Delfland water authority "proud of 1000th certificate"

On 10 November, the Delfland water authority received the 1,000th CO2 Performance Ladder Certificate. The water authority is certified at level 3. In response to this happy news, SKAO spoke with Oscar Helsen, Energy Coordinator, and Bas Nanninga, project leader for the implementation of the CO2 Performance Ladder at Delfland. They discussed climate ambitions, involving citizens and companies in sustainability, and CO2 reduction as the new normal.

Why did you start with the CO2 Performance Ladder?

Helsen: "We ask about the level at which our contractors are certified on the CO2 Performance Ladder. Then it is strange if we do not get certified as a client. We have been working for years on reducing our energy use for the Climate Monitor of the Dutch Water Authorities (UVW) and to comply with the Long-Term Agreement on Energy Efficiency (MJA3). We have never previously linked our energy efficiency efforts to a certification system. We were already used to working according to the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle for energy efficiency, so applying that to CO2 reduction was a logical next step."

Nanninga: "The board and management have the ambition that we will be energy neutral by 2025 and climate neutral by 2050. Based on this ambition, our water board Ruud Egas has also received the relay baton from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. With this we have committed ourselves to the implementation of the Ladder and we have put the CO2 Performance Ladder on the map within the organization. And now we can receive the 1,000th certificate. We are certainly proud of that!"

What are the benefits of the Ladder?

Helsen: "You start to look at organizational processes in a different way. Initially, the focus was mainly on core tasks and finances, and with the Ladder an important indicator has been added, namely greenhouse gas emissions. The CO2 Performance Ladder forces you, in a way, to discuss this with each other. We do this with our Energy & CO2 team. By talking about this, you see that you can inspire each other in the field of CO2 reduction. Implementation of the CO2 Performance Ladder has mainly led to greater awareness within our organization."

"Implementation of the CO2 Performance Ladder has mainly led to greater awareness within our organization."

"We are also discussing short-cycle and long-cycle CO2 in the measures we take in the field of CO2 reduction, for example at a waste water treatment plant (WWTP). The Ladder ensures that we think more carefully about where our CO2 emissions come from, and what we can do about it, both in the long term and in the short term. Because we think about it, you automatically start working on the following levels, because as an organization you want to improve there."

Nanninga: "There are also employees who do not see the effects of their measures against CO2 reduction reflected in the CO2 footprint that we have calculated based on the CO2 Performance Ladder. They are disappointed that their measures are not included in the CO2 footprint, but that is because we are still working on scopes 1 and 2 of the Ladder, and do not yet have scope 3 in sight. We see it as a positive sign that the organization is ready to also reach the next level of the Ladder. Once we're at it, we want to get it right and keep it going. "

What measures are these then?

Nanninga: "Last year we switched to Dutch wind energy for most of our electricity consumption. That has been a good first step. In addition, we have been working on energy saving for years in the context of LTA3, so many measures have been taken in recent years, such as more efficient water pumps and optimization of our wastewater treatment plant (WWTP)."

Helsen: "We are now working hard to increase our sustainable energy production. In 2021 we want to make more use of electricity from wind energy. We are also going to invest in windmills and solar parks ourselves. We are also working on sustainable transport, for example by electrifying even more official cars. We've been on this for a long time, so this is a moving train."

Nanninga: "We are also actively involved in the regional energy strategy. For example, we support municipalities and developers when they want to use aquathermy. With aquatherm you should think of heating homes and businesses by means of heat recovery from surface water and waste water."

Helsen: "Residual heat from our WWTP involves heat recovery from effluent. Effluent is purified wastewater that is discharged to the sea or a river. This water has a temperature that remains fairly constant and is still relatively warm in winter, and you can recover heat from it by means of a heat exchanger. It is therefore sustainable heat that we can then supply to a heat network to heat homes."

And where should these measures lead to?

Nanninga: "With the aforementioned CO2 reduction measures, among other things, we want to be climate neutral by 2050. That may sound far away, but we see it as a joint ambition that we want to achieve in collaboration with our partners. For example: when we buy, we also want it to be climate neutral. That is why we take ample time to get our chain partners involved in this."

"We want to be energy neutral by 2025 and have reduced our CO2 emissions by 35%. Energy neutral means that we generate at least as much energy sustainably as we consume. Sludge is formed during the treatment of waste water. You can put this sludge in a fermentation tank to produce biogas. You can use biogas to make electricity, but you can also upgrade it to natural gas quality and supply it to the natural gas grid. In this way we produce green energy. We will also invest in solar and wind energy. We are also looking for cooperation with partners in this area."

Helsen: "There are two locations where Delfland wants to participate in wind turbines. At one of those two locations, a windmill is being realized from a residents' collective. To ensure that there is an adequate investment budget, we as a local government finance together with the residents' collective in the windmill. In this way, the local residents can also be guaranteed to purchase the generated wind energy themselves."

Such initiatives are in line with our vision to become climate neutral as a region and to do our bit. We can only make it happen together. "