Malmo Western Harbour Part 2 – running on 100% locally produced, renewable energy

Bo01 set out with the ambitious target of running the whole precinct of 100% locally produced, renewable  energy. This meant investing in 120m2 of solar PV (producing 6000kwh per annum), 2,600m2 of solar thermal collectors (producing 300,000kwh per annum), a 2MW wind turbine (producing 5,500mw per annum), and shallow geothermal – this is in addition to the biogas from food waste I mentioned earlier. In impressively well rounded suite of renewable energy – especially for 2001 when it opened.

Malmo 121

Key to the success of this energy system was designing it from the start as a precinct system rather than individual systems for individual housing. Surplus energy was used for district heating or cooling.

Another key element was the integration of renewable energy with the architecture while simultaneously demonstrating renewable energy solutions to the public. “In order to ensure that the houses were not architecturally impaired by the energy solutions it was vital to cooperate with the architects who designed them.” (130-131).

Malmo 215

On the other side of the energy equation was reducing the amount of consumed by the new houses. Clever passive design, highly rated building insulation and energy efficiency appliances meant that Western Harbour was able to aim for an energy consumption level of 105kw per m2 almost half the Malmo average of 200 kw m2.

More than a decade on studies have shown that the Western Harbour is close to meeting its promise of running  100% locally produced, renewable  energy. It has required integration, collaboration and learning and implementing some major changes along the way. But I love the fact that one of the most liveable developments I have ever seen is also one that has almost no carbon footprint.

In Australia to the best of my knowledge, 14 years after Bo01 (the first climate neutral development in Scandinavia) was completed there is still no development that has even come close as a zero carbon, 100% renewable energy development. In this time the sustainability technology has come a long way. It is no cheaper and easier to achieve this worthwhile goal than ever.

I can’t help but think that Fremantle could show the way on this.

Part 3 soon

(for further information see Persson, Bengt (ed) 2014 The Western Harbour – experiences and lessons learned from Malmoa Sweden, Arkus Publications, Malmo.)

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

6 Responses to Malmo Western Harbour Part 2 – running on 1006 locally produced, renewable energy

  1. If the OIL industry was to close down tomorrow Australia & the world economy would go into meltdown. Australia would have more than 50% of our population unemployed.

    • DanEJ says:

      The oil or coal or gas industries won’t close tomorrow, but they must close over time.

      And there will be other industries to take their place. I am part of the generation that was at school before the internet arrived, but in my early 20’s it went crazy. I’d say about 50% of my friends work for some sort of internet or internet-related business. But we didn’t even know it existed at school!

      There are industries we don’t know about that will employ people in the future. If the oil and other fossil fuel industries don’t end, there won’t be an economy in the future, as the effects of climate change will end it for us.

  2. Diana Ryan says:

    Brad, I believe Part 2 was to include affordable housing outcomes? Perhaps Part 3?

    (Thanks to Rhiannon B, in previous segment, for mentioning “On speaking to some locals there were concerns it had become very ‘exclusive’ (as these developments often can). I’m interested to read part two to see if this has been addressed in any way as you mention affordable housing…”)

    I’ve noticed that when you speak about affordable housing (such as when you came back with a not dissimilar style of reporting, maybe less about renewables, and via videos, from Portland) you provide little to no detail on whose needs this affordable housing is geared to meet.

    In that respect it isn’t informative as to how other cities, councils, countries are meeting the full range of needs for affordable housing.

    Could you both put affordable housing in to context (what is considered “affordable”, both house prices and rentals, in such’n’such an area/country, what interventions/incentives were needed, what is the average term of a mortgage – does it include being extended over generations to be able to afford the property, feedback from a range of authorities and sectors as to how effective provision of affordable housing has been) and, of critical importance, whom was able to benefit from the housing cost, ie, does it provide for a fully inclusive society’s needs within each area, how is that balance going, etc). That information should also be available locally and addressable, provided the study tours aren’t so rushed that deep level knowledge of how effective and equitable all the planning has been isn’t able to be ascertained.

    Only when we have this level of information can we know if it has real relevance in the affordable housing space.

  3. DanEJ says:

    I remember doing a project on Bo01 for a university course I did about sustainability and cities. You may know it Mr Mayor? 🙂

    I think it shows the cultural differences between Europeans and other regions. There’s a higher public expectation for livable areas, I feel.

    There was a report on ABC News only last night about the suburban backlash here against infill. Having a compact city is just not part of the WA (Australian?) mindset. I think that good design and thoughtful planning can show there’s nothing to fear, but it’s a cultural issue that isn’t going away in a hurry.

    Mind you, I’d guess many of those people have travelled in Europe and think it’s wonderful, but ‘not something that happens in Australia’. Bit of cognitive dissonance going on I suspect.

    So it’s up to Freo to show that it’s a positive, healthy and invigorating thing to have!

    • Dan
      I have been contemplating if this mindset is part because there as so few good examples of denser, more sustainable developments in WA. I do think a partnership between the state government and the Freo council to demonstrate that the necessary denser future of housing in WA can also be liveable would be worth doing.
      cheers, Brad

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