future revisions of the promotion guidelines the regionality of the entire building constructions finds consideration. The climate-friendly use of wood is in the sense of the forest strategy of the country Vorarlberg and supports the efforts for the reaching of the energy autonomy goals.

Circle of "Holz von Hier" suppliers is growing steadily
In Germany, the label "Holz von Hier" has already been established for some time. In Vorarlberg, the "Holz von Hier" network is already almost nationwide established and continues to grow. Thus a sufficient range of Holz von Hier products is available. The hurdles for companies to offer labelled products are comparatively low. The introduction of the certificate of origin in Vorarlberg and Austria is being driven forward by the CaSCo project partner Regional Development Vorarlberg.

Further information
Housing construction guidelines of Vorarlberg (German only) Vorarlberg

In the forests in Vorarlberg there is growing enough wood to satisfy the demand for regional wood.

Copy right: Landwirtschaftskammer Vorarlberg

OECD study shows unexploited potential in German public procurement

The German public procurement law reform that came into force in 2016 enables a more modern and flexible procurement practice in Germany. Nevertheless, important potential still falls by the wayside, as C.ebra (Zeitschrift für umweltbewusste Beschaffung rund um Büro und Arbeitswelt) and an OECD study state.

An important recommendation of the study is to bundle the awarding of contracts in Germany more strongly. If the needs of different agencies are recorded centrally and contracts are awarded in a bundled manner, costs and bureaucracy are reduced. Germany also has some catching up to do in the area of digital procurement. In many other OECD countries, a much larger proportion of public procurement is digitally controlled.

Increasing digitalisation of public procurement and stronger networking of electronic procurement systems at federal, state and local level would have the advantage of making it easier to collect and compare data. This data could then be used to continuously optimise awarding practice. In addition, Germany should invest in the professionalisation of its procurers. Many of them are generalists, lacking the specific training often required in this area.

Here it is advisable to invest in further training and - as is already the case in other countries - to make the activity of the purchaser an independent occupational profile with corresponding certification.

Sustainable procurement: Exhaust the possibilities!

Berlin, 30 September 2019

The German Council for Sustainable Development (Rat für Nachhaltige Entwicklung) calls on the federal ministries, central procurement offices and respective agencies to finally use the leverage effect of public procurement.

To successfully do so it recommends the following 6 steps:

1. Steering programme of measures for sustainability must be set up
2. Sustainability criteria have to be targeted obligatorily in public procurement
3. More and higher qualified personnel in the procurement units
4. Prioritisation of sustainability in government budget
5. Using sustainable public procurement for economic policy purposes
6. Strengthen the role model function of public bodies via more public communication


Public procurers at state, federal and local level have to ally stronger and consider sustainable public procurement as a common concern. A lever for the motivation to try out something new and to make a practical contribution to climate protection and sustainability through procurement lies in the hands of political responsibility and the management of the authorities. New legal regulations, such as an improved circular economy law or a Climate Protection Act (Klimaschutzgesetz), as well as building regulations, should be formulated by the legislators in such a way that sustainable solutions are preferred. Additionally product databases can provide information on sustainable product alternatives.

Recommendations for sustainable public procurement by the German Council for Sustainable Development (German).pdf

Picture by Tobias Weinhold_Unsplash

Vice President of Auvergne–Rhône-Alpes emphasises the importance of the CaSCo project during the EUREXPO conference in Lyon

AURA-EE presented the project CaSCo at the inauguration of the Triplewood Stand at the Be Positive exposition, which took place on 13 February in Lyon, France. The Vice President of the Auvergne–Rhône-Alpes region, Philippe Meunier, emphasized the importance of EUSALP Action Group 2, Arpaf project TRIPLEWOOD and Interreg Alpine Space  CaSCo to the expansion of the wood sector in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, a priority to the development of the region. Thanks to these collaborations, the federation of forestry municipalities developed the “Bois des Alpes” and “Bois des territoires du Massif central” certificates in Auvergne which are helping local wood to be implemented in public buildings.

Patrick Biard, from AURA-EE spoke of the importance of promoting local wood in public tendering. The project provides regional stakeholders with courses and a set of tools, such as information platforms and best practices examples made available through CaSCo. The agency and the region both work closely with EUSALP Action Group 2 to develop tools such as a wood flow diagram in order to have an integrated view of the Macro Region.

15 municipalities and organisations in the alpine region recognised at the EUSALP Annual Forum in Innsbruck

A total of 15 locally-sourced projects throughout the Alps received the Alpine Space Regional Timber Award in recognition of the climate-friendly, regional procurement practices. “From wooden buildings to wooden benches, boats and observation platforms, these outstanding projects show what is possible with regionally-sourced timber,” explains Christiane Kretschmer of Climate Alliance, the city network co-organising the award. Low carbon value chains from the harvesting of wood through to its use make a positive contribution to climate protection. Making use of resources locally can also help reinvigorate regional economies. The Alpine Space Regional Timber Award was open to both public and private institutions that procure or help construct wooden buildings or urban furniture. The award was launched within the framework of the EU-funded Carbon Smart Communities (CaSCo) project.

More information:

First Low Carbon Timber certificate released in Italy

The first Italian Low Carbon Timber certificate was released on 25 October 2018 in the framework of the pilot actions foreseen by the CaSCo project in the region Piemonte (Italy). The certificate was issued for a supply of windows produced by Cobola Falegnameria, made with regional chestnut that will be installed at Monviso Institute in Ostana. The result was presented in the margin of a presentation of the CaSCo toolkit made by Environment Park at Sanfront (Cuneo).

CaSCo teams recently published guideline for local authorities

The recently published guide  "Contracts incorporating low Carbon. Recommendations and Key Stages" supports local authorities to include timber from short supply chains in their public tenders. The document explains every stage of the process and offers:

1. Recommendations regarding main challenges to include carbon from short supply chains at each stage of the renovation or construction project

2. Tips for writing your documents and tenders

3. Explainations how to use of the CaSCo's toolkit at various stages

Read more:

Contracts Incorporating Low Carbon Timber.pdf

Showcase projects from Austria: Building with regional timber

A main aim of the CaSCo project is to sensitise public and private building owners for the meaning of regional timber in the building sector. In the Vorarlber region in Austria there are already some ambitious municipalities who attach importance to that topic and thus have their public buildings realised by the usage of regional wood, processed by regional companies.
One of the CaSCo project partners, Regional Development Vorarlberg eGen, has now placed in the spotlight some of the most impressive good practice examples of their region by presenting them at the com:bau fair and furthermore publishing them in a brochure (available in German language).

Brochure: Good practice examples_Buildings made from regional timber_de.pdf
More information: Good Practice Website

The campeign "EU Projekt, My Project" has opened its doors at Martjanci, Slovenia, on 14 May 2018

Within the framework of the campaign “EU project MY project", which promotes EU projects and EU funds, the CaSCo project has successfully been presented at the Smart House Martjanci, Slovenia, on 14 May 2018.

On this occasion the results and activities of the CaSCo projected were distributed to verious stakeholders. The incentive of using local wood in the regional area has given a great impetus to the consciousness of all listeners. The presentation of the project raised awareness among the target group (mayors, representatives of public institutions, the wider publis) on reducing emissions through sustainable supply chains in the timber sector. Furthermore the event was an ideal opportunity for the presentation of the Regional Timber Award (Buildings & urban furniture made from regional timber). Moreover the cooperation with municipalities, public institutions and the private sector could be strengthened. Local media was present, too, and has been reporting on the achievements.

Greening Alpine economy through regional wood

Economy in the Alps should get greener! CaSCo project partner Regio-V discussed the contribution of regional timber companies with the participants of an international event on "Green Alpine Economy" which was held in Autumn 2017 in Immenstadt, Germany. The results of the event are available here.

Initiative for more wood from here

In the timber construction sector in Vorarlberg imports and exports of timber are increasing. Thereby, regional value added and the advantage of climate friendliness are lost. On invitation by the Austrian CaSCo partner Regional Development Vorarlberg, stakeholders from the wood cluster met on 20th June 2017 in Dornbirn to discuss what could be done to counteract this situation.

The main advantages of using timber in the construction sector are the naturalness of this construction material and its capacity to store CO2. Therefore, timber is a comfortable and environmentally friendly construction material. Current surveys show that imports and exports of timber are steadily increasing. As a consequence, the climate advantage and regional value added are lost.

The question why this development has started is essential for finding solutions. The participants stated that one reason might be the fact that because of technological progress and the progressing rationalisation in the construction sector, more and more ready-to-process timber and timber components need to be available. In addition, the participants agreed that stakeholders need to develop a shared problem awareness. To realise this, a detailed fundamental analysis of the flows of goods with the participation of companies is needed.

The participants agreed to create a group which assembles representatives from three leading companies each of the sectors forestry, sawmills, timber processing and carpentries. In cooperation with the CaSCo partners, this group will analyse the situation and work out possible approaches for solutions. This includes a definition of the term “regional” in this context.

The eleven partners of the CaSCo project have committed themselves to strengthen the regional timber chains to reduce CO2 emissions and strengthen regional economy.

Picture: Retirement home at Dornbirn

Copy rights: Regionalentwicklung Voralberg

New report: Policy recommendations for a more favourable development of low carbon timber across Europe

Timber products are imported from all corners of the world, making wood’s carbon stocking properties inefficient for climate change mitigation. The emissions related to transportation can account for up to 5 times of a given timber product’s share of carbon emitted. Creating a short circuit for timber products within the Alpine Space not only contributes to carbon emissions reduction, but also protection of biodiversity and responsible resource use. This report aims to make a link between low carbon policies and timber policies at European, national and regional level.

Policy recommendations for development of low carbon timber