Urban efficiency is the key

Overview of parts of Nordhavn

Cities will shape our future

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs has estimated that by 2050, the world’s population will reach about 9.8 billion – nearly 70% of whom will live in cities.

Cities need to set ambitious targets for energy efficiency to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. The technology is already here. 

Our cities are the main drivers of the world’s economic output, but they are also massive consumers and account for 60-80% of energy consumption and 75% of carbon emissions. Urban efficiency is the most effective way to turn the challenges of our cities into opportunities. We have the technologies to harvest the benefits of urbanization, and this site offers an insight into already implemented solutions – getting more, while using less.

Taipei bus

Danfoss powers first all-electric bus route in Taipei

The city of Taipei has opened its first all-electric bus route. With a fleet powered by electric drivetrains delivered by Danfoss. 12-ton buses, lightest on the market in their class, provides zero emissions. The fleet can run above 260 kilometers when fully loaded, and over 300 kilometers when empty.

Explore case stories on sustainable city solution

Dear Mayor, here are your ready-made solutions for more energy efficiency in your city

Getting the basics right

Electric motor systems consume 50% of all electricity worldwide. 80% of electric motors are not equipped with variable speed drives, meaning that they work full speed regardless of need. By deploying variable speed drives and other system-wide efficiency measures, we can reduce motor energy consumption by up to 40%, and global electricity consumption by 8% (Source: IEA WEO 2016). Payback time: 2-4 years.

Empower people to control their energy use: Optimizing control of our heating, cooling and ventilation systems reduces energy use on average by 22% per building, with a payback of 2 years (Source: Ecofys). Two keys are room temperature control and balancing: more than 500 million radiators are still equipped with manual valves and do not allow citizens to control their room temperature and energy consumption. Installing individual room controls (e.g. thermostatic radiator valves) could lead to €10-15 billion in annual savings.

Learn more about we can improve Building Efficiency.

Taking a system approach

An energy neutral water cycle: Water and wastewater facilities account for 30-50% of municipalities’ total energy bill and 4% of global electricity consumption. But with a combination of energy efficiency measures and energy recovery, the entire water sector can be energy neutral. In Aarhus, Denmark, the city turned a local waste water facility into a producer of renewable energy (biogas) (Source: IEA WEO 2016). Payback time: 5 years.

Learn how Aarhus is generating surplus power from wastewater treatment

Data centers on a global level already consume more electricity than the UK, and emit the same amount of carbon as the entire airline industry. Electricity is usually the largest single element of operating costs for data centers, varying from 25 to 60%. At a Facebook data center in Sweden, we have slashed nearly 50% of energy costs (case story).

We can start implementing right now to crush the snowballing data center challenge.

Energy recovery

Recovering heat from refrigeration systems: A small supermarket in Sønderborg, Denmark, achieved annual savings of €30,000 and reduced CO2 emissions by 34% through energy recovery. In Europe, where about 2% of electrical energy consumption is used for refrigeration in supermarkets, similar measures could lead to final energy savings of 2.6 Mtoe per year, and energy cost savings of €1.8 billion. Payback time: 1.5 years.

Learn more about the supermarket solution

District energy with waste heat:
District energy is the only way to utilize low-energy, low-grade waste heat or free cooling sources for end-use in buildings (UNEP). It can use e.g. surplus heat from data centers, industrial processes or even sewage water. Recovering all of Europe’s waste heat could cover the heating demand of our entire building stock.

Sector coupling

Flexibility thanks to supermarkets: The non-utilized operating capacity of compressors used in supermarket refrigeration systems can act as a heat pump and produce heat from electricity during wind peak production, when connected to a district energy network. These measures could allow EU supermarkets to provide 150 TWh of heat. Refrigeration systems can also be used for demand side management. 500 supermarkets can add 26.5 MW short term flexibility.

District heating and cooling can balance the volatility of renewable electricity: During periods of oversupply, excess electricity from e.g. wind can be used to generate heat with large scale heat pumps and even be stored in the district energy grid. Heat storage is 100 times cheaper than electricity storage.


Exploit the potential of digital, connected solutions: Smart control of heating, cooling and ventilation can double the performance of these technologies. On average, energy consumption can be reduced by 38% per building. New digital technologies can continuously monitor and adapt consumption, inform consumers of their energy use, optimize renewable energy self-consumption and help integrate buildings into electricity and district heating and cooling systems. Payback time: 3-5 years.

Learn how to rethink efficiency in buildings