Path to Sustainability: Tour to Denmark

The American-Danish Business Council partnered with the Wirth Chair for Sustainable Development at the University of Colorado at Denver to take a small group of sixteen to Denmark to investigate ways Danes are developing solutions to deal with Climate Change and the transition to a sustainable green economy.

The group began the tour in Copenhagen visiting State of Green and Skt. Kjeld’s – the first climate adapted neighborhood in Copenhagen. We talked to the City of Copenhagen about their 100 year plan to adapt to rising sea levels, extreme rains, etc. The highlight of the day was a meeting with the former Climate and Energy Minister, Lykke Friis, discussing COP15 and the upcoming COP21 in Paris.

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The picture shows Skt. Kjeld’s – a climate adapted neighbourhood in Copenhagen

The next day we travelled to Kalundborg to learn about the industrial Symbiosis developed in Kalundborg. We then took the evening ferry to Samsø and had an informal supper and meeting with Søren Hermansen. The next day Søren took us on a tour of the island demonstrating the projects that have taken them to almost fossil fuel free within a decade. The day ended with a campfire discussion at the Energy Academy.

We then took an LNG powered ferry owned by the municipality of Samsø to Jutland. On Thursday we visited the wave testing facility at Nissum Bredning and learned about the newest and most commercially viable development in wave energy. Journeying on to Thisted in the north of Jutland, we were hosted by Lars Toft Hansen who arranged to show us the Large Turbine testing facility and the District Heating and Power facility in Thisted. This facility is powered by trash and augmented by geothermal and biomass. Thisted too is almost fossil fuel free. At the end of the day, we had a great informal discussion and shared some good local beer.

The last day was spent in Århus with our first visit to Danish Technical Institute/ InnoByg / Active House. We learned about new methods in the sustainable building sector. DTI showed us their laboratory which conducts research on sustainable buildings and building materials. We were hosted for lunch by ÅrhusVand  and enjoyed presentations on their storm water solutions and other water solutions. We then visited the wastewater plant at Marselisborg before adjourning for a farewell dinner at a quaint Danish cafe.

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Take Aways

The group, in their own words, was “blown away” by how far Denmark has come. The big question asked is why Denmark is able to succeed with implementing these farsighted programs and yet the US is still debating if Climate Change is real. The Wirth Chair is holding a meeting on July 7th at the Alliance Center in Denver to discuss what can be applied to Colorado and the US in general.

This tour again underlined the branding of Denmark as The leader in sustainability and all things green. By enhancing the Danish profile and the Danish brand (even with people active in the sustainable movement who are somewhat familiar with Denmark), the US market is further opened for Danish solutions. The tour demonstrated how ADBC is conducting our mission of promoting trade and investment between our two countries. It was also a great deal of fun along with an unparalleled learning experience.

By ADBC and the Wirth Chair for Sustainable Development

On July 7th, members of the trip delegation will share some of the lessons learned in Denmark. For more about this event see invitation.

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