Strong interest for green defence-workshop in Sonderborg

More than 60 experts from nine countries will participate in NATO's advanced research workshop focused on Triple Net ZERO in Sonderborg next week. This is twice as many as expected.

Gunpowder smoke has subsided from the Sonderborg battlefield Dybbol, and the Military Academy of the city has vacated barracks. But Sonderborg still manages to make itself the centre of military interest. This week Sonderborg and the Mads Clausen Institute at the University of Southern Denmark, will be hosting a three day NATO seminar – a so called “advanced research workshop” focused on transition to a greener defence.

The conference takes place in the Alsion Building, close to the redoubts from the war in 1864. The participants will have the opportunity to experience the historic battle field. Photo: History Center Dybbol.

The location of the workshop is largely due to ProjectZero - Sonderborg's vision to become a CO2 neutral region by 2029. At the seminar, which gathers both military leaders and researchers, there will be workshops and discussions focused on Triple Net ZERO (management of energy, water and waste) - especially aimed at military bases which often are of about the same size as Sonderborg. It is the objective to explore and convey ‘best practice’ among NATO member states. This will supposedly have a knock-on effect on civil society. There are therefore also working groups on awareness and communication, planning and decision making. A book which is to be the outcome of the seminar will be available for all interested parties.

When the Triple Net ZERO workshop in Sonderborg was planned, the expectation was around 30 participants, but more than 60 from nine countries have enrolled. The most prominent participant is the Honorable Ms. Katherine Hammack, the Assistant Secretary of the US Army for Installations, Energy and Environment (ASA IE&E), who will present  at the official dinner held Wednesday evening at Sonderborg Castle.

The official program begins Tuesday afternoon with speeches by Sonderborg's deputy mayor, Aase Nyegaard, among others. Before the opening the participants will have the opportunity to visit ProjectZero best practice demonstrations cases in and around Sonderborg, with special emphasis on energy efficient house construction and green district heating. By the end of Tuesday the participants will visit the battle fields of Dybbol and learn about how energy, water and waste were managed during the war 1864 against the Prussians. This was the bloodiest battle in a war in which Denmark lost a third of its territory.

Strong local support

The seminar in Sonderborg was created in a collaboration between ProjectZero-director Peter Rathje, professor Michael Goodsite, Head of the Department of Technology and Innovation, SDU and professor Sirkku Juhola, University of Helsinki.  Professor Goodsite served in the past as officer in the US Army and NATO. The partners suggested the seminar to NATO on the basis of their knowledge of growing interest in green transition in the US military.

- Also the Danish Defence is very focused on the green transition. It has a defined strategy, monitor progress and expand the use of green solutions like PV-plants, green district heating and electric cars, says Peter Rathje, who therefore welcomes also the participation from companies of the region that deal with green technology, including Danfoss, Esbensen Engineers and the CLEAN cluster organization. Moreover the seminar has received financial support from among other the Danfoss-foundation, the Linak Company and Sonderborg Municipality.

Goodsite says “the vision of the conference is to work for a future where military installations may be utilized as “green development laboratories” enabling green growth and optimizing operations such that precious resources may be used on other aspects of operations than energy, water and waste needs.”



16. February 2015

Press conference

A press conference will be held on Thursday, February 19th at noon, 12 pm. in Alsion, Alsion 2, 6400 Sønderborg.

US Deputy Defence Secretary Kathrine Hammack, and Professor Michael Good Site will participate.

Further details can be obtained from:

The managing director of ProjectZero, Peter Rathje: tel. +45 40 40 86 36, email:

Professor Michael Goodsite: +45 60 11 25 57 email:

Participants at conference in the Alsion Building have a view across the fjord to Sonderborg’s former Military Academy. It was built in the region’s German time as marine station, and now it is the reception center for refugees from Syria.

Photo: Sonderborg Municipality