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From : Giovanni Papa <g.papa AT>
Date : 25/04/99 14:32
Object : Some Informations about little village "Città delle Langhe" - Italy

Dear friends,

I would like to participate to the next fora in Paris, but, in this moment, I am not sure for health problems.

I am very interested to continue to receive email with informations about activities of other "little villages". I am sending some indications about our dream (to realize our little "village") and I hope that our activity can interest other organizations. It is a cultural and technological project : a "challenge" to small enterprises to think different.

The Eco-Industrial Park "Città delle Langhe" project :

Developing Sustainable Industrial Structures.


Sustainable development, a concept which has gained increasing prominence in recent years, faces a number of challenges from various aspects of human activities. Significant among them is the extract and dump nature of the current industrial system, in which materials and energy are extracted, processed, used and dumped in a linear flow into, through, and out of the economy. Simple consideration of the closed material system that is the earth reveals that finite stock of resources cannot be used indefinitely in such a fashion.

This project propose an alternative model for the organisation and management of the technological structures that from the industrial economy. This alternative arises from disciplines such as industrial ecology and life cycle assessment, which have emerged over the past several years as a potential guide for that realignment.

This new field proposes to create opportunities to improve both environmental and business performance while offering a paradigm for restructuring the industrial system in a fashion that is compatible with notion of sustainability. Where traditional approaches to environmental management focus on individual processes and industrial units, industrial ecology takes a more systemic approach, of broader scope and longer time-frame.

A key aspect of this view is the analogy it draws between the human economy and natural ecosystems, which exhibit "closed loop" materials and energy flow. Industrial symbiosis is the term usually used to define the innovative project Città delle Langhe which would like to demonstrate that this new way of looking to industrial structures is possible and feasible.

In order to create a new and complex system which realise closed loops as more as possible, the objective of this project is to demonstrate the technical feasibility and environmental sustainability of the sub-system which unites a certain number of PMI in an integrated network.

The main actions concerned are :

The activities of the involved PMI will be armonized during the development of the project in order to obtain an optimized level of integration.


This project applies industrial ecology to the development of arrangements which mimic the material and energy cycling of natural ecosystems.

Industrial symbiosis is the tool to increase the systemic efficiency of material and energy use by creating proper links between formerly separate industrial activities and service.

The result is the formation in a small "village" of an integrated industrial complex in which the by-products of one process are used as feedstock of another and where any ancillary material and service can be used in common to minimise losses.

A community of companies in a well specified area who chose to interact by exchanging and making use of by-products and energy in such a way can be defined as an optimized industrial ecosystem.

It is expected that this type of technological organisation provides tangible benefits :

In addition the benefits of collaboration can be expected to spill over into other areas. This project endeavours to explain the evolutionary industrial ecosystems and to provide a model of the processes and factors that affect their creation.

The interested municipalities agreed about the location of this "industrial village" in the rural area in the hills near Turin (Italy), named Langhe.

All the materials and technologies applied in this area has to be chosen according to Life Cycle Assessment methodology. A certification of all choices with an environmental impact viewpoint is also scheduled according to ISO 14.000 series.


Environmental consciousness is continuously gaining ground, especially after the promulgation of the ISO 14.000 series on Environmental Management and, in particular, of the ISO 14.040 series on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).

For the medium and large industries, the use of LCA is now generally accepted as a valid tool to perform several tasks. LCA is important for characterising current operating practices and designing improvement procedures to reduce energy consumption and environmental impact.

The possibility to apply this methodology to the "Città delle Langhe" area permits to evaluate a priori that the industrial ecosystem truly constitutes the result of an environmental friendly choice of materials and technologies.

According to ISO 14040 a brief description of the approach that has to be applied to the system "Città delle Langhe" can be summarised as follows :

The possibility to use software tools and commercial databases as well as the on site presence with data collection along the past years give the availability of a detailed and personalised database useful to quantify the exchanges of materials and energy among all unit processes involved in the ecosystem area.

Because each step is made in conformity with ISO standards, an expert review is done for every subproject.

The main themes that will be considered during the design phase of the system are :

  1. Eco-design of buildings.
    It will be defined a set of parameters that has to be investigated in order to make the best environmentally sound choice. The availability of a software package (Cambridge Materials Selector linked to the Boustead Model) will help the designers during the evaluation and selection of materials in respect of engineering, environmental and quality properties.
  2. Systems and plants for the rainfall management.
    The scope of this plant is to avoid any water losses. An electronic system will manage the set of processes necessary to determine the timely lay-out for any type of building.
  3. Waste management.
    Any waste treatment for minimization of waste dumping will be considered.
  4. Composting
    It will be designed an "ecological platform" for organic waste treatment.
  5. Automation systems and air conditioning: renawable energy use.
    The selection of energy sources according to the industrial activities performed will be down.
  6. Information systems for their researches and structures management.
    A computerized control of the village will be designed.
  7. Service center for transports.
    The minimization of the environmental impact will be obtained by an accurate selection of the links with the general transport system on a regional scale.

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