The Hidden Backbone of the Liveable City


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Ramboll employs more than 16,500 experts globally and has especially strong representation in the Nordics, UK, North America, Continental Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific. With 300 offices in 35 countries, Ramboll combines local experience with a global knowledgebase constantly striving to achieve inspiring and exacting solutions that make a genuine difference to our clients, the end-users, and society at large. Ramboll works across the following markets: Buildings, Transport, Planning & Urban Design, Water, Environment & Health, Energy and Management Consulting.

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100 years ago city planners considered sewage and water be a natural part of the urban infrastructure. In this century we need low carbon resilient and environmental friendly cities. City planners consider district heating and/or cooling be a natural part of the urban infrastructure in any modern city meeting the UN sustainable development goals.

It is a challenge to create liveable cities. Cities, which are not only sustainable, but also worth to live in. In such a city we take it for granted that all energy and environmental services are carefully planned and implemented to be efficient, environmental friendly and not least cost effective. The more cost effective the more money we have available for our national and private budgets and thereby increasing our welfare.

In our vision of a liveable city, the energy infrastructure is a hidden back bone of the city. Thanks to this infrastructure for electricity, district heating, district cooling and natural gas, hidden below the ground, there is no visible, noisy and polluting energy production plants in the urban area reserved for human activity.

  • The power grid supplies all buildings, except remote islands and transmits mainly renewable electricity from wind turbines and CHP plants to the buildings.
  • The district heating grid delivers surplus heat and renewable heat to all buildings in the city, whereas buildings outside, which are too expensive to supply with district heating are supplied with individual heat pumps and building level plants.
  • The district cooling grid supplies efficient cooling to buildings in the city center, to commercial buildings and to institutions, also limited by the criteria of cost effectiveness.
  • The gas grid supplies the power plants and industries with process energy.

Thus the energy grids have the same importance as water and waste water in modern cities.


Thanks to the grids for energy and environment the plants, which produce our energy and solve our environmental problems can be allocated in certain areas dedicated for this activity and benefitting for the synergies among them.

  • The waste water treatment plant delivers biogas to the gas grid and the sludge incineration plant heat to the grid.
  • The waste incineration plant use all waste, which can-not be recycled, to generate heat and electricity to the grids.
  • The CHP plant generates electricity and heat to the grids based on gas, coal and an increasing share of biomass.
  • The district cooling plant generates cooling and heat to the grids based on electricity or it generates cooling based on surplus heat in the district heating grid.
  • The hot water storage optimizes the heat production day to day or even longer
  • The cold water storage optimizes the cooling production and reduces the need for installed capacity
  • The cooling plant could include an aquifer storages for cold and warm water and there could be access to sea water cooling
  • The district heating could have access to deep geothermal heat.
  • The industries, which have process energy consumption, could use oall services or they could deliver surplus capacity and energy to either district heating or district cooling.

Our buildings have of course to be energy optimized with a good in-door climate and able to use low temperature district heating and high temperature district cooling.

As a result we can use our top floors and enjoy a view to other green and read roofs without any chimneys and other appliances. Only in the distance we can observe some tall stacks and rotating wind turbines indicating where our energy services are generated.

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Primary contact
Anders Dyrelund
+45 51 61 10 00


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