Exploring the world's built environments and seeking sustainable solutions.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reducing Energy Consumption at Hammarby Sjostad

On Wednesday, we went to Hammarby Sjostad, a former brownfield waterfront that the city has transformed into one of its twelve growth/infill redevelopment areas. This large-scale mixed-use project is intended to embody the best environmental design principles of the last decade. With over 10,000 residents and 6,000 jobs, the project is well on its way to being built out. The project won’t be completed for another 5+ years.

We decided to focus on the ways in which they are trying to minimize energy demand and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel impacts.

Fundamental to saving energy is the high-density, mixed-use design less than a 10-minute tram and subway ride to downtown Stockholm on land that was formerly dedicated to polluting, industrial uses. As a results of this and other innovations listed below, Hammarby has already achieved 2/3 of its trips by transit, ferry, bike and walking. Only 1/3 of its trips are from private automobile.

Here are some of the ways that energy reduction is being achieved.

  • High-density housing mixed with jobs, recreation and services
  • Development is served by multiple transit modes: tram, bus, ferry
  • Walkable, bikeable development that is largely car-free
  • Highly efficient district heating system
  • Co-generation of electricity and heat produced from waste products
  • Bio-gas for buses and trucks produced from sewage and household organic waste
  • Structures required to meet high energy efficiency standards. (Several students noticed, and experts confirmed, that the buildings did not live up to their original energy ratings because of the extensive use of glass for aesthetics, light and air.)
  • Re-use of historic buildings - less consumption of materials
  • Landscaping is not manicured. Grass-cycling is evident - clippings are left for mulch. Developers preserved the oak forest and created restored wetlands
  • Limited parking is available and spots are high-priced, with preferential parking given to car sharing

28 students visited the development and found evidence of these energy-saving techniques as they walked around. Here are some of their impressions:

“I appreciate that there are plenty of places for people to be outside of their homes. People don’t need to travel far to enjoy the sunshine.”

“It seemed that there was a lot of glass everywhere, and in California that wouldn’t fly. They are trying to maximize the amount of sun, but they are paying the price. Gets really hot in the summer and loses heat in the winter.”

“The design aspect of very few cars and many bicycles, means less car trips and less carbon dioxide.”

Today we wandered around Stockholm in the rain. Stay tuned for our next entry on what makes a city walkable. Skol!

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