China faces serious challenges of limited space in the cities, as well as struggles to lower their energy consumption. However, it seems that Sonderborg might have found the solution to the problem.
Sonderborg Municipality´s so called ProjectZero vision aims at making the Sonderborg area CO2-neutral by 2029.
- A small city in Denmark, Sonderborg, and Haiyan has developed a concept for Zero Carbon Buildings. These are now spreading across China. (…) We have listened to you. “– Stated the President for the EU Commission, Jean Claude Juncker at the EU-China conference on the Chinese urbanization in Brussels the 29th of June, 2015.
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The recognition from the EU Commission’s President emphasizes the value of the well-composed concept that attracts attention around the world.
At this moment, Consult Engineer Torben Esbensen is finishing the plans of a brand new, sustainable, urban area in Haiyan.
-We look at how the houses should be build, as well as at the future supply of energy in the district. We look at the water supply, the waste management and the traffic, says Consult Engineer Torben Esbensen.
A beginning of something bigger
Torben Esbensen has recently sent the first draft to Haiyan in China, and if everything runs according to plan, the project will be ready to start within the next two months.
Although this is big by itself, Sonderborg hopes that the six square kilometer urban area can lead to an even larger export adventure for Southern Denmark.
Haiyan is also planning to build a 12 square kilometer new, sustainable city district – aimed to function as a demonstration city for the entire China.
-If the first project becomes a success, we hope to be involved in the next project as well, says Torben Esbensen.
Potential growth for other Danish companies
In 2013, EU and China entered into a Partnership Agreement on Sustainable Urban Development. In 2013, on November 21st at the Urbanization Conference in Beijing in China, the agreement resulted in 12 concrete collaborations between Chinese and European cities. One of these collaboration agreements is between Sonderborg Municipality and Haiyan County in China. Danish Energy Management & Esbensen cooperate with Sonderborg Municipality and has provided products and services in the first phase of the cooperation that includes a Zero Carbon Building, a new sustainable urban area and education.
In case that Sonderborg is chosen for the next project in Haiyan, there is a solid base for an export adventure, says Poul Valdemar Jensen, leader of the partnership between Sonderborg and the Chinese city Haiyan.
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- Sonderborg contributes to open the door to Haiyan, and to create a platform for Danish companies. If we are considered for the next project, it gives great opportunities for Danish companies to supply services and products, says Poul Valdemar Nielsen.
He points towards the fact that China is in the middle of a big transition. Today, 50 percent of the Chinese population live in the cities, but this number is expected to rise to 80 percent in 2030.
- This means that China will build a "new Germany" every sixth year. And in Sonderborg and Denmark we can use this to create potential growth, says Poul Valdemar Nielsen.