Sweden’s Dedication to Sustainable Living

solar power in Sweden

Solar power is just one aspect of Sweden’s sustainable development initiatives. (Bohner Images/Getty Images)

Sweden has consistently been ranked as one of the most sustainable countries in the world for several years in a row. How has this Scandinavian country embraced sustainable living?

Sustainable living is supported at all levels in Sweden, from individual contributions to governmental support of environmental initiatives. Fostering innovation in green technology is an especially important aspect of this country’s sustainability practices. In 2011, the Swedish government presented a new environmental technology strategy with three objectives:

  • promote the export of Swedish environmental technology
  • promote research and innovation in environmental technology
  • make it easier to commercialize innovations

Along with governmental support at the country level, many Swedish cities have also jumped on the green technology bandwagon with spectacular results. Following are four examples of cities in Sweden that are leading the way in sustainable living.

  1. Stockholm Stockholm Public Transit, which includes subway, bus, tram, and commuter train transportation, features new trams that are at least 98 percent recyclable; the city subway runs solely on green electricity; and since 2009 new buses added to the fleet run on either biogas or ethanol.
  2. Växjö Fifty percent of the town’s electricity comes from waste produced by the forest products industry, such as branches, bark, and sawdust that is burned to generate heat and power.
  3. Gothenburg In the 1990s, the country of Sweden transitioned from oil to district heating. City-wide district heating and cooling networks use extra heat from thermal power generation, waste incineration, or industrial plants to heat and/or cool public and private buildings. Overall, district heating accounts for more than 80 percent of the heat and hot water provided to Sweden’s apartment blocks country-wide. The 1200-kilometer long district heating network in Gothenburg heats 90 percent of the city’s apartment buildings and 12,000 single-family homes.
  4.  Augustenborg This city is home to 10,000 green roofs. These roofs help to decrease incidences of flooding by absorbing excess rainwater. Solar panels have been installed on both private and public buildings throughout the town to harness the power of the sun. Additionally, more than 70 percent of the waste produced in Augustenborg is recycled.

More to Explore
Sustainable Living in Sweden
7 Examples of Sustainability in Sweden
A Swedish Strategy for Sustainable Development
Sustainable Sweden
Sweden Ranked as Most Sustainable Country in the World

Country: Sweden

Location: Sweden is located in Northern Europe. It borders the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Kattegat, and Skagerrak, and is found between Finland and Norway.

Area: 450,295 sq km (land and water) (slightly larger than California)

Climate: Sweden’s climate is temperate in the south with cold, cloudy winters and cool, partly cloudy summers and subarctic in the north.

Terrain: The terrain of Sweden is mostly flat or gently rolling lowlands with mountains in the west.

Natural Resources: Copper, fish, hydropower, iron ore, lead, natural gas, nickel, petroleum, pyrites, timber, titanium, zinc

Economics: $473.4 billion (est. 2015)

Environmental Issues: Acid rain damage to soils and lakes; pollution of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea

Source: CIA – The World Factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sw.html)

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