Go Green with Aarhus (Aarhus - Denmark)

Case Study

Go Green with Aarhus (Aarhus - Denmark)

The City of Aarhus has the ambitious goal of becoming a carbon neutral society by 2030. As Denmark’s second largest city and one of the fastest growing economies of the country, Aarhus has challenged itself to comprehensively address the issue of climate change, relying on its citizens and corporate partners to turn its vision into reality.

Commercial development and intelligent urban growth are two pre-requisites of the city’s transformation, and the City Council has taken them into account in the climate plan that was designed and launched in 2007.

Some projects are already well underway and even begin to produce some results: for instance, in 2016 the city switched to a green district heating and electricity system that burns biomass instead of coal; the new light railway will reduce the use of fossil fuels in public transportation; and the energy renovation programme for council buildings will bring considerable energy savings.

The City has a series of target demonstration projects in 5 areas: Water and climate adaption (involving rainwater and waste water, groundwater, water supply and adaption of the city for more water); Growth (to stimulate business growth); Innovative partnerships (creating added-value and smart solutions through knowledge sharing and cooperation); Attractive city (making the city more attractive by developing recreational areas and opportunities); CO2 neutral (develop carbon reducing solutions that stimulate business growth and support the goal of carbon neutrality).






Case study city(ies)
Case study country(ies)
Agencie(s) involved in the case

Improved solid waste management;

Improved Bio-Waste management;

Improved Water management;

Improved Energy management;

Improved Intelligent Transport Systems;

Improved Health for Citizens.


Description of the specific objectives:

- Aarhus aims to become CO2 neutral by 2030, as a step along the way towards a fossil-free society (Denmark has set a goal of being independent of fossil fuels by 2050);

- Turn Aarhus into an attractive city to work and live;

- Combine the climate efforts that are undertaken with economic growth.


City of Aarhus and a wide range of partners: Agro Food Park; ALECTIA; Arkitema; AURA Energi; AVK International; Boligforeningen Ringgården; COWI A/S; Danish Management Group; DELTA; DHI; DONG Energy; ecoBETA; Ecopark;  Energiselskabet OK; Energitjenesten Midtjylland; EnviDan; Growing Trees Network; Grundfos; Kamstrup; Megavol; Merkur Andelskasse; Midttrafik; NCC Property Development; NCC Roads; NIRAS; NRGi; Orbicon; Pluskontoret Architects; Rambøll; Grontmij; Danish Technological Institute; VIA University College; Wavin; WorldPerfect; Aarhus University; Aarhus Water; Aarsleff.


Climate change is a serious challenge that will require a huge amount of creativity in coming up with the right solutions to achieve sustainable development.

Solutions deployed

Highly efficient green district heating system; biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant; wind and solar power; intelligent district heating metres; sensors for water quality monitoring; sensors, radars, and early warning systems to notify about large amounts of rainfall; biogas production plants; photovoltaic panels; green sustainable buildings; attractive eco-friendly housing development; planting of new trees to prevent water pollution; pump for heat extraction from seawater.


The target demonstration projects in the 5 areas mentioned above are the following:

- Water and climate adaption: Real-time data on waste water will ease overflow prioritisation; Real-time control of water from cloudbursts to prevent pollution of bathing areas in Aarhus Bay; Rainwater from cloudbursts to give all-round value (More information on these projects here: https://goo.gl/KXr179);

- CO2 neutrality: Purification plant goes from energy user to generator; Ambitious plans pave the way for green heat; The waterworks of the future; Heating in Aarhus to be independent of fossil fuels; Energy-optimisation and a carefully-worded invitation to tender were key for the new building at Grøndalsvej 1 (More information on these projects here: https://goo.gl/UDeir7);

- Aarhus Attractive city: Attractive housing with water in the centre; Frederiksgade revived with the climate in mind; New heating meters mean savings for customers; New woodlands will protect drinking water and the outdoor lifestyle; Rationalisation and environmental bonuses; From car park to urban space (More information on these projects here: https://goo.gl/33v9kg);

- Innovative partnerships: Effective maintenance of green oases; Energy systems need cohesive planning; Seawater for home heating (More information on these projects here: https://goo.gl/cXRnxQ);

- Growth: Close relationships pave the way in China (More information on this project here: https://goo.gl/wq63Ko).

Results and Impacts

- 53,000 intelligent heating metres installed by 2017 (each of them allows a reduction of up to 20% water loss);

- Street lights are being replaced by LED fittings that save up to 35% of total electricity consumption for street lighting;

- Buildings owned by the City of Aarhus where renovated to be energetically more efficient: 30% reduction in CO2 emissions and 25% in energy savings;

- The Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP) in Aarhus produce 50% more electricity than they need and they also produce 2.5 GW of heat to use in winter (in 2015, the Marselisborg WWTP had a total energy production of 9,628 MWh/year and an energy consumption of 6,311 MWh/year, equivalent to a net energy production of 153%).