There are many explanations for this success in Sønderborg. For example, the collective consumption of energy has been reduced by an impressive 15% since 2007. Solar cells continue to do their work on the buildings of the region, increasing the production of electricity from solar cells by 16% in 2015. And even though the consumption of electricity has again risen in Denmark, it continuously drops in the region of Sønderborg.
Green district heating becomes popular
One of the factors behind this satisfying result is that an increasing number of people convert to district heating, that green district heating is becoming popular, and that the consumption of natural gas used for heating residences fell by 11%. Opposite this are the manufacturing companies of the region (e.g. brickworks, industrial plants, food processing), which had such growth last year that industrial gas consumption rose by 11%. Nonetheless, overall carbon emission in Sonderborg fell by 5%!
Compliments and warnings from the mayor
“I wish to give both compliments and warnings”, says the city mayor, Erik Lauritzen. “Compliments to everyone, who are conscious about saving energy and support green energy. That goes for homeowners, landlords, housing associations, schools, sports associations, shops and companies, following the path set out by the municipality in its ambition to energy renovate buildings, installations and processes at a quicker pace than the rest of Denmark.
A warning must be issued to those, who believe that the entire region can have zero carbon footprint in 2029 solely through the efforts of others. To reach our goal, we need cooperation and clever initiative to continuously inspire and make energy consumers act and do (differently) in the coming years”, the mayor states.
Erik Lauritzen highlights that efforts made so far have, besides reducing carbon emission and creating hundreds of new jobs for craftsmen, also opened new doors in export to cities both near and far, inspired by the conversion taking place in Sønderborg. These many visiting corporate guests are an important foundation for increased growth in corporate tourism in Sønderborg.
The CEO of Sønderborg´s ProjectZero, Peter Rathje, is obviously focused on further reductions in carbon emission.
Soøderborg is challenged
“Going forward, the region of Sønderborg has its challenges, not least of which is making ourselves less dependent on importing electricity. With 50 million DKK in funding from the EU to the SmartEnCity project, we can accelerate the green transition of the region of Sønderborg. Green electricity is still at the centre of this,” Peter Rathje remarks, but he also highlights the need for more large heat pumps in district heating, PV solar cells on the roofs of the housing associations in the area, electric cars and more involvement of citizens/residents across housing types in order to further make the citizens into ambassadors for the green conversion of Sønderborg.