The climate change is an important issue to citizens of Sonderborg. The entire Sonderborg-area is involved in the vision of creating a CO2-neutral growth area before 2029, creating and demonstrating new solutions, robust measurable CO2 reductions, new green jobs and a talented generation of young people.
Far too long, the focus of climate discussions have been academic and political discussions mainly. In Sonderborg, citizens, businesses and politicians since 2007 have taken action instead of talking. The public-private partnership – ProjectZero – was created to inspire and drive Sonderborg´s transition to a ZEROcarbon community by 2029, based on improved energy efficiency, conversion of energy sources into renewables and by creating participation of all stakeholders to reach the ambitious goal: CO2-neutral growth and sustainable urban development.
A house that produces more energy than its residents are able to consume, green district heating and ZERO+ companies, shops and schools are some of many examples of the new solutions created in Sonderborg. Town residents are collaborating on new green investments, while farmers are erecting their own wind turbines, demonstrating the broad support for the ProjectZero vision.
25 % less CO2 in 2015
By 2015, the area’s CO2 emissions will be 25% lower than in 2007. This goal will be reached by significantly more efficient energy consumption and increasing energy supply from the area’s own renewable energy sources.
The underground of Als contains bubbling hot water used for CO2-neutral district heating. Expanding the district heating networks and turning energy sources green is progressing and has already reduced the carbon emissions from urban heating by more than 50%. Manure and straw from farming will be converted into green energy and green fertilizer in large biogas plants.
Education is vital
New, clever and innovative green thinking will be required to combat the climate challenge. Therefore, a core aspect of ProjectZero is providing education at all levels – from Kindergarten to PhD, the climate must be in focus. At kindergartens and schools, children gain inspiration and the latest knowledge so that they can influence their parents with the latest knowledge.
Sonderborg Municipality has successfully implemented energy consultant courses for municipal service workers, after which the municipality’s energy consumption has fallen significantly. At the same time, massive efforts have been made to educate the area’s tradesmen and unskilled workers in energy renovations. This goes very well hand in hand with the Municipality´s ambitious investment in energy retrofit of own building stock, PV-production facilities on schools and LED street lighting.
1,200 homeowners have been visited
The Sonderborg area will serve as a role model for the rest of the world. Not by wagging fingers, but simply with a fundamental belief that we can utilize our energy much better than we do today. This applies to store owners, farmers and business leaders alike.
And it applies to the area’s 18,600 home owners, who will now gain inspiration and knowledge about energy renovations that both ensure future housing values and reduce energy consumption. 1,200 homeowners has received free energy advice. More than 900 homeowners have already sparked a growing demand for contractors who can implement energy renovations.
The number of green jobs is growing – due to local demand, and because the ProjectZero vision bolsters exports and interest in the area companies from many countries. Including China, where the Haiyan County has been inspired by Sonderborg and both cities are now role models in the EU China Urbanization partnership..
ProjectZero is about creating sustainable cities all around the world – not just in Sonderborg. This will make us all independent of fossil fuels while creating thousands of new green jobs in industry, trades and service.
Denmark's largest tracked photovoltaic facility is installed at Linak