About one hundred Italian municipalities are using EcoGIS to reduce their carbon footprint. The open source tool helps to map emission data, test interventions and monitor changes in energy consumption.
The software is used by some hundred municipalities in the regions of Campania, Liguria, Lombardy, Sicily, Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto.
At the conference, the city of Merano showed how it has been using the specialised geographic information system (GIS) since 2011, in an effort to reduce the town’s energy consumption by 20% in 2020. The town is one of the signatories of the Covenant of Mayors. This network of about 6,000 local and regional public administrations across Europe is committed to increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources.
“EcoGIS is an essential tool for our work, accomplishing the goals set by the Covenant of Mayors”, comments Marco Masin, a geographer and environmentalist at Merano’s environment department.
The software is accessed by a web browser, where users can combine geographic maps and sources of energy consumption, displayed per building, neighbourhood or industry zone. EcoGIS gives public administrations a tool to view and then reduce their carbon footprint. The software can calculate CO₂ emissions, with data points including streetlights, residential buildings, public transport, privately owned vehicles, agriculture and industry. EcoGIS can include energy efficiency records of buildings, taking into account the date of construction and building characteristics that influence energy consumption.
The software was originally developed by R3 GIS. The Merano-based company timed the publication of the source code and an overhaul of the EcoGIS website with last week’s free software conference, explains Paolo Viskanic, managing director of R3 GIS.
Making the code open was always the intention, Viskanic says: “We decided to release it as free software, to boost development and hopefully to make it a reference tool in the management of energy data by public administrations.” He hopes to involve many more public administrations to define the EcoGIS development roadmap.