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Green Solar Cities Site Copenhagen


Project status



Rehabilitating former industrial sites is a key issue for many cities, and Valby, a district of 46,000 people in the south-western part of Copenhagen, is no exception.



Site facts and figures

  • Estimated population involved: 2,055
  • Approx. geographical area coverage: Information will follow
  • Approx. energy saving: 2,156 MWh/y (estimated, 107 electricity and 2,049 heating energy)
  • Approx. energy from RES: 2,516 MWh/y (estimated, 600 electricity, 1,916 heating energy)



The CONCERTO activities at Valby are spread over 9 different areas in the city (Map 1). The measures include new building construction as well as refurbishment in the residential, public and commercial sector. Newly implemented renewable energy systems are rather related to buildings than large-scale plants for general energy supply. So the new Water Cultural Centre (public indoor swimming pool, Picture 1) with a floor area of 3,000 m² is supplied by district heating and on its roof there is a 19.1 kWpeak photovoltaic system installed.

In total almost 50,000 m² of new and energy efficient buildings have been constructed at Valby. „Langgadehus“ is a new-built 8,723 m² elderly centre including service areas and 68 dwellings in ground and 1st floor (Picture 2). Additionally there is social housing on 2nd and 3rd floor comprising 59 dwellings of 100 m² each. This building’s heating is supported by 200 m² of solar thermal collectors. At “Dronning Ingrids Plejehjem“ (a housing with 132 dwellings for elderly people) windows with triple glazing were implemented and 60 m² of solar thermal collectors have been integrated on the roof. In the F.L. Smith area 100 housing units and 5,000 m² of commercial buildings are built, where solar heating and cooling will be demonstrated.

At the „Karensminde“ area 36 new-built low energy prefab dwellings for a social housing project (4,300 m² in total) were finished in May 2008 according to Danish low energy class 2 (25% better than actual energy requirements) and CONCERTO standards (30% better). A photovoltaic system of 30,6 kWpeak has been included in spring 2010. Lykkeboskolen is an extension to an existing school with 896 m² for a new sports facility. The building is low energy class 2 and CONCERTO standard with a 3,8 kWpeak PV installation integrated in the roof. Construction started May 2010 and was finished January 2011.

During CONCERTO 19,000 m² of living space have been retrofitted. At the „Hornemanns Vaenge“ area 4 building blocks with a total of 192 dwellings were retrofitted (Picture 3). A pilot project on ventilation systems with heat recovery had been demonstrated in one dwelling and the tenants had approved the installation, so that the ventilation solution was then installed in all dwellings. The roofs have been totally renewed and PV systems have been installed on them. Construction work started in August 2011 and was finished in 2013.

Sjaeloer Railway Station in Valby is the first station in Copenhagen where PV modules supply energy for the platform LED lightning (Picture 4). The total size of PV is 18 kWpeak. An on-going process of renovation of all the railway stations will probably repeat this energy optimization of lighting and PV integration on platform roofs.

In the photovoltaic sector it is Valbys goal to implement a total of 1,000 kWpeak within the CONCERTO framework. Different further small-scale systems have been installed at residential buildings (30 so far, with 40.7 kWpeak in total), a plant of 500 kWpeak is planned to be installed at „Damhusaaen“ (read additional info in the „More detailed“ section).

Large photovoltaic plant

The construction of a large PV plant (500 kWpeak) is in progress, located at the large wastewater treatment site “Damhusaaen” in Valby (Map 1). It will supply electricity also to a sludge bio-gasification system. The PV plant will be situated on top of a former, now filled up 20,000 m² waste water sludge deposit. An area of about 10,000 m² is needed for the 3,500 m² of PV-modules. They are installed with a 45-degree (Picture 5) slope and a certain distance between the PV rows to avoid mutual shading.

Electricity production is calculated with 850 kWh/kWpeak, so that a total amount of 425,000 kWh is predicted to be produced annually.


New dwellings at Karensminde

The CONCERTO project supported the first 36 dwellings in Karensminde belonging to the ambitious program of 5.000 “affordable dwellings” (low cost and low rent) in Copenhagen (Picture 6 + 7). Production facilities for the construction of energy-efficient low-cost family housing were ready, but few were built when the market collapsed due to the financial crises and thus large supply of vacant apartments in Copenhagen.

For the Karensminde apartments the technology of prefabricated room-sized modules is used. They were produced in Estonia, shipped to Copenhagen and transported on lorries to the site. The construction fulfils the low energy class 2 of the Danish building code and is heated by district heating. Subsequent measurements have shown that the building meets the energy class. In Spring 2010 the dwellings have been equipped with photovoltaic systems (30 kWpeak in total, Picture 8).

Lightweight prefabricated housing is
a relatively new technology in Denmark.
The background of using this construction technology was an overheated market for concrete wall, floor and roof units, and a desire to reduce construction costs. Simultaneously there were energy benefits. Experiences from the other Nordic countries have shown that achieving good insulation standards was relatively easy, where thermal bridges were minimized and high air tightness obtained.

(Text taken from Green Solar Cities brochure)

Lessons learnt

The following information has been gathered as part of the CONCERTO Premium policy research.

Benefits of CONCERTO:

Key benefits:

The image has been improved and Valby is and will be an area known for low energy solutions and PV installation, but what is more important, it will be a more integrated part of City of Copenhagen, where young people will like to live. The CONCERTO project has set out some vital stepping stones for the area of Valby, and been able to support some very visionary projects and project developments that will support knowledge and awareness of the neighborhood. The strategy was to highlight the City of Copenhagen’s ambitions on climate and carbon reduction. We have as well introduced Danish authorities for Austrian legislation on the energy point system and financing of low energy measures. The Austrian partners have had several visits from Denmark.

Skill development:

Qualified estimate: 500 persons – (10 pers. for each project).

Local economic effects:

5- 10 permanent new jobs were created in a HRV-firm. Prefabricated dwellings are new line of business in Denmark, the first one of these is located in Valby and has been supported by EU CONCERTO.


Barriers encountered:

Legal barriers:

Difficulties surrounding a biomass gasification plant have delayed the project implementation and unfortunately in the end meant that it could not be implemented.

Technical barriers:

There were issues concerning the choice between decentralized or individual balanced heat recovery ventilations systems (D-HRV) - Decentralized systems have documented better energy performance - but it is very difficult to convince clients and their advisors. These systems were introduced by making them a condition for EU support – and they show good results. The EU CONCERTO project has been able to make some show cases.

Economic barriers:

In general, owners can be convinced to participate by introducing the possibility for EU support and making economic assessments that show that in long run it will be good economy. This however is not always enough to persuade owners because running cost is paid by the tenants.


Success factors identified:

Technical success Factors:

  • Demonstration of low energy solutions and renewables,
  • introduction of new and better technologies,
  • supporting the PV plan of Valby and the focus on this technology.
  • PV installation Implementing the larges PV installation in Denmark.

Social success factors:

The strategy was to focus on the front runners and make it “sexy”, to focus on social issues and being together and having a good time and being a part of something “greater and more”(environment and energy is in general not “sexy”). The COP 15 meeting in Copenhagen was of great value for our project due to a change in general mindset. The project supported the creation of a network among citizens of Valby and a face book group with focus low energy measures and renewables. A network among immigrants in social housing areas was established with a focus on the topic of energy and environment with the intention of social integration and employment. Low energy renovation projects were implemented among very difficult target groups: The special Danish ownership of dwellings “cooperative housings” and among private rental flats. Only two projects have been set up, since the barriers in these segments are difficult to overcome – but the EU CONCERTO support has led to success.


Business models used:

For every building project there were individual negotiations. For one of the large refurbishment project in Valby the support from EU could make the investment in renewables and low energy measures a good investment with a short pay-back time. The combination of PV, solar power and ventilation with heat recovery lead a kind of energy performance contract with the tenants and an agreement on the investment.

Small PV project was sold by collaboration between the partners Dong Energy (the utility of power) and Green Valby (the local agenda 21 office). Green Valby made the marketing to the citizen of Valby and Dong Energy made the installations and guaranteed the performance. They were able to sell the panels as a good bargain.


Legacy – follow-on projects:

Szentendre in Hungary has been an associated community of “Green Solar Cities” and is now part in a 3th generation EU Concerto project together with Bergen in Norway and Bilbao in Spain. Local project continue in Valby with national and regional support. The Green Solar Cities project proposal has prefabrication and rooftop apartments as a strategy for energy renovating in existing buildings. This strategy has been developed during the project period.


Legacy - Policy Developments:

Two key project staff take part in the groups on energy renovation created on initative by the Ministry on Climate on the purpose of making a strategy for climate renovation of the Danish building stock 2013-2050.

The CONCERTO approach

In the Valby CONCERTO project actions will be carried out across a number of sites:

1) F.L. Smith industrial area, mainly new built, aimed to include both housing (100 units) and commercial building 5,000 m². Demonstration of PV, solar heating and cooling.

2) Vigerslev Vænge / Hornemanns Vænge. Here it is aimed to include renovation of 330 concrete housing units and use of 66 new climate optimised low energy prefabricated rooftop extensions with PV and solar heating.

3) Valby Sports Centre area including a new Water Cultural House of 10,000 m² to be built and also housing here. Use of PV and a wood pellet based gasification system for combined electricity and heat production. Also involvement of neighbour area Kgs. Enghave.

4) Option area with Valby main train station with new shopping centre and combined housing for elderly people and families with building integrated PV, 100 units.

5) Gadekærsvej. Retrofit housing block possibly with low energy rooftop apartments with PV and solar heating.

6) Carlsberg area. Former industrial area owned by Carlsberg breweries where low energy housing is planned.

7) Grønt torv. Industrial area where a transformation into an urban development area will take place over the next years.

8) Pumpehusvej/Karensminde area situated in Kgs. Enghave. Neighbour area to Valby Park area. The Karensminde area is foreseen for low cost new built housing organised by Kuben in cooperation with Copenhagen municipality.

Building aspects

  • Installed Renewable Energy Sources
  • photovoltaic

Thematic Field

  • New Building(s)
  • Refurbished Building(s)

Public buildings

View more visualisations of Green Solar Cities Site Copenhagen


Jakob Klint
Kuben Urban Renewal Denmark