Danish island energises the environment
The ‘renewable island’ of Samsø in Denmark is now being showcased at the Samsø Energy Academy, which was built with support from EU funding. The Academy has become the focal point for all information on sustainable energy, providing research facilities, a conference centre and the Samsø Energy Office which offers advisory services for commercial and private customers. The Academy’s solar cells produce approximately 8 000 kWh/year, equivalent to a 4-tonne reduction in CO2.
"Our investment in the wood pellet furnace was an economic decision. The savings compared with the cost of heating with fuel oil were substantial"
Brian Kjaer, electrician, Nørreskifte village, Samsø
The island offers researchers and visitors the advantage of ready access to facilities such as windmills, straw-based heating systems and thermal solar panel systems, as well as to the people who initiated them. By assisting researchers and educating visitors to the island, the Academy is contributing to a clean future by providing real models of success as well as inspiration for future developments.
Sowing the seeds for green growth
The academy, close to the picturesque harbour village and tourist magnet Ballen, was set up following the Danish Energy Agency’s successful 10-year project to establish a renewable energy island. The Academy has since gained practical experience through local energy projects including on wind turbines, CO₂-neutral district heating plants, rapeseed oil tractors and solar energy panels. Today the island produces 70% of its heating demand and 100% of its electricity demand using renewable energy.
Shining example of sustainable energy
The Energy Academy facilities follow several ecological building principles and guidelines, including natural ventilation, minimal use of drinking water and use of rainwater for toilets. Its walls and windows are well insulated and the building is heated by the local straw-based district heating plant. The windows are also positioned to maximise passive solar energy contributions.
The academy’s conference centre hosts companies, scientists and politicians who regularly discuss renewable energy, energy savings and new technologies. Several energy bodies are based at the academy, providing energy advisory services for commercial and private customers, guided energy tours, talks, lectures, workshops and seminars, and promoting ‘energy tourism’ for professionals.
During the summer, tourists and other interested visitors can see the work of the academy. The experimentarium is used for school fieldtrips, providing a place for students to learn more about renewable energy. More than 2 000 politicians, ambassadors, officials, scientists, journalists, students and interested individuals visit the energy island annually.