The Swedish city of Växjö has been awarded the European Union’s award for sustainable development. Växjö is very likely the greenest city in Europe, with a level of 3.5 tonnes of carbon emissions per person, it is the lowest of any urban area in Europe. The average in Sweden is around 5 tonnes, and in the USA it is 20 tonnes. This puts into perspective how environmentally friendly Sweden is generally. The city decided ten years ago to become a fossil fuel free city and set itself a target date of 2050 to achieve this. Their electricity power plant runs on biomass, using woodchip and other wood waste from the local sawmills. The plant not only provides electricity, but the hot waste gas is condensed and purified then pumped around the town to supply water boilers and room heaters.
This is an incredibly efficient use of the local resources and shows the kind of joined up thinking that is needed to get the most out of our limited resources. The next step for the council is to get the local people to change from petrol powered cars to more environmentally friendly cars. I have no doubt the good people of Växjö will go even further in reducing their impact on the environment. Växjö is certainly leading the way to a greener way of living.