Local forests lead the way at the 26th Winter Universiade

This event is a symbol and an example for environmental protection, savvy territorial government and local economic development. 

Local forests lead the way at the 26th Winter Universiade

13 December 2013 News

The 26th Winter Universiade has just kicked off, and PEFC is at the heart of it. Between 11 and 21 December, university students from around the world will be in Trentino, Northern Italy, to attend these bi-annual games.

But this event is not just about sport, nor just about educational and cultural values: it is also a symbol and an example for environmental protection, savvy territorial government and local economic development. 

The event, which is taking place in many of the region's valleys, will be compensating its CO2 emissions with energy efficiency measures put in motion by the Organizing Committee with the help of the Consortium of Trentino municipalities and PEFC Italy. A key measure taken is the use of wood for both the permanent and temporary sports facilities coming exclusively from local forests supervised according to PEFC’s internationally recognized sustainability criteria.

In figures, this is around 900 cubic meters of PEFC certified wood used for the sports facilities, and 1200 cubic meters including the scraps of wood the construction inevitably produces - these will be recycled in local biomass plants, transforming them into clean energy. While certainly big numbers, it will only take the local forests three days to regenerate this quantity of wood.

One of the most advanced buildings constructed in wood is found on Lago di Tesero (Fiemme Valley) to host television networks from five continents. This facility was built with locally supplied wood (Cross Laminated Timber panels of spruce and larch) and received PEFC project certification a month ago by CSQA certification body: a guarantee of quality, with only four precedents in the whole world. PEFC Italy also calculated the CO2 emissions avoided by using only Italian timber instead of having it shipped from an average distance of 1,000 km: 51 tons of CO2.

The environment is not the only one to have benefited from the 2013 Universiade in Trentino. The local economies have also found a boost in their productivity by choosing sustainability: "Generally timber is ordered from abroad," explains Antonio Brunori, General Secretary of PEFC Italy. "This event is a turning point. All the timber used for the event comes from the local valleys, to the advantage of local forest owners, local sawmills, timber businesses, carpenters and artisans of the industry. The economic income stays in this beautiful region. It is a case in which everyone wins, no matter how the sporting competitions go."

This edition of the Universiade will also be a ‘paper free’ event, by replacing paper whenever possible with technologic devices and when indispensable, by using only PEFC certified and recycled paper.

By creating the conditions for a zero impact event, the environmentally friendly choices of the regional government of Trentino have been ratified, as for years it has been strongly involved in reaching environmental sustainability through responsible management of its natural resources, by protecting its biodiversity, productivity, capacity of renewal, vitality and the potentiality to fulfill its ecological, economic and social needs.

"The 2013 winter Universiade in Trentino will be a testament to the capacity of our territory to be an efficient system," commented Ugo Rossi, President of the Autonomous Province of Trento. "Whether we host or not the sporting event, the various local entities have been actively included in the making of a great international event."

The 2013 Universiade's torch was symbolically lit by Pope Francis himself last November 6th in Saint Peter's square in Rome and the event will be a large sports gathering with zero emissions.

It has been calculated that the whole sporting event will produce 20,000 tons of CO2 emissions - a pollution equivalent to 15,000 cars each travelling 10,000 km a year. These emissions will be compensated through the use of local wood along with numerous other measures put in motion to allow energy savings and environmental efficiency throughout the region of Trentino.

Other energy efficiency measures include a network of sustainable transportation to move athletes, technical staff, authorities, journalists and spectators from one place of competition to another with natural gas, hydrogen or diesel/electric hybrid fuelled transport. To reduce waste, plastic water bottles have been replaced with drinking fountains and once the event is over, the temporary structures will be dismantled, recycled and disposed under strict supervision.

The Consortium of the Trentino Municipalities is also participating in the general environmental mission by modernizing and servicing the public heating plants to increase their energetic efficiency; reducing temperatures in public offices during December and for two of the four Sundays of the month traffic blocs will be reducing transportation emissions. During the event, public lighting will be switched off thirty minutes before usual time and street illumination will be reduced in intensity. Collective public transportation services will be promoted and increased such as the local school-bus service, car sharing and carpooling.

PEFC Italy and PEFC International organized a three days press tour for 15 journalists and a H2 bus to carry them for 350 km along the PEFC certified forests and the sport facilities that are in it.

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