Sustainable Cities™

Sønderborg: Climate friendliness makes for growth

Through ProjectZero, Sønderborg aims to become a powerful development nucleus in the cleantech field. Sønderborg's ambitions include becoming a stimulating “experimentarium” for sustainable business and lifestyle. ProjectZero is driven by the Bright Green Business programme, which ensures that solid growth goes hand-in-hand with wise climate solutions.

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The ZEROcompany. Linak, 5. November. 2010

The ambition of the south Jutland town of Sønderborg is to create a CO2-neutral growth area in a region with a competitive commercial sector. The idea is for energy and climate solutions to be the powerhouse of the new areas of growth. The core of the municipality's ProjectZero vision is thus to position the municipality at the cutting edge when it comes to smart energy management. Through companies which are already front-runners in the climate field, Sønderborg intends to strengthen the area's reputation and the outside world's perception of Sønderborg as a dynamic area which takes responsibility for creating new solutions.

Sønderborg's vision is that through self-sufficiency in sustainable energy technologies, ProjectZero it can reduce local energy consumption by 38% in as early as 2029. At the same time, the town is staking on sustainable innovation becoming an important competition parameter for companies and regions in the future. Through ProjectZero, Sønderborg aims to become a powerful development nucleus in the cleantech field. Sønderborg's ambitions include becoming a stimulating "experimentarium" for sustainable business and lifestyle. ProjectZero is driven by the Bright Green Business programme, which ensures that solid growth goes hand-in-hand with wise climate solutions.

Via its business programmes, ZEROcompany and ZEROshops, ProjectZero involves local commerce in creating a future in which Sønderborg will enjoy a strong position. Most companies can make energy savings of 10-20 % simply by changing the way they do things or by making investments with short pay-back periods. Companies can also actually earn money making the world a more sustainable place. The Sønderborg area already has many science- and engineering-heavy companies, giving it unique potential to head the pack as a climate front-runner. The town's companies specialists in e.g. cooling, heating, lighting and process management, as well as in district heating and photovoltaic and hydrogen technologies.

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A number of companies involved in Project Zero's ZEROcompany programme intend to take the lead in creating a CO2-neutral area in Sønderborg, while at the same time strengthening their own businesses. According to Project Zero, the programme and its participants have achieved unique results, attracting both national and international acclaim. A bit more than 40 companies are involved in the ZEROcompany programme, including Danfoss, Servodan and Helsam. These companies have, among other things committed themselves to achieving a CO2 reduction of 10% of their overall CO2 emissions within the first year. The companies will subsequently implement climate-wise solutions throughout their organisations wherever this is financially viable. The managements of the companies have furthermore put themselves under obligation to calculate their companies' overall energy consumption and CO2 emissions now and in the future.

"Shops focus naturally enough on customers and sound sales figures, but they often overlook their energy costs. We are therefore offering all shops a review of their energy requirements. We often find opportunities to make considerable savings." - Johannes Schmidt, energy consultant at Syd Energi

ZEROcompany members can register with the leading international Carbon Disclosure Project climate database, which labels them and constitutes trustworthy documentation of their conduct in relation to the world around them. Today, ZEROcompanies constitute 40% of the Danish companies in the database. One of these is Linak, a ZEROcompany which is among the absolute climate front-runners, with its ambition of becoming CO2 neutral within a very few years. Apart from comprehensive energy efficiency improvements, Linak has also initiated work on a solar array farm at the company's headquarters in Guderup, and it is currently seeking the necessary permission to erect a giant, 850 kW wind turbine which will help to fulfil the company's energy requirement.

ZEROshops, another Bright Green Business initiative, works with shops in the Sønderborg area enabling them to profile themselves towards their customers while at the same time doing their bit on behalf of the climate. The shops become windows on the area's climate initiatives and distinctive ZEROshops signs also make the shops part of a network of climate-friendly companies in which consumers are showing an increasing interest. Some 50 shops have already implemented substantial energy savings of between 10 and 40% and have been named as the area's first ZEROshops. They have all received advice and assistance when it comes to making obvious savings on their energy consumption. There has been plenty of positive feedback and more shops are now in the process of getting approval.

"Let us join forces to implement climate-wise solutions. It's easy to save money while showing consideration for the climate at the same time. We can't afford not to."  - ZEROshops - Foto Click , Christian Petersen, who has himself slashed 15% off his energy bill.

Friday, December 10, 2010 / By Signe Cecilie Jochumsen

Last updated Wednesday, June 18, 2014

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