Copenhill Copenhagen

Sustainability in Copenhagen

Photo: Astrid Maria Rasmussen

Considered one of the most sustainable cities in the world, Copenhagen has in total 546 km of bicycle paths, a fleet of electric harbour ferries and a majority of the hotel rooms around town are eco-certified.

In the Danish capital, you can ski down the roof of a waste-to-energy plant, take your bike on car-free bicycle bridges, and go for a dip in the harbour’s 10 public bathing zones.

Copenhagen has a long-standing tradition of pursuing green solutions. As a result, the Copenhagen of today has founded a range of sustainable development initiatives and continues to do so and the locals believe in it too. In a survey from Time Out in 2021, 27,000 city dwellers voted on how sustainable they thought their own city was, and Copenhagen came out on top. The Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index (2022) has placed Copenhagen in fourth place this year. They rank 100 of the world’s cities under three pillars of sustainability: Planet, people, and profit. 

Green initiatives in Copenhagen include offshore wind turbines in the Øresund Strait between Denmark and Sweden, an increasing number of electric busses, waste-removing initiatives and ‘green wave’ traffic lights for cyclists - with digital countdowns and footrests at junctions. 

Green Kayak

Photo:Daniel Rasmussen

Facts: Sustainability in Copenhagen

  • Copenhagen's Municipality has in total 546km of bicycle paths (Source: Copenhagen Municipality's report Cykelregnskab 2022)
  • Denmark aims to be the world’s first country entirely independent of fossil fuels by 2050.
  • Back in 1972, oil accounted for 92 per cent of gross energy consumption in Denmark, however, with the oil crisis came new initiatives, and in 1978 the first major wind turbine started generating electricity in Denmark.  
  • In 2022, solar- and wind energy generated 59,3 per cent of Denmark’s electricity consumption.
  • 98% of all households in Copenhagen are today connected to a district heating system. 
  • 68% of Copenhagen’s hotel rooms hold an eco-certification (2022) as a total of 58% of the capital’s hotels are certified with either a Green Key, an ISO certification or The Nordic Swan ecolabel.  
  • On average, 84 million Danish kroner have been invested in cycling initiatives in Copenhagen every year over the last 10 years, and 35 % of the Copenhageners took their bike to work or school every day in 2021. 
  • The busses in Copenhagen are increasingly going electric, and all five harbour busses were made electric in 2020. It’s the first project in the world where public transport on the water is 100% electric.   
  • Copenhagen Harbour has undergone a large transformation in the past 25 years - from a former industry harbour to a recreational area. Today, there are 10 designated swimming areas, and you can go for a dip for at least 350 days a year. This will improve even more, as an extensive infrastructure is being established to catch further heavy rainfall in the coming years.  
  • Denmark has the highest consumption of organic food in the world per capita according to The World of Organic Agriculture Report (2021), and three out of four Danes buy organic food every week. 
  • 1/3 of Copenhagen’s hotel rooms – more than 8000 - are being cooled by water from Copenhagen Harbour, according to Danish energy company Hofor (2022). This is a CO2 reduction of up to 70% of CO2 compared to standard air conditioners.
  • In Denmark you can return all deposit-marked bottles and cans in recycling machines located in supermarkets. After inserting all your cans and bottles, you get the choice between receiving money or donating to charity.  
  • The Royal Danish Playhouse (Skuespilhuset) in Copenhagen use harbour water and thermo-active structures to either cool or heat the building. This is part of an EU-funded project called ECO-Culture, which also includes The Amsterdam Library and The New Opera House in Oslo.  

Press kit - sustainability and architecture in Copenhagen

Sustainability plays a big role in Danish architecture’s DNA. To read more about this click below.

Further information - sustainability in Copenhagen

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Copenhagen Harbour

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Photo: Astrid Maria Rasmussen

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Giuseppe Liverino

Senior Manager – Press & PR