Sønderborg and ProjectZero receive recognition

28 July 2022 - Published by Deirdre Buist
Congratulations are in order! Not only has Sønderborg recently been proclaimed the world's energy efficiency capital, but our Stronghouse partner ProjectZero and Peter Rathje have also been presented with The Golden Anvil 2022 , in recognition of achievements and the director’s leading role in the organization over the past 15 years. This Danish annual business award is given to a person or group who have shown inspiring initiative or a unique enthusiasm in the region's business community for the benefit of society.

During his acceptance speech Peter, who resigned as director of ProjectZero in the spring, gratefully thanked all those who have collaborated with ProjectZero, and continue to do so: “ Our joint vision has now become a global reality. Societies all over the world are  currently facing energy-related issues. The challenges are not just about achieving set CO2 reduction goals, but also involve the development and implementation of other climate-related measures, the security of sufficient energy supplies and a stable economic development. These are now prerequisites.”  Rathje’s words resonate even more in light of the current situation in Ukraine and the energy crisis.

The ProjectZero vision

In 2007, long before the climate crisis rose to the top of political agendas globally, the Municipality of Sønderborg  developed a common vision with its citizens, businesses, educational institutions and utility companies to successfully implement a carbon-neutral energy system by 2029 without compromising on reliability and cost-effectiveness. This is the ProjectZero vision.

The ambition was to solve the climate challenge in Sønderborg and simultaneously become a role model for other cities around the world. These  cities can translate the approach into their own local context while, at the same time, creating green jobs and contributing to a better world for all.

Collaboration & focus

Sønderborg 's efforts to become a ‘climate pioneer’ have been built on responsible actions and a strong cross-sectoral commitment from the local community. At the start, the baseline for CO2 emissions was 700,000 tons (approx. 9.2 tons per capita).  The city is more than halfway to zero today. Peter: “Collaboration is key to keeping momentum and tackling the final hurdles. While our focus is on creating an intelligent and integrated energy-saving and cost-effective system for the future, we link and streamline different energy sources and sectors. Participation in transnational projects like Stronghouse and cross-border cooperation is also essential  when approaching energy transition challenges and the renovation wave.

Continued knowledge exchange

Stronghouse is confident that ProjectZero will succeed in achieving its zero-emission ambition.  Sturdy foundations have been laid under the strong leadership of the departing director. The Stronghouse consortium is grateful for the past two years working with Peter Rathje and his contribution to our project. We look forward to continuing our productive knowledge exchange with his successor as we jointly support homeowners in Europe on their energy renovation journey and the road to zero.