Why does Stockholm excel at being a sustainable city?
When we are speaking about the cities of the future, we are speaking of green cities, cities that have directed their efforts to transform into sustainable spaces. When referring to these cities we often call them smart cities, and Stockholm can be described as a smart city because it became a green city with the help of the funds it received from the EU. Stockholm is considered a lighthouse city in Europe, together with Cologne and Barcelona meaning that other cities and countries should follow its example and inspire from its projects to improve the living conditions and to enhance their sustainability.
Stockholm is a smart city because it understood that at the present times it is vital to becoming greener if we want to preserve the planet we are living on. The city hopes that by 2020 to remove all the fuel use, a policy that places it among the smartest cities worldwide. And if it were to compare it with other cities not only from Europe but from other continents, we can easily say that it is one of the greenest destinations. Most of the cars and taxis that run the streets of Stockholm are powered by bio-fuel, generated from sewage. Bio-fuel is available at multiple petrol stations around the town, and the administration wants to expand its use to lorries and larger vans because at the present moment they are the most pollutant sources when it comes to vehicles.
They base their assumption on the idea that if 100 persons are going to the toilet, they power one car, and if we put together the organic household waste people are creating then the amount of bio-fuel can easily grow, and so does the number of cars powered by organic fuel.
What innovative projects does Stockholm support?
Alongside the numerous projects, the city has started with the purpose to enhance the sustainability levels, they are also collaborating with Fortum, an energy business that can transform the heating system of the city. They plan to use the heat produced by stadiums, supermarkets and data centres to provide heat to the residents of Stockholm. The city has more than 2.800 km of pipes underground designed to heat the over 10,000 building where residents are living, therefore they would reduce the waste they experience nowadays when they are using hot water to create them comfortable living conditions.
Another project has in plan to use the wasted heat of a stadium that can host around 30,000 persons to heat the restaurants, houses and shops located close by. This is one of the trends that has gained popularity in Sweden during the last years, because we can encounter numerous projects that have similar purposes.
Sweden has started numerous campaigns to convince companies to adopt eco-friendly strategies. For example, they want to convince companies to locate their data centres close to Stockholm where the heat they generate can easily be re-used. They also recommend businesses to adopt all the possible measures to transform their activities into sustainable ones. For example, the simple installation of a can press called a 'burkpress' in Sweden can help them reduce the amount of waste they are generating. Companies are encouraged to collect different types of rubbish accordingly.
Sweden does its best to recycle the waste produced by its residents. They are asked to place different types of waste into different coloured bags. All the bags are taken to a central system where it is sorted with the help of an optical sorting machine. The sensors installed in the system can easily identify the different colours of the bags and they can measure the quantity and type of waste people throw away to understand what areas require extra attention and education.
In Stockholm tourists can stay in eco-friendly hotels
The eco-friendly action has taken over all the sectors of life in Stockholm, and the hospitality industry does no exception. When choosing a hotel in Stockholm tourists know that it is quite difficult to make a wrong decision. They can choose from 90 hotels that are bearing the Nordic Swan Label that shows their compliance with strict health and environmental regulations. Stockholm has the highest number of eco-friendly hospitality facilities in the world.
For example, HOBO one of their green hotels is decorated to meet the preferences of millennials. It offers the vibe of a hostel because the rooms are big enough to include a bathroom and a bed, but the experience is the only one that counts. You will not find a phone in the room, the guests have to use their cell phone if they want to contact the reception. In the lobby of the hotel, the guests can find edible plants, a feature not many hotels have.
The cafes and restaurants are also eco-friendly in Sweden
And if someone has the misconception that the hospitality industry is the only one that promotes sustainability, they are wrong because they are also known for the great number of eco-friendly cafes and restaurants they have. The locals and tourists can eat in vegetarian restaurants at affordable prices, something not many vegetarian restaurants in the world offer. The vegetarian restaurants do not serve only main dishes, but also raw desserts, cider and beer.
For the ones who want to eat a complete dinner there are numerous restaurants that serve dishes made from organic and locally sourced meats and vegetables. All the restaurants and cafes have an outdoor patio where people can spend the time to enjoy the fresh air and to boost their immunity. They can warm themselves with the blankets they find on the seats if they consider that the temperatures are too chilly.
The restaurants from Stockholm are famous worldwide for the farm-fresh ingredients they use to prepare their tasty dishes. The eco-friendly restaurants from Stockholm serve house-made ice-cream, bee pollen, hazelnuts and baked apples, all came from organic sources.
Stockholm is on the road of only becoming greener, no one can say that the journey has always been smooth and without bumps, but their efforts are totally worth.