RER Energy Function

Development of a theoretical and operative framework to address “sustainability and resilience” at local government level in a systemic way.


LOCATION: Emilia Romagna Region (Italy)
POPULATION: 4.400.000
GOVERNANCE: Not defined


Transition Italy has been working with the Italian Association of Municipalities (ANCI) for years facing the problem of how to help local governments and administrative structure to deal with things like: economy decarbonization, climate adaptation, sustainability and resilience developments.

During this process many tools and methodologies were studied (or created) and experimented on the field involving politicians, technicians and civil society (mainly packing everything inside the Covenant Of Mayors general model).

After those years of experiments there were the conditions to try to synthesize a general framework, wider and not necessarily linked to the CoM (but highly compatible), that was called “Energy Function” and intended to be a new stable function to add to the tasks of every municipality in Italy (now indicated as a necessary tool on the Regional Energy Strategy of Emilia Romagna Region). There is also a pilot municipality that officially integrates the energy function in its organization chart as transverse function.

In spite of the name, the actual model for the “Energy Function” can hold much more than “energy issues” being a systemic tool strongly inspired by the Transition work, system thinking and and various theories of change approaches.

The Energy Function approach is based on a relationship grid that holds the “scenario” and a pattern language database that contains tools and needed informations. All is designed to be very practical and grounded on reality but without simplifying the incredibly complex environment and set of conditions and relationships real life presents.

The system was created mainly taking into account the “local government” point of view, but can be easily shared and used by different actors and adapted to many different contexts.


DOMAINSRenewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Transportation, Education, Raising awareness about sustainability, climate change, healthy living, environmental issues, etc., Participatory Democracy and Planning, Economy, Waste management, Water management, Community work, Systemic Change (not focused on particular projects).



MiT Note – Collaboration between Transition Italy and the Italian Association of Municipalities in order to create a framework/tool to address sustainability issues. Interesting for phase 2 (to get a better understanding of the tool) and for pilot (Energy Function is an interesting framework to test or at least can provide an interesting background; maybe a too wide context).


Cristiano Bottone
Transition Italia

Cristiano was part of the team that designed and did the first testing of the Energy Function.

Alessandro Rossi
ANCI Emilia Romagna

Alessandro follows for ANCI the energy and innovation activity and was part of the design and development of Energy Function.