by Yang Jingzhong, Gunnar Blaschke
COPENHAGEN, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Denmark has for long been a world frontrunner in the transition to a green society, while changing its energy resources from black like oil and coal to green like wind, waste incineration and solar energy.
Green energy, highways for bicyclists, recycling of waste and energy refurbishment of buildings, in various fields Danes sparkle their greener life than other people in the world.
"The official target for the Danish government, is to reduce our CO2 emissions with 40 percent in 2020. To do that we have made a new energy plan, which will double our electricity mix with wind energy, so that 50 percent of our electricity will come from wind in 2020," Danish Minister for Energy and Climate Martin Lidegaard told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Even if wind energy is a bit more expensive than using oil or coal in the long-run term, the investments will pay off and give cheaper electricity to the consumers and the companies as wind itself is free and Denmark has a lot of it, he said.
"We are already among the cheapest countries in the EU when it comes to prices on electricity, and within a 10-year period the price will decrease even further," Lidegaard said.
CUTTING DOWN HEATING BILL
Another very important area of greening life is to refurbish existing building, both housing and public buildings, in a way that saves on the energy consumption and change the sources into one or more efficient sources in the energy mix. Not the least when it comes to heating of both resident and public buildings.
One of the really big challenges is the existing building stock, stated Lidegaard. "We plan to make a very long term strategy to ensure that when people have to renovate their houses or buildings anyway they do it in an energy efficient way, because that is the most cost-effective way."
This means that when a building needs to be renovated it is done in an energy saving way, like in the municipality of Greve (part of the greater Copenhagen), where the politicians have decided to make energy renovations in 50 percent of the public buildings within the next five years.
"We are renovating half of our buildings in our municipality to save at least 20 percent on the energy consumption. And it is done by energy contracting so we have a guaranty for the energy savings from the entrepreneurs who are doing the work," said Jens Larsen, Climate and Energy Consultant in Greve.
Energy contracting means that the entrepreneurs are responsible that the negotiated goals of 20 percent energy savings will be reached and they have to finish the work within a fixed economic frame.
Greve is a suburb to Copenhagen with nearly 50,000 inhabitants living in both social resident housing and private houses in smaller villages. In 2011 the local politicians made a decision to go in front of their citizens and started to refurbish the public buildings to make the energy consumption greener.
"Our politicians decided to go in front with the energy renovation and in this way better being able to ask the citizens to do the same," Larsen told Xinhua.
Mogens Hansen, a house owner in Greve, took up the challenge and invested around 100,000 U.S. dollars in an energy renovation of his house. Today the house is getting most of the energy from solar panels on the roof, and besides this the isolation of walls and roof has been improved radically so the heat will not go out and the cold not get into the house.
"Of course we looked at the economy in doing this and the money we save on energy covered the interests on our loans and in the same time our house has been more valuable. But we also took the benefits for the environment in consideration and this also played an important role when we took the decision," he said.