Carbon-neutral state administration

In the context of the Hesse sustainability strategy the state government has launched the project "Carbon-neutral state administration", which is under the auspices of the Hessian Ministry of Finance. The target is to establish a carbon-neutrally working state administration by the year 2030 by taking measures to minimize energy consumption in the fields buildings, procurement and mobility and by compensating for inevitable CO2-emissions.

The three major fields of action

- Project strategy

- Energy Efficiency Plan Hesse 2030

- Communication

Project strategy

The top-down approach addresses the state administration's executive management level, where decisions are made and anchored in rules and regulations. Simultaneously, in the bottom-up direction, the employees of the state administration are involved in the development process.

A three-stage approach is followed to achieve the targets.

First priority is given to the reduction of energy consumption.
Second priority is attached to substituting the remaining energy consumption in a climate-neutral way.
Third priority will be given to the compensation for CO2 emissions, in case financial and economic circumstances make it impossible to achieve climate neutrality.

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Carbon footprint

To define the starting line from where to reach the ambitious goal of a carbon-neutrally working state administration by the year 2030 the initial carbon footprint had to be calculated representing the quantity and sources of CO2 emissions. The largest part of these emissions, approximately 80 per cent of the overall CO2 emissions produced by the Hesse state administration in the year 2008, is accounted for by the energy supply to buildings. Therefore, particular importance is attached to mitigation measures regarding buildings. The initial calculation of the carbon footprint and its regular updating are the basis for the creation of a CO2 monitoring system accompanying the realization of CO2-reducing measures.

The identification of saving potentials together with the reduction of emissions will continuously reduce the carbon footprint of the Hesse state administration.

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Energy Efficiency Plan

In order to support the Hessian state administration in its efforts to reach the CO2 reduction targets an Energy Efficiency Plan 2030 was elaborated  proposing several measures regarding new and existing buildings as well as the conduct of the buildings' users to increase energy efficiency in state-owned building properties. Apart from the introduction of state-wide uniform standards for the energy efficiency in new buildings, the agenda suggests a comprehensive program for refurbishing the state's existing buildings. On the basis of this program buildings are modernized to reduce energy consumption, contracting measures are implemented and an energy monitoring system for energy-intensive building properties is established.

Construction measures, however, are not the only means of saving energy. In fact, optimizing the operation of technical facilities and encouraging the building's users to adopt an energy-conscious behaviour play an equally important role in this context. In order to exploit the energy saving potential when using the buildings, the state's employees are actively involved in the project of establishing a carbon-neutral state administration by specific coaching and training measures and competitions.

The Hesse state administration commits itself to procuring products and services on the basis of the criteria "sustainable" and "fair". Consequently, binding regulations of  the state administration's procurement measures are anchored in the Hesse Energy Law.

In the same way, business trips and car fleets of the Hesse state administration carry some potential of reducing and avoiding CO2 emissions. For example, the deployment of electric vehicles in the state offices' car fleets is promoted as part of the project.

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Climate protection is not only a matter of technical possibilities, but also and above all of the people's readiness to act in an energy-saving way. Therefore, the Hesse citizens are supposed to be reached and regularly informed about the progress and success of the project in the same way as the state employees and the economic, social and scientific experts. This implies numerous PR-measures taken in the context of the project.

The dialogue with partners as well as international contacts enrich the work of the carbon-neutral state administration. In order to exchange competences and experience regarding energy efficiency beyond national borders, pilot projects in the field of sustainable building will be developed in cooperation with international partners.

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