In Stockholm, roughly 90 percent of the population lives within 300 meter proximity from a designated green area to allow for better quality of life, including recreation, water purification, enhanced biodiversity, ecology, and noise reduction. Stockholm’s main ambition is to be a totally fossil fuel-free city by the year 2050. Overall, Stockholm has reduced CO2 emissions by more than 25 percent, as compared to 1990 levels. Not only that but the share of renewable energy in the city is at 70 percent and direct heating access in households is up by 69 percent. Stockholm has been very productive, especially with environmental concerns, for example, the city recycles 25 percent of its waste.
1) 2010 European Green Capital of the Year Award. Stockholm was the first city to be designated as European Green Capital by the EU Commission in 2010. This prize is awarded to a European city that “is leading the way towards environmentally friendly urban living and that can display consistent results with regard to satisfying environmental standards, continuous commitment in terms of ambitious measures, continued environmental improvements and sustainable development.” Some of the reasons for Stockholm’s win includes reduction in CO2 emissions, 2050 fossil fuel free objective, and integrated administrative system guaranteeing environmental aspects be considered in operational planning, monitoring, and reporting.
2) Increase in Energy Efficient Buildings. Numerous cost-effective efforts have been made to reduce energy consumption in the buildings, such as improving regulation and control over heating and ventilation systems. Another initiative has been to increase the installation of LED lighting in parks, offices, and schools. LED offers more natural light and also reduce energy consumption by a minimum of 25 percent. Not only in commercial buildings, but also for residences, information is disseminated on how to decrease energy consumption and increase energy efficiency.
3) Environmentally Friendly Transportation System. Through Stockholm’s Clean Vehicles Project, the size of green fleets have been increased to produce more eco friendly cars. As of 2007, one out of ever five cars was a certified “clean car.” The Stockholm-Arlanda airport is the first airport to become accredited for highest levels of carbon compliance. To promote bicycling, the city invested money into creating longer bike lanes throughout the city. To increase the use of environmentally friendly transportation options, Stockholm started a congestion charge in 2006 for all vehicles going in and out of the city during daytime hours. Through the charge, CO2 emissions are down by 14 percent, air quality has been improved by ten percent, and traffic reduced by 20 percent.
4) Cleantech Stockholm is home to Cleantech Scandinavia the leading cleantech organization in the Nordic region they are bridging the investment gap in Nordic cleantech. Led by visionaries Magnus Agerström (Founder) Managing Director and Alexander Lidgren (Founder) Chairman. Cleantech Scandinavia is a membership network of investors and affiliated cleantech professionals designed to provide cleantech knowledge, contacts and investment opportunities; be a coordinating voice to promote the Nordic cleantech sector, and drive cleantech innovation and growth in the Nordic countries.
5) Growing Cleantech Center. The cleantech sector in Stockholm consists of approximately 3,000 companies with more than 25,000 employees. The leading investments as well as business development areas include water purification, renewable energy, wastewater conversion into energy, alternative fuels, and environmentally friendly infrastructure systems. There is a large turnover and the city is quick to promote the cleantech industry, like with, for example Hammarby.
6) Hammarby Model. Hammarby Sjostad is located along Stockholm’s waterfront and has strict economic requirements on all buildings, infrastructural solutions, and environment traffic. It is one of the most eco friendly towns in the world. There are solar panels and green roofs everywhere, ecoducts, vacuum system for solid waste and refuse sorting, solar cells, storm water drainage, and biogas usage.
7) Nordic Green Building Council Conference 2011. In 2011, Stockholm will host the Nordic Green Building Councils Conference. More than 200 participants will show up to go over policies and markets to create a greener environment, as well as the adaptation of environmental building labeling tools throughout the Nordic countries. The conference will delve into topics including European green building policies, market cases, and specific Nordic projects for green building.
8 ) Lustgarden Office Project. The global project development and construction company, Skanska, at the beginning of 2011, started the primary phase of the Lustgarden Office Project – a project that will provide the largest green office project in the city of Stockholm and the entire Nordic region. The building will have LEED Platinum certification and will contain HVAC and energy efficient systems to decrease the overall carbon footprint. According to Skanska, “Particular emphasis has been placed on reducing the property’s impact on the climate through carbon emissions, including the use of a new energy-efficient, patent-pending solution to cool the building. The building will be subject to climate declaration but major emphasis will also be placed on material selection, as well as on creating an efficient and healthy indoor environment. Significant focus will be on creating an excellent noise environment.”
9) Increase in Innovation –RE: Using Busy Train Station Excess Warmth to Heat nearby Office Building. The busiest travel hub in Stockholm, the central station, is known for being hot due to the body heat generated by the 250,000 individuals that go in and out of the station each day. A few Swedish engineers have decided to put that heat to good use and transfer it to a neighboring office building. This innovative renewable energy solution is cost-effective and will supply the building with its energy needs. The body heat supplies between 15 and 30 percent of the total office’s heat and allows them to save 20 percent in energy consumption.
10) Swedish Green Tech Building in Stockholm. A building plan is being drawn out to unite all Swedish cleantech companies under one roof in Stockholm. This will provide a one-stop location for all visitors and delegations to come in and get an opportunity to speak to a variety of cleantech companies and be provided with multiple solutions for their interests and/or needs. It also has a showroom, conference center, and event hall. The aim of the building “is to create a physical, permanent, and national arena for Swedish cleantech companies.”
Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at email@example.com