Klimaatambitie in Middelfart (Denemarken)
- Morten Mejsen Westergaard, Head of Climate and Energy
The Climate Laboratory
The Climate Laboratory is the overall name of a whole host of projects dedicated to addressing the climate challenges in the municipality. The implemented solutions will also serve as exhibitions for inspiration for others. While Copenhagen is the leading example in Denmark regarding city center solutions, Middelfart Municipality is striving to act as a leading example for smaller provincial and local communities in the battle against climate change.
The core idea is to develop and display energy and climate solutions for smaller cities/local communities in a scale of 1 to 1.
The task is linked to education and learning, business growth and urban development.
Through partnership projects and citizen involvement, the mayor and his staff find new solutions in the field of climate change. The municipality thus focuses on co-creation and creation of value in a broad sense (socially, economically and sustainable). With Middelfart as a climate laboratory, the municipality wishes to continue its efforts to develop and implement new innovative, concrete energy and climate projects. To mention a few: the ‘Thermonet’ is the first urban spatial plan using combined shallow geothermal drillings for heat production in low energy buildings. Smart Energy devices have been tested in the project ‘Smart Energy @ Home’ in residential homes with remarkable results, securing the municipality the award for best Smart City project in Denmark. As one of the first municipalities in Europe, we offer climate courses for European school teachers, so they can support climate consciousness and innovation in the school systems.
Learning fast – locally and in Europe
The European courses are made for teachers of both primary and secondary schools, who would like to emphasize the aspect of sustainability and climate change in education, focusing on solutions. Topics relevant for all of us, also the younger generation. The courses that the municipality provides give teachers tools and methods to incorporate practise-oriented topics in academic subjects. This will strengthen the students’ motivation in education, teach them about environmental issues and solutions, and give them a relevant and updated knowledge of how to work with UN’s 17 World Goals in education.
How did these courses evolve? Well, at the municipality they take their own medicine and they have been teaching climate and energy in all their schools. The new educational concept in Middelfart Municipality brings together pupils, local businesses and teachers on climate education, based on the companies' concrete issues and opportunities.
A municipality working with citizens
How do we engage with citizens: top-down, bottom-up and other models have been discussed for a long time. However, it seems that the municipality has found its own way of working with citizens. You could call it ‘guided anarchy in fixed directions’. Indicating that citizens most often have the same desires for change as the politicians, but actually prefer action rather than long term planning projects. Therefore, the municipality supports and dedicates time to ideas and projects that are focusing on real-life climate projects. This approach has lead to remarkable projects, such as Denmark’s newest and smallest district heating system, invented, financed and driven by citizens in the village of Føns, as well as citizens establishing a solar PV plant in the village of Brenderup, also upon the engagement of the citizens.
The approach is described in the book ‘Rodskud’, of which the mayor is co-author.
At the municipality of Middelfart visitors are always welcome to discuss and elaborate on ideas that promote and produce green solutions. Welcome to Middelfart.