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Swedish Suburb Teaches Lessons on Green Living

Posted January. 06, 2010 02:58,   


The European Commission has honored the Swedish capital of Stockholm as the continent’s environmental capital this year.

A Dong-A Ilbo reporter Dec. 9 last year visited Hammarby Sjostad, a new town about six kilometers southeast of Stockholm, by taking the subway and trams from downtown Stockholm.

At a gas station on a street corner, an employee of a building management company was seen refueling his van. What he was putting into the vehicle was not gas but biofuel.

He said, “Biogas is helpful in cutting costs not only because it’s cheaper but also because it`s also more efficient.”

The gas station sells three types of fuel, including ethanol, gas with 95 octane, and diesel. The price signboard read 9.59 krona (1.37 U.S. dollars) per liter of ethanol, 12.45 krona (1.78 dollars) for gas, and 11.81 krona (1.69 dollars) for diesel.

Most buses and vans driving on the streets of Stockholm and Hammarby Sjostad use biofuel produced from the recycling of organic waste, including sewage and food residue from households. Households also use biofuel as well.

Jan Johansson, a customer at a fast food restaurant near the gas station, said, “It’s right to say that biofuel used in a household gas oven is generated by recycling sewage from the house.”

Stellan Fryxell, a partner at Tengbon Architects, a leading construction company in Sweden, introduced Hammarby Sjostad the Dong-A reporter. Fryxell accompanied Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in a bilateral summit with Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Stockholm last year.

“President Lee asked me what an eco-city and a sustainable city were. I replied with a single word: infrastructure,” Fryxell said.

Hammarby is a culmination of zero-carbon infrastructure. On the Stockholm suburb’s carbon-zero infrastructure, Fryxell said Hammarby Sjostad has secrets: a green power grid, a sewage and garbage recycling system, a district heating system, a low carbon public transportation system, and insulated buildings that maximize energy efficiency.

“Thanks to this infrastructure, Sweden has reduced its dependency on oil and coal to less than 50 percent over the past 30 years,” he said.