Malmo's Path to Energy Efficiency Success

The Swedish city is using solar, wind and biofuel technologies to increase sustainability through unique green projects in many of its neighborhoods. Learn how small projects can build into significant savings

What Happened?

Malmo, Sweden, is incorporating solar, wind and biofuel technologies to increase sustainability while meeting high energy demands in the cold climate. Malmo’s energy project will make it one of the most efficient cities worldwide.


Neighborhoods in Malmo are converting industrial sites into eco-friendly enclaves by focusing on:
  • Renewable energy
  • Energy efficiency
  • Green building
  • Alternative transportation

Energy efficiency is key in Sweden, where a cold climate and spare population distribution make heating costs high. The country used to generate 78 percent of its electricity from nuclear and hydro power, but is now looking at safer sources – with Malmo neighborhoods leading the way.

Western Harbor

The Western Harbor neighborhood in Malmo was historically a shipyard and industrial sector. The city is converting the district into a knowledge and residential center fueled by 100 percent renewable energy. The sector will feature the University of Malmo and 350 residential apartment units, GreenBiz reported. The buildings were constructed with:
  • Sustainable materials
  • 2 megawatt wind turbine to account for 99 percent of the electricity
  • 8 kilowatts of solar photovoltaic system to generate the remaining energy needs

Furthermore, Western Harbor totes a unique heating and cooling system that taps cold water saved from a previous winter to lower building temperatures. As the water passes through the system it gets heated up, and is then returned to storage aquifers to be used to heat buildings once winter arrives. The recycling of water through a wind powered pump generates 5 million kilowatts of heat and 3 million kilowatts of cooling annually, National Geographic reported.

To reduce personal car usage and emissions in Western Harbor, the city created a bus system that connects residential areas to the center of Malmo every five minutes. Rather than building out parking lots, officials invested in a car-sharing program that offers five years of free membership.


Hyllie is another neighborhood in Malmo undergoing significant upgrades to become a climate-smart district. By 2020, the area plans to have nearly 20,000 homes and offices powered completely by renewable energy from wind, solar and biofuel power. The sector will house a large-scale smart grid for electricity and heating and cooling experiments, and other new technologies will be tested in Hyllie before being deployed across Malmo. These solutions will help residents:
  • Monitor and adjust energy use through smart apps based on the weather and energy production
  • Sort through waste to properly recycle
  • Measure water usage in homes

Hyllie also offers residents a bike-and-ride system allowing bicyclists to park free at train stations.

Model Plan

The Sweden National Renewable Energy Action Plan provides a roadmap for how the country plans to achieve a target of 49 percent share of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Sweden plans to greatly surpass that target with greater investment in renewable and recyclable energy sources. The government is offering businesses aid for investing in solar energy, as well as guidelines on how to build out wind power through a national network of wind farm resources.

Striving for Zero

EfficientGov has reported on several municipalities striving toward zero waste production and increased investment in renewable energies .

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