The project is implemented through individual measures in the 11 project regions as well as in the model community of Rhaunen. These are further called “Actions”:


In order to contribute to the projects’ strategic objectives, plans and strategies are developed in the preparatory measures. This provides important information for the implementation of concrete measures, which are subsequently transferred to the implementation phase, among other things by complementary measures. In addition, various awareness raising and knowledge transfer measures are carried out.

The training of climate change managers will ensure that they are able to carry out their tasks to the extent foreseen. To this end, the climate change managers are trained by the Institute for Applied Material Flow Management (IfaS) in two workshops lasting several days.

The knowledge imparted here is intended to help the climate change managers to fulfil their tasks in the respective regions. They initiate, organise and control the implementation of the project measures. Their activities also contribute to promoting the project, informing the population about ZENAPA and sensitising them to the ZENAPA philosophy. Networking among climate change managers also plays a key role. This is because it enables climate protection managers to learn from each other’s experiences, to exchange information about opportunities and problems and to react to them collectively. Measure A1 consists of three work packages: development of a training manual, four training days and evaluation of the training results.

The project is intended to create local energy companies at four partners, which will invest in line with the project ideas and thus contribute to achieving the climate protection goals. These companies should take biodiversity aspects into account in all strategic decisions. The companies can be founded by a merger of municipalities and districts, for example to form a public institution or a public-private partnership.

One of the main objectives is to enable citizens to participate financially, directly or indirectly, and thus share in the profits from renewable energies and energy efficiency. Potential projects are identified and analysed in preparatory talks with relevant stakeholders. Based on the findings, a business plan is drawn up for the company to be founded. This serves as a basis for the decision of those responsible for founding such a company.

This measure is being implemented in the Nationalpark Müritz, Natur- und Geopark Mëllerdall, Geopark Porphyrland und in der Model community Herrstein- Rhaunen, with the support of IfaS.

Action A3 aims to create new regional financing structures. These should promote investments at local level and be available to the regions as revolving funds. The investment of regional funds in local projects plays a decisive role in this context, as it strengthens local value creation. The aim is to establish a suitable financing mechanism in each partner region, which revolves local funds and thus binds them in the respective region.

Nature reserves are mostly tourist attractions. This causes additional environmental pollution in the regions. The CO2 calculator is intended to help tourists create climate-neutral holidays. The tool allows the emission calculation of tourism activities in the partner regions. Visitors can then use their travel data and activities to calculate an individual CO2e balance for their trip. In addition, the calculator allows the comparison of different activities, e.g. emissions of different hotels, restaurants, means of transport and attractions. This gives tourists the opportunity to adjust their activities in order to reduce their ecological footprint and compensate their emissions by supporting regional environmental projects. The tool not only allows visitors to make their stay more climate-neutral, but also offers local stakeholders the chance to develop more climate-conscious tourism offers. In summary, the Emissions Calculator is a simple way for all interested parties to optimize their personal greenhouse gas balance.

Procurement that takes environmental aspects into account is not only carried out within the framework of the project, but is gradually being established throughout the procurement process of the project partners. All partners have committed  to introducing an overarching guideline with sustainability standards for procurement. Since the introduction of “green procurement” is usually associated with higher costs, the creation of purchasing groups among the partners is intended to make use of corresponding synergy effects. The climate change managers also contribute to the large-scale introduction of green procurement by actively addressing regional communities.

The project aims to develop at least 90 energy and biodiversity concepts on district level. In ZENAPA, a district is often a village or part of a village, for which the existing energy and material flows are analysed. A climate protection concept is then drawn up on this basis. The climate protection concepts reveal options for short, medium and long-term measures in the areas of technology, organisation and strategy. Based on the collected data and identified potentials, different scenarios for 2020, 2030 and 2050 are developed, which also consider economic and social aspects. For this purpose, data from potential stakeholders from agriculture, forestry, private households, companies and public institutions will be summarised, evaluated and used to prepare a CO2e balance. The aim is for each partner to convince about ten municipalities in its region to develop an energy and biodiversity strategy. This is intended to bring as many concepts as possible into implementation.

The climate protection master plan reveals the initial state of the region under consideration in terms of energy consumption and emissions. On this basis, the potential of each protected area is identified, measured and mapped in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energies, land use and biodiversity. This action is an elementary component of the project, as it provides the “roadmap” for the implementation of the zero-emission protected areas. The climate protection master plan serves as a starting point for almost all further measures in the project and plays a decisive role in informing stakeholders. For this reason, they are actively involved in the concept development. The master plan also forms the basis for the preparation of detailed business plans and further project development. The master plans are prepared by IfaS with the support of the climate change manager. Due to the importance of the master plan, each region has an IfaS staff member as master plan manager and thus central contact person for the climate change manager.

For the development of the master plans, all relevant information from the respective project regions is first determined. These form the basis for the energy and CO2 balance, but also for the potential analysis. Based on the collected data, scenarios are created with reference to the Climate Action Programme 2020 and the Climate Protection Plan 2050. In addition, the regional added value is determined and a profitability calculation is carried out. The population is actively involved in the project through workshops with subsequent discussion rounds. The resulting findings will be incorporated into the preparation of the action plan – as an important source of information. The results of the master plan will be presented at a final event and handed over to the respective regional managers. The master plan serves local politicians as a well-founded basis for decisions on the future implementation of measures.

The capacity building of relevant stakeholders and the general public accompanies the project throughout its entire duration. Therefore, events and workshops on various topics such as biodiversity, decentralised energy supply, climate protection, biomass use and new project financing possibilities are held at regular intervals.

Six events will be held per region when the climate protection master plans are drawn up. A further six events are held per district for the development of the strategic biodiversity and climate protection concepts. Four information events on new financing mechanisms and revolving funds, four training courses on waste management and eight training courses on various topics round off the programme. Furthermore, additional training courses are being created in certain regions. For example, six half-day workshops are planned at the Akademie für Nachhaltige Entwicklung and in Müllerthal twelve municipalities and their relevant stakeholders will receive further training on the topic of biomass use at on-site meetings. In addition, the Akademie für Nachhaltige Entwicklung offers over 30 further two-day seminars in the “Scheune Bolewick” training centre on the topics of climate change, land use, development of rural areas/villages and biodiversity.

Action A9 develops a multi-criteria certificate that goes beyond the usual assessment of CO2 emissions and also considers aspects of nature conservation and regional development. For this reason, other aspects important for climate protection such as biodiversity, biotope and habitat maintenance, corridors for species migration, soil fertility, and also social commitment and decentralised energy supply at regional level will be included in the evaluation. The certificates thus take into account ecological and social impacts as well as performance indicators. The certificates promote investment in social commitment at the municipal level.

In order to relieve small communities in rural areas from high costs for waste water treatment, this action aims to redesign the wastewater treatment plants in such a way that they can produce energy themselves and use the available energy in the form of heat for the treatment processes or use it for energy generation. In addition to rehabilitation and modernization, measures are implemented that contribute to local biodiversity (e.g. creating additional habitats for amphibians, bats, insects and birds). On the basis of the climate protection master plan (Action A7), a suitable wastewater treatment plant will be selected in the area of the Nationalpark Hunsrück-Hochwald. In this respect, the catalogue of measures developed by IfaS will contribute to the sewage treatment plant being able to supply itself with energy and heat. Subsequently, a business plan for the modernization of wastewater treatment plants will be prepared.

Weather-related fluctuations in production from solar and wind power plants can be specifically counteracted by energy storage systems or conversion of the energy into other forms. The action is intended to create a showcase project that demonstrates large energy storage systems and fuel production in rural areas. The project aims to convert energy into hydrogen at peak load times and make it available for sustainable mobility. This will not only contribute to emission reduction and create regional added value, but also integrate aspects of soil and plant protection when installing a PV park. A PV park can be designed in such a way that the area remains attractive for many plant species and at the same time allows the keeping of sheep. Such a concept not only contributes to the promotion of biodiversity, but also to CO2 binding.

For this purpose, an economic feasibility study for the development of a solar wind farm with an option to convert the energy into heat and hydrogen for the community of Birkenfeld is being prepared. This economic feasibility study will serve as a blueprint for other partner regions.


In addition to the implementation of strategic measures, targeted measures are also implemented, which have both model character and a high CO2e savings potential. The findings from the model projects are disseminated by the partner consortium.

To implement the project, a staff position of a climate change manager has been created in each project region. The task of the climate change manager is to accompany the development of the protected area and the surrounding regions into a zero-emission nature reserve. They also support IfaS in the preparation of the climate protection master plan, coordinate the application of the master plan and the implementation of concrete measures on site. The preparation of the climate change managers for their tasks is ensured by action A1.

Action C2 aims at identifying local resources for energy production and storage from renewable energy sources (solar, wind, hydro, biomass) in the surrounding areas of nature reserves. The focus here is on direct electricity use and not on grid feed-in. Here, too, there are positive side effects in the social sphere, which are reflected in regional added value, job creation and environmental education. This action therefore contributes to the revitalisation of the local economy. The project partners will identify the local potentials themselves and plan and implement projects based on this. The prepared master plans (action A7) will support the project partners in identifying concrete needs for actions. The implementation of the following measures is supported by LIFE:

  • ANE – Akademie für Nachhaltige Entwicklung: 1 PV system and electricity storage
  • Nationalpark Hunsrück-Hochwald: 1 PV system and electricity storage for cooling purposes
  • Natur- und Geopark Mëllerdall: 1 small hydroelectric power station (approx. 27 kW)
  • Bergischer Abfallwirtschaftsverband (BAV): 1 PV system and electricity storage and 107 kW PV-Power generation and storage
  • Model community of Herrstein-Rhaunen: 2 PV systems and electricity storage

The heat demand of residential buildings is higher than the electricity demand, therefore the heat sector is of crucial importance for achieving climate protection targets. The residential areas in rural areas are mostly small, so that the conditions for the expansion of decentralised heating systems at the municipal level are given. Above all, heat generation from biomass is investigated and evaluated in each project region. The potential is determined via the master plan. Action C3 ensures the implementation of concrete measures for heat generation based on renewable energies. For this purpose, the use of regional fuels from the green waste and the planned energy hedges (action C19) will be examined.

The implementation of the following measures is supported by LIFE:

  • Renewal of heating systems with HHS heaters (1.54 MW)
  • Construction of a heating network based on renewable energy sources (0.5 MW)
  • Installation of heat pumps (23 pieces)
  • Installation of condensing boilers in combination with solar thermal energy (11 pieces)
  • Installation of wood heating systems (35 pieces)
  • Installation of CHP units (10 pieces)

Soils play a decisive role as carbon sinks. One way to introduce further carbon into soils, to remove it permanently from the atmosphere and at the same time to increase the quality of soils is the introduction of biochar (also called vegetable carbon). Biochar is produced from biomass through the process of pyrolysis. This produces waste heat, which can be used to heat buildings. This leads to a reduction in emissions, which would otherwise have been produced when heating the building. The resulting vegetable carbon can be used for the improvement of agricultural soils. This not only allows carbon to be stored in the soil, but also avoids emissions that would otherwise have been produced when using conventional fertilizers. Since the market for biochar is not yet fully developed, the Nationalpark Hunsrück-Hochwald will establish a marketing channel for biochar. This action is a pilot project which can be adapted by other regions.

Within the scope of this action, a cavitation system will be installed in the partner region Vulkaneifel as a pilot project. The purpose of a cavitation plant is to break down the raw material of a biogas plant. This shortens the retention time of the substrate in the fermentation tank, a higher output rate is achieved and biomass types which were previously considered economically unfeasible are made viable in this way. The new negative pressure technology can be connected to existing biogas plants. The increased yield is intended to save land, which in turn makes the area available for agricultural purposes. Thus, the technology not only increases the yield of the biogas plant, but can also contribute to increasing biodiversity. The successful application should serve as a showcase for other partners.

The Nationalpark Hunsrück-Hochwald will convert the lighting of public buildings and monuments to LED. In total, the Nationalpark Hunsrück-Hochwald plans to illuminate two objects with LED systems.

There are three reasons why the existing lighting will be replaced by LED systems:

  • Firstly, LED lighting is more efficient. The energy consumption of the LEDs and the maintenance requirements are lower compared to conventional lighting.
  • Secondly, LED lighting reduces light pollution. This has positive effects on fauna and flora.
  • Thirdly, the dimmer function and the colour selection of the LED lighting can be used to make the illumination of historical buildings and monuments more attractive for tourists.

Insulation made from organic material (flax, hemp, miscanthus or straw) is more than just an ecological solution, because it contributes to CO2 reduction, to the promotion of biodiversity and agricultural diversity, to the reduction of energy dependency and monoculture cultivation and to the creation of habitats for local fauna and flora. Natural insulation materials are thus an important component of the rural bio-economy.

When using thermal insulation based on natural insulating materials, habitats can be enlarged by adding nesting facilities. The master plan (A7) serves as a basis for the identification of potential projects, which are monitored and recorded after the implementation of the measures.

The implementation of the following measures is supported by LIFE:

  • Nationalpark Hunsrück-Hochwald: 1.221 m²
  • Bezirksverband Pfalz: 750 m²
  • Natur- und GeoPark Vulkaneifel GmbH: 500 m²
  • Bergischer Abfallwirtschaftsverband (BAV): 300 m²
  • GeoPark Pophyrland. Steinreich in Sachsen e.V.: 275 m²

Showcase projects with high CO2 savings potential are to serve as a blueprint for all partners and will be identified for each region in the course of the preparation of the master plans. In order to be recognized under this action, 70% savings potential must be achieved. The Natur- und Geopark Vulkaneifel GmbH has already defined such a project and will set up an e-mobility centre with charging stations within the framework of LIFE-IP ZENAPA, where electric vehicles will be made available through a car sharing concept.

Action C9 is intended to promote e-mobility, especially in rural areas. The background is that the national target values of 25,000 registered e-vehicles by 2016 and 1,000,000 by 2020 are far from being achieved. To this end, e-mobility centres are to be created which will not only contribute to the achievement of the national targets, but also promote awareness of sustainable mobility among stakeholders. Furthermore, tourists will be given the opportunity to explore the region with an e-vehicle powered by locally generated energy. The e-mobility centres can consist of single or several project elements: environmentally friendly vehicles, e-cars, e-bikes, charging stations as well as centres with charging stations, educational institutions and workshops.

The implementation of the following measures is supported by LIFE:

IfaS / Environmental Campus Birkenfeld – Mobility Centre Birkenfeld

  • Technical and economic feasibility studies
  • Education
  • Two conventional cars being converted to electric cars
  • Four vehicles with electric drive
  • Two PV carports

ANE – Akademie für Nachhaltige Entwicklung

  • Five electric cars

Nationalpark Hunsrück-Hochwald

  • A hybrid SUV
  • Two electric cars
  • Seven charging stations (for cars) and two charging stations (for e-bikes)
  • Six e-mountainbikes

Biosphärenzweckverband Bliesgau, Stadt St. Ingbert and Saarpfalz-Kreis

  • Six mini-carports with charging stations and photovoltaics

Landesamt für Umwelt des Landes Brandenburg (LfU)

  • Network of charging stations with photovoltaics for electric cars and e-bikes
  • Four electric cars for shuttle service and sharing projects

Naturstiftung David

  • An e-vehicle
  • One charging station

Action C10 substantiates the possibilities to achieve various positive effects by diversifying the cultivation of energy crops. Monocultures as biogas plant input and their negative effects are rightfully heavily criticised by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and citizens’ initiatives in debates on land use change. In addition, the expansion of biogas plants is no longer funded by the German government. Within the framework of LIFE-IP ZENAPA, sustainable alternatives are being identified and demonstrated. The cultivation of alternative energy crops can have further positive effects, such as erosion control, in addition to increasing the diversity of cultivation.

About 40 % of the European red kite population nests in Germany. However, their habitat is threatened by the expansion of wind farms. Collisions between the animals and the rotor blades of wind turbines can occur. Red kite management should significantly reduce the conflict between habitat and wind turbines needed for the energy turnaround. To this end, a management manual will be produced during the project period, which will serve as a guide for wind turbine planners.

The objective of action C12 is to relaunch the construction of photovoltaic installations. To this end, 1,000 new PV systems are to be installed in each region during the project period by establishing a new approach. Small roof-mounted PV systems are to be installed in all partner regions with the support of a local initiator (e.g. action A2) and a new financing system (e.g. action A3). Decentralised energy supply and the involvement of regional stakeholders will also promote regional value creation.


The protection of natural pastureland through the production of low-carbon meat is to be achieved by breeding old breeds of cattle in the region of the Nationalpark Hunsrück-Hochwald on 200 hectares of ecologically cultivated pasture land. A further focus is on meat marketing with the help of regional structures. All in all, this is a best-practice example that should serve as a model for the project partners.

The renaturation or restoration of moorland landscapes offers a good opportunity to combine nature conservation and carbon management. The rewetting of the moors with the MoorFuture approach renaturalizes the moor soils and thus prevents greenhouse gas emissions. The moorlands return to their original function as carbon sinks. This approach allows the calculation of emission savings and the issuing of certificates, which in turn can be sold or purchased. The project partners Nationalpark Müritz and Schorfheide-Chorin each have potential for the renaturation of the moorlands. The Nationalpark Müritz und das Umweltministerium Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are familiar with the marketing of the certificates and contribute their experience in the areas of methodology development and the conception of marketing and marketing strategies.

In addition, approaches to paludiculture are being developed and evaluated within the framework of LIFE-IP ZENAPA.

Campaign work is a key feature of the ZENAPA communication strategy. Marketing strategies are used to convince local stakeholders, especially the population, to participate in projects and measures. The campaigns accompany the project throughout the entire project period and, if necessary, recurrently in order to achieve the set goals. The IfaS will play a decisive role in this. For example, analyses will be prepared for each partner region, workshops will be organised at the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld, each partner will be provided with advice and the measures and the results achieved will be evaluated.

Planned campaign effects in the large-scale protected areas:

  1. 1,000 heating pumps
  2. LED street lighting (100,000 light points)
  3. 200 heating systems based on renewable energies
  4. 1,000 photovoltaic systems in households
  5. 200 vehicles for e-mobility
  6. Energy Hedges

Implementation of additional individual campaigns in selected partner regions:

  1. Sustainable and regional construction and biodiversity
  2. Private forest activation
  3. Activation of the forestry sector

The certificates developed in action A9 will be put on the market through competitions. The competitions are intended to create awareness of the current problems that are being addressed in ZENAPA and to sensitise people to existing approaches to solving them. The competitions are advertised publicly and the best ideas or measures in the above-mentioned areas are selected and certified. The certificates are then put on the market and sold on a voluntary basis. The results of the marketing measures are documented and evaluated. Many regions are already planning such tenders and thus serve as a model for other project partners.

Winners will be selected from the following areas:

  1. LED floodlighting systems for sports clubs
  2. Wood heating systems
  3. Thermal insulation based on natural insulating materials, taking into account nature conservation aspects
  4. LED light points for municipal object lighting
  5. Pilot cavitation plant for biogas substrates

The construction industry can counteract climate change and also make a significant contribution to independence from fossil fuels. The emissions of building materials over the entire product life cycle are usually not considered holistically in the construction industry. The use of sustainable, regional and ecological building materials, both indoors and outdoors, not only reduces emissions but also strengthens regional value creation. Examples of ecological and emission-neutral building materials and insulating materials include wood, organic fibers and ecological concrete. The Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park, with the support of the IfaS, is planning to build the National Park Authority building using just this type of material. The building will serve as a showcase for the other project partners.

In recent decades, the importance of hedges on agricultural land has declined significantly. In order to ensure the preservation or regrowth of hedges, LIFE-IP ZENAPA proposes their energetic use, among other things because one hectare of hedge corresponds to an energy equivalent of 5,000 litres of oil per year. In the context of the climate protection master plan, first areas for the hedges are proposed and, together with local stakeholders, the use in different fields of application (biodiversity, erosion control, nutrient recovery, energy value, etc.) is investigated and potential energy consumers are also identified. Around 50 hectares of energy hedges are planned in the Nationalpark Hunsrück-Hochwald.


The public relations work accompanies the continuous implementation process in the project, sensitises the population and disseminates the results of the project in the ZENAPA area and beyond.

In addition to the ZENAPA conferences and children’s climate protection conferences, this includes this website with news, the social media (Facebook and Twitter), a regular newsletter or project flyer.

During the eight years of the project, a total of eight ZENAPA conferences will be held to present the current results and the project status. The conference is held annually at a different project partner’s premises. The aim is not only to exchange information internally, but also to create an information platform. In addition, the exchange of ideas between the participants is promoted. Thus, a variety of project partnerships and cooperations develop out of the project. The central steering committee and the international as well as the national advisory board always meet within the framework of the conferences.

The younger generation is a very important target group in terms of raising awareness of environmental, climate and nature conservation issues. Climate change can only be counteracted by sensitising children. The aim of these events is to stimulate environmentally conscious thinking and to sensitise children to the extent that they also act sustainably at home. The main aim is to make children aware of their own social and ecological responsibility. Within the framework of action E5, a total of 36 children’s climate protection conferences (three per partner region) are planned. The involvement of local companies in the design and financing of such events will also be considered.

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