green city: Vaxjo
Renewable Energy - Biomass
Vaxjo, a small city of less than 100,000 residents, is on a quest to become carbon-neutral by 2050, in part by exploring alternative fuel technologies, including ethanol and biodiesel. The city has a small population with almost 3 people for every car, so the transformation to a fossil-free society might be relatively simple. The use of urban planning in the city has helped Vaxjo remain very green; the majority of the city has retained its natural setting, forest, which helps the city promote cycling and walking.
Vaxjo, Sweden, makes use of its very unique geography, as over half of the city is covered by forest, to produce renewable energy. Biomass and biofuels, mostly from wood chips, sawdust, bark and peat (forestry remnants), represent the major forms of energy for the city buildings and busses. Vaxjo's biomass production has a very low environmental impact.
The municipality ensures that forestry waste is transformed into biomass energy, which supplies about 40% of the electricity and an estimated 80% of heating for the city. Vaxjo sources most of its district heating from one biomass combined heat and power (cogeneration) plant. The city of Vaxjo also features a unique ecoBUDGET. Vaxjo's ecoBUDGET use the same model that decision makers use with fiscal resources, in managing natural resources. The ecoBUDGET has not only set the course for renewable energy programs, waste management/ recycling and conservation but also for cutting edge green building programs.
Homes not connected to the district heating network in Vaxjo are offered technology to convert their home heating systems into renewable energy based programs. Newly developed energy efficient buildings implement a variety of efficiency standards, such as strictly tested air tightness levels, efficiency standards for ventilation, smart metering of energy consumption and energy efficiency training for the local builders. The introduction of wooden “passive” homes require no electricity for heating and use only the barest minimum in terms of energy consumption.
Vaxjo, Sweden was the first city in the world to set a goal of becomming fossil fuel free; it did so back in 1996, and the goal is set fo the year 2050. Renewable energy, green urban planning and green building are three major, broad methods the city employs to achieve a fossil fuel-free Vaxjo. The fossil-free Vaxjo programs include the use of biomass for district heating, renewable energy for power generation, urban planning that reduces the need for cars, an increase in the use of electric and biofuel cars/ buses, and the use of advanced construction techniques.
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