Swedish city builds sustainable urban district

The city of Malmo in southern Sweden is building a new residential and commercial district that is intended to be a leading example of sustainable development in a high-density urban environment.

The city authorities have dedicated 1,500 m2 of premium-location land for the project, which will be built by commercial developers who are contractually obliged to meet certain sustainability criteria, Leif Sjorgen of the energy contractors, Sydkraft, told edie. The infrastructure should be in place by the autumn, with 70 show homes ready for a European housing exhibition in 2001.

The district will be entirely powered by locally produced renewable energy, using energy from solar, wind, and wastewater sources, as well as a range of energy efficiency measures. Also, householders will be given the opportunity to track their own energy consumption. Although the district will be connected to the grid, it aims to have zero net energy consumption.

The site enjoys wind conditions that are among the best on Sweden’s west coast, so modern wind power will be a key component. Also, solar collectors will be naturally integrated into the architecture.

A heat pump will be used for heat generation, with seasonal storage in the limestone aquifer under the Western Harbour site. Heat will be stored during the warm months and pumped up and included in the energy system during the winter. By extracting heat in the winter frmo the warm aquifer, there is a natural cooling of the aquifer which can then be used to cool buildings in the summer.

Biogas from Malmo’s central biogas plant will be returned to the district and burnt in a local generator to produce heat and electricitiy. Before wastewater reaches the biogas plant, heat will already have been reclaimed by the city’s central heat pump plant.

Hertz has agreed to organise a car pool, and give 30% cheaper rates for gas an electric vehicles, said Sjorgen. Some parts, though, will be closed to traffic, with a network of pedestrian and cycle paths, and environmentally compatible public transport.

Wastewater will be used as a raw material. Phosphorus and nitrogen will be recovered and used in agriculture, and methane will be used for power generation. Rubbish will be sorted for recycling, with some fractions also used for methane production.

All buildings will be constructed using environmentally compatible and resource efficient products and materials. And the organisers say that environmental and quality requirements will govern the whole process, from initial planning to recycling if the area has to be demolished.

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