Sustainable Cities™

Sunndal: Urban development in a climate perspective

With little more than 7,000 inhabitants, the Municipality of Sunndal has shown the world that small towns can have high climate ambitions. This is why Sunndal was nominated as a Nordic Energy Municipality 2011 finalist. Sunndal was chosen as a pilot municipality for Urban Development in a Climate Perspective by the project Green Energy Municipalities, initiated by the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS).


The aim of the project is to demonstrate how energy and climate issues can effectively be integrated into the planning processes of small and medium-sized municipalities.
This has resulted in a planning process in Sunndal Municipality where environmental issues and measures are analysed and prioritised. The process also includes a measuring system which documents quantification of the effect of the measures to be implemented. Among the specific measures in the municipal planning are:

  • The location of retail outlets and residential buildings in the centre of the town in order to reduce transport
  • The construction of new pedestrian and bicycle paths based on a travel habit survey
  • An increase in the use of waste heat for sustainable commercial development. The biggest aluminium works in Europe (Hydro Aluminium) is located in Sunndal. New industrial areas will be situated to allow optimal use of its waste energy. New sustainable industries are to be based on waste heat and aquaculture production of warm water spices and food production in green houses.

As the project has only just been completed, direct measurable effects are not yet available.

"Our vision is to utilise waterborne heat energy from waste reprocessing to heat public and private buildings, and to secure a sustainable industrial manufacturing and food production. We also seek to reduce energy usage of local transport through the densification of housing and retail businesses in Sunndal town centre. It is important that
a continuous network of bike lanes and roads are completed to promote environment-friendly transport. The local community has previously shown its ability to realise ambitious projects of international standards and we are confident that this project constitutes a huge step in the direction of meeting future challenges of town development in a climate perspective ". - Spokesman Ståle Refstie, Municipality of Sunndal

>> More information about the project

>> More information about the Nordic Energy Municipality

>> More information about the Nordic Energy Municipality 2011 - for new and sustainable efforts in the energy area Award Ceremony - 31st of October, 2011 at The Danish Architecture Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014