Aarhus CO2 neutral in 2030 - tackling climate change in EcoCity Aarhus
ÅRHUS CO2 NEUTRAL I 2030
Aarhus CO2 neutral in 2030
- Tackling climate change in EcoCity Aarhus
Table of contents
1. EcoCity Aarhus takes the lead in tackling climate change 3
2. A vision for the climate in Aarhus 5
3. The City of Aarhus has got plans for the climate 6
4. CO2 emission is monitored every year 7
5. Public solutions 9
Energy supply of the future 9
The light rail is on track 10
Aarhus Cycling City 11
Environmentally friendly vehicles in the streets 11
The forests are growing 13
6. Public participation 14
Citizens and employees play a part 14
Energy efficient houses help the climate – and your wallet 15
Climate ambassadors are front-runners 16
7. Cooperation with businesses and schools 17
A climate lab with innovative prospects 17
Climate partnerships accelerate cooperation 18
An innovation centre for energy and energy technology 19
A climate package for inspiration 20
The Climate Baton generates good ideas 20
8. Climate adaptation 21
The city must be protected from flooding 21
9. What about the future? 23
Editing and layout: Climate Secretariat, City of Aarhus, Valdemarsgade 18, DK-8000 Århus C. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Simon Jeppesen, Morten Jac, Colourbox, Finn Byrum
1. EcoCity Aarhus takes the lead in tackling
The City of Aarhus has committed itself to CO2 reduc-
The City of Aarhus will be CO2 neutral in 2030. This is the goal for Aarhus tion through several national and international agree-
– one of the six official EcoCities in Denmark. ments:
In 2007 the City Council of Aarhus set an ambitious goal: Aarhus will be CO2 neutral •In January 2009, the City of Aarhus was the first Dan-
in 2030. This goal underlines the fact that the City of Aarhus wants to be one of the top ish city to sign the Covenant of Mayors. This means that
climate friendly cities in Denmark. Ambitious plans have now lead to a deliberate and Aarhus has to reduce its energy consumption with more
productive course for tackling climate change in Aarhus. than 20 % before 2020.
But already in recent years the City of Aarhus has been making an effort to protect the •In March 2009 The City of Aarhus entered into a Curve
environment and the climate. Breaker Agreement with the Danish Electricity Saving
Trust for a four year period (2009-2012). This means
Environmental action plans, energy management systems, wastewater plans, green ac- that Aarhus has to reduce the annual electricity con-
counts and environmental appraisal of construction projects have been reality in Aarhus sumption of the municipal buildings with at least 2 % pr.
for several years and represent examples of how the city has been working with the year.
climate issue for a number of years.
•In March 2009 the City of Aarhus signed an agreement
Furthermore, Aarhus is one of the leading cities in the country when it comes to district with The Danish Society for Nature Conservation to
heating supply – among other things, a result of an efficient waste incineration system. become a so-called Climate Community. Among other
For many years the citizens of Aarhus have also had actual alternatives to the car be- things this means that Aarhus is obligated to reduce its
cause of the city’s many public transport possibilities and extensive cycle path system. CO2 emissions by 2 % each year until 2030.
2. A vision for the climate in Aarhus
The vision for the climate in the City of Aarhus has been drawn up on the
basis of the political goal of reaching CO2 neutrality in 2030. The vision
“In order to develop a sustainable city, Aarhus takes the lead in the effort to tackle
climate change by means of initiatives involving buildings and physical structures as
well as citizens’ behaviour. The City of Aarhus will sweep before its own door, carry out
demonstration projects and influence national legislation”.
The vision is carried out through concrete efforts to tackle climate change – building on
• Holistic thinking
• Synergy between different players
• Long-term perspective
3. The City of Aarhus has got plans
for the climate
The climate plan for the City of Aarhus consists of several generations of
climate plans reaching towards 2030. The plans each have a two year per-
spective in order to guarantee progress, adjustment and evaluation.
The climate plans are versatile, and they prioritise and coordinate across the municipal
organization, the business community and educational institutions.
”Climate change is a fact – globally and locally – no matter how much we try to pull the
emergency brake”, says Claus Nickelsen, director of the City of Aarhus’ Climate Secre-
tariat, - “But we can work towards making sure that the consequences of climate change
do not become even worse. Innovation, new forms of cooperation, new technology,
collective solutions and climate friendly habits are all key words when we want to reach
the goal of CO2 neutrality in Aarhus. To reach our goals the climate plans represent an
Carbon footprint in the workplace
In 2007, the CO2 emission from the City of Aarhus as a
business organization was approx. 110,000 tonnes. This
corresponds to about 5 % of the total emission and to an
4. CO2 emission is monitored every year average of 4.7 tonnes pr. full time employee. This is why
the City of Aarhus is also focusing on reducing CO2 emis-
sion from the City of Aarhus as a business organization.
Aarhus was the first city in Denmark to monitor and map its total CO2 E.g.:
emission. Furthermore, the City of Aarhus has participated in the develop-
• Energy management system in the Department of Techni-
ment of an instrument – the CO2 calculator – that other cities now use to cal Services and Environment: Implementation of certified
monitor their CO2 emission. energy management and exchange of experience with the
other departments. The focus is on how the City of Aarhus
The foundation for working with the climate plans is an annual CO2 mapping where as a business organization reduces its energy consumption
Aarhus calculates its emission from the geographical area of Aarhus as well as from and its impact on the environment.
the City of Aarhus as a business organization. In this way, the City of Aarhus obtains an
awareness of where the city needs to focus its attention and the opportunity to estimate • Municipal buildings and facilities: One of the largest
the effect of its efforts. investments in the Climate Plan 2010-2011 is connected
to the municipal buildings. They are to become energy ef-
The most recent mapping shows a CO2 emission of 2,210,000 tonnes – the equivalent ficient, both when it comes to renovation and new develop-
of 7.5 tonnes pr. citizen. 94 % of the CO2 emission comes from heat, electricity and ments, according to the Danish building regulations of Low
transportation – something we all use. Therefore, an efficient effort to tackle climate Energy Class 1. The work will take the form of demonstra-
change requires participation and action from every citizen as well as the entire business tion projects.
In the long term, it is the intention that the heat supply in the City of Aarhus will be CO2 neutral
5. Public solutions
Four cornerstones for working with climate change
Energy supply of the future
When working with climate change, the City of Aarhus has
The City of Aarhus has got a unique heating supply system. 95 % of all four cornerstones. This ensures a holistic and long-term
households are connected to the system. The goal is CO2 neutral heating effort:
• Public solutions: An environmentally friendly heating
supply, quality traffic solutions – e.g. a light rail and better
An innovative climate adapted heating plan and a number of specific projects will make
conditions for cyclists
the heating supply system in Aarhus CO2 neutral long term, e.g. there are plans to utilize
the heat from the municipal incineration plant even better.
• Public participation: The home owner, car owner, the con-
sumer, the employee and the citizen all contribute to the
At the moment, the climate adapted heating plan takes the form of an ambitious discus-
reduction of CO2 emission
sion paper for the decision-makers. The paper illustrates three scenarios – each able to
bring about CO2 neutral heating supply. Even though the climate adapted heating plan
• Cooperation with the business world, consultants, com-
has not yet been passed, the City of Aarhus has already launched several initiatives to
panies and educational institutions: The business world
make the heating supply more climate and energy friendly.
and different types of companies as well as research and
educational institutions are important partners
The municipal incineration plant in the suburb of Lisbjerg has been upgraded, and it is
now possible to utilize some of the heat from the flue gas which otherwise would have
• Climate adaptation: Protection against flooding and other
gone out through the chimney and vanished into thin air. Also, the renovation of two old
consequences of climate change
furnace rooms has increased the energy production at the plant. These are both important
steps towards a CO2 neutral Aarhus, since energy from the incineration plant is now close
The four cornerstones illustrate the foundation of the daily
to CO2 neutral. All in all, the upgrades contribute to a yearly reduction in CO2 emission
work with climate change in the City of Aarhus. All concrete
of 60,000 tonnes. Also the citizens of Aarhus are capable recyclers. Every year the six
projects are carried out based on these four cornerstones.
recycling centres in Aarhus count 1.2 mil. visits, 67 % of all waste is recycled and 31 % is
utilized for incineration and heating supply.
The light rail is on track
The City of Aarhus wants to promote sustainable forms of transporta-
tion. In January 2009, the Danish National Parliament reached a trans-
port agreement earmarking DKK 500 mil. to the first stage of the light rail
project in Aarhus.
As early as in 2000, the City Council decided that the solution of the city’s traffic-related
problems should come from prioritising busses and other forms of public transporta-
tion, especially transportation by rail. Since then, the municipalities of eastern Jutland
have formed a cooperation to establish a “Vision for the light rail”. The light rail will offer
commuters a very fast, sustainable and comfortable alternative to the car. When the light
rail takes its maiden trip in 2015 the rails will have been interlinked with the “Odder Rail-
road” south of the city and the “Grenå Railroad” to the north – with new trains to follow
on these railroads. New rails will be built – stretching from the city centre and 12 kilome-
tres out via the suburbs of Skejby, Lisbjerg and Lystrup in the northern part of Aarhus.
With an expected “park and ride” facility in connection with both the northern high way
and the light rail, the commuters will benefit from fast and efficient public transportation
while avoiding parking problems.
Additionally, the electric light rail in the urban area of Aarhus makes room for urban
renewal, followed by enhanced quality of life as well as less noise and pollution in the
Studies show that in order for citizens to choose public transportation, it is very impor-
tant to have frequent departures. This is why the City of Aarhus is planning a light rail
with up to 12 departures an hour.
With this project, the City of Aarhus is well on the way to creating an efficient public
transport system, which will benefit both the city and the surrounding areas.
Aarhus Cycling City
The City of Aarhus is a so-called Bicycle City and bike riders are a well es-
tablished part of the street traffic in Aarhus.
The city’s 250 kilometres of bicycle lanes contribute to making it appealing to go by bike.
The City Council has passed a bicycle action plan of 65 million DKK which will make con-
ditions for the local cyclists even better. Soon we will see more and better bicycle lanes,
bicycle barometers and bicycle parking facilities. Other than that, the City of Aarhus has
developed a new device that will be set up in certain intersections to warn cyclists of
potential accidents involving trucks making right turns.
Environmentally friendly vehicles in the streets
The dedication to environmentally friendly vehicles is a reality.
Cutting back on car traffic is possibly one of the most difficult challenges in the effort to
tackle climate change. That said the electric car shows particular potential as the most
CO2 friendly transportation technology to challenge conventional petrol and diesel
fuelled cars. That is why the City of Aarhus will work to promote environmentally friendly
vehicles in the streets in cooperation with other companies.
The goal is to introduce electric cars, electric bicycles and other environmentally friendly
vehicles in the municipal organisation as well as develop principles for and trial versions
of charging stations for electric cars in the urban area of Aarhus.
The forests are growing
The City of Aarhus has ambitious plans for the local forests and the inten-
tion is to increase the absorption of CO2 in nature zones. By 2030 the for-
est area in the City of Aarhus will have doubled.
Well kept forests are among the finest characteristics of Aarhus. This is underlined by the
fact that the forests of Aarhus are estimated to have more than three mil. visitors every
The forests benefit the city, the citizens and the climate. And both new and existing forests
play an important part when it comes to environmental protection and the efforts to tackle
climate change. Every hectare of new forest absorbs around 14 tonnes of CO2 annually.
Furthermore, the forests provide maximum protection of our drinking water. In the future
more wetlands will be established in the existing forests, which generates more storage of
CO2 as well as buffer zones for an increase in rainfall. Ultimately, new forests create high-
quality nature zones in the local area.
The Municipal Plan 2009 for the City of Aarhus includes a plan to double the existing for- The amount of CO2 present in the atmosphere can be reduced in two
est area by 2030 – corresponding to 3200 hectares of new forest. Elements of the plan are ways: By emitting less CO2 and by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere.
already being launched with the allocation of DKK 38 mil. over the next three years to plant By means of photosynthesis trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and
bind the carbon in the biomass of the forest. CO2 absorption is continu-
320 hectares of new forest. The new forests will be both public and private forests because
ous during the growth period of the tree – up to 90 years
the plan entails attractive subsidy schemes promoting private afforestation.
6. Public participation
Citizens and employees play a part
It is important to involve the citizens of Aarhus in the effort to combat cli-
mate change, to offer them inspiration so that they implement new climate
friendly habits in general and start renovating their houses in an energy
The citizens of Aarhus are the source of a large part of the CO2 emission in Aarhus.
Consequently, the citizens must be offered solutions on how to make a climate friendly
life easier. E.g. there is great potential in the new technical solutions making it easier to
monitor one’s own energy consumption. Also, it is possible to generate considerable
reductions by purchasing low energy household electrical appliances and by carrying out
energy renovation on private houses. Campaigns and social media contribute to mak-
ing citizens aware of the climate challenges. And ultimately, by boosting awareness of
climate issues among local school children we make sure that future adults are equipped
to continue the job of tackling climate change.
These are all themes that the City of Aarhus has a dedicated focus on. The City’s climate
web site - www.CO2030.dk - is continuously developed to offer citizens the knowledge
and the tools required to be a climate friendly home owner, consumer, child or adult in
the City of Aarhus. 14
Energy efficient houses help the climate
– and your wallet
Both the climate and your wallet benefit from an energy efficient house.
The City of Aarhus assists in the process by means of measuring heat loss
from houses, subsidy schemes and climate partnerships.
In the spring of 2009 the first thermographic overflight of Aarhus was performed to
measure the heat loss from houses and buildings. The overflight provided a clear illus-
tration of the fact that much can be done by reducing energy consumption in the houses
and buildings of the city. Therefore, the City of Aarhus will launch a service where citizens
and companies can see how much excess heat their buildings emit – on the basis of
thermographic overflights. The service is available from the end of 2010.
Accompanied by a climate partnership with the Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy
and their online energy guide for houses, the citizens of Aarhus will be provided with
knowledge of where and how to start energy renovation of their houses.
Other than that, the City’s department for Waste and Heat offers the citizens a subsidy
scheme encouraging energy renovation of their houses. This popular cash injection
makes it easier to be an energy friendly home owner in Aarhus.
Climate ambassadors are front-runners
The City of Aarhus has got 30.000 employees. The goal is to make climate
a key issue so that all employees can develop new climate friendly habits
and at the same time motivate others.
In order to intensify the effort towards the City’s own employees a group of municipal
climate ambassadors have been appointed. The climate ambassadors are all active when
it comes to involving their colleagues and the entire work place in the efforts to tackle cli-
mate change – e.g. by introducing AutoPowerOff plug banks at the work place or to create
awareness of the City’s goal to become CO2 neutral in 2030.
One of the climate ambassadors is Jim, age 40, it consultant in the Mayor’s Department.
”The climate issue has to be top priority in the media and each of us have to show the way.
If we want to be able to do something about the challenges we are facing, the unpopular
decisions have to be made at a central level. There is a need for more stick than carrot!”
7. Cooperation with businesses and schools
A climate lab with innovative prospects
The City of Aarhus wants to support industrial development in connection with climate
issues. The possibility of creating new solutions and technologies to the benefit of both
citizens and companies in Aarhus is emphasised by the fact that the City of Aarhus
aspires to enter into climate partnerships with relevant players. The City of Aarhus is also
planning to help companies with energy reduction as well as participate in the develop-
ment of an innovation centre for energy.
The City of Aarhus’ goal to become CO2 neutral in 2030 offers the city great opportuni-
ties of becoming a fascinating demonstration city where companies can test and experi-
ence new energy and climate solutions. Overall, the dialogue with the business world,
research and educational institutions is crucial if the city wants to achieve its goals of
CO2 neutrality in 2030. Both in order to reduce emissions and strengthen the industrial
development and research efforts, but also to kick off innovative climate-related projects.
Therefore we need to boost cooperation between the Central Denmark Region, local
knowledge institutions, companies, consultants and the City of Aarhus.
Climate partnerships accelerate cooperation
In November 2009 the City of Aarhus entered into a climate partnership
with DONG Energy and an agreement with NRGi is just around the corner.
More climate partnerships are on the way.
The climate partnership with NRGi is expected to launch a series of initiatives, e.g.
cooperation within the framework of communication and public participation, charging
stations for hybrid cars and electric cars, energy monitors for municipal buildings as well
as knowledge sharing on several other matters. The partnership with DONG Energy will
become very important for a CO2 neutral heating supply. Among other things, the goal
of this partnership is to convert one of the facilities at the Studstrup Power Plant into a
biomass generated heating system. This means that a significant part of the district heat-
ing in the City of Aarhus will eventually be based solely on CO2 neutral fuels.
Anders Eldrup, group managing director of DONG Energy, says:
”It is a positive and strong signal that the second largest city in Denmark wants to be so
specific about its ambitious climate strategy in cooperation with DONG Energy. The City
of Aarhus has set the bar high and we look forward to a profitable collaboration”.
Managing Director Søren Sørensen of NRGi comments on the climate partnership:
“The agreement can (…) contribute to significant CO2 reduction both for the City of
Aarhus and for the climate in general”.
The Climate Secreatriat at Aarhus University
An innovation centre for energy and energy
Søren Sørensen, Managing Director at NRGi
A wide circle of players across industry, education, research and development as well as
public authorities – including the City of Aarhus – want to establish a new innovation
centre in the Aarhus Docklands – an international beacon of technology: Navitas Park.
Navitas Park has got two energy-related objectives:
• That the building attains classification as a Low Energy Class 1 construction which
means that the energy consumption of operations cannot be more than 50 % of the
standard building code
• That students, teachers, researchers and entrepreneurs are actively involved in reduc-
ing the energy consumption determined by the users’ behaviour.
It is planned that the building itself will have the characteristics of an energy lab where
the building components and installations are directly applicable in daily education, Keld Laursen, Associate Rector
at the Aarhus School of Engineering
development and research.
A climate package for inspiration
There is great potential for saving energy in manufacturing companies as well as other
kinds of companies. A barrier for reducing energy consumption is often a lack of over-
view of the different methods for energy reduction as well as a lack of in depth mapping
of the energy consumption in the individual company. Therefore, the City of Aarhus is in-
troducing a climate package to offer inspiration to companies as to how they can reduce
their energy consumption.
The climate package will consist of different tools and options, which will support the
process of identifying and implementing efforts to reduce energy consumption.
The Climate Baton generates good ideas
The most important asset of a company is its employees. The launch of a ”Climate
Baton” will create focus on energy habits, and the employees’ many ideas for tackling cli-
mate change will be the starting point for knowledge sharing. The Climate Baton started
at The Danish Broadcasting Corporation in October 2009 and during the following year
the baton will visit 12 private and public companies. On the web site, www.CO2030.dk,
the City of Aarhus tells the stories of energy-related experiences and know-how collected
from the companies – for the inspiration of others.
This is how Aarhus adapts to climate change
8. Climate adaptation • Making room for controlled flooding – e.g. by establishing
wetlands in the river valleys
The city must be protected from flooding • High water locks at the mouths of the Aarhus and Egaa
Among other things, climate change causes more heavy rain fall and a higher water level • Less maintenance of the streams. This causes water to
in the Bay of Aarhus. In many cases sewers and sewage treatment plants do not have the be retained in the streams and the areas surrounding the
capacity to handle such large amounts of water – risking both flooding and water pollu- streams
tion. Therefore, the effort is positioned on several fronts.
• Mapping areas in danger of being flooded
Climate change also means periods of increased flow of water in the streams, more
water in the lakes and periods of almost dried-up streams. A higher water level in the Bay • Establishing early warning systems in case of flood risk
of Aarhus could lead to flooding of Aarhus city centre along the Aarhus Stream running
through the city. • Making the city’s water an integrated part of urban develop-
Aarhus is also close to the water! From north to south stretching along the bay and from ment
east to west stretching along the Aarhus Stream and the Egaa Stream. With the prospect
of heavier rain fall and an increased water level in streams, lakes and the bay – this is not • Planning new urban areas where water will not be a prob-
without problems. lem but to the benefit of both citizens, environment and
Planning with consideration for a potential increase in the water levels as well as heavier
and more frequent rain fall shows that the city is able to make the necessary adjustments • Reorganisation of sewage systems so that rain and waste-
before the actual problems arrive. Planning can be done by adapting existing and future water are diverted separately
urban zones, roads and other technical facilities to a change in climate and by consider-
ing nature and landscape as essential elements of climate adaptation. • Local management of rain water
9. What about the future?
Reduction of CO2 emission is one of two main challenges when it comes
to our climate. Adaptation of society to a changed climate is the other.
In the coming years climate has to be integrated into many different contexts, e.g. the
work culture in the City’s organisation, innovation and development, business promo-
tion, education and educational institutions, purchasing and operations, planning, utility
supply and large initiatives like European City of Culture 2017.
The climate plans will be used for:
• creating an overview as well as coordinating and prioritising the many different initia
tives and projects
• securing a lasting focus on the issue as well as involving citizens and the business
• continuous evaluation of whether the total effort is adequate for reaching the goal of
CO2 neutrality by 2030
In many ways the climate plans will have major influence on a number of the decisions
that the City of Aarhus as well as the citizens and the companies will be making during
the coming years.