Bringing Swedish innovation, lifestyle and sustainability to China, through Yantai Eco City

Published in NEWS on July 14, 2021

Urbanization is shifting from speed to quality across many Second- and Third-Tier cities in China and the city of Yantai in Shandong is no different. Hence, China-Sweden Hammarby Eco City Alliance was formed by White Peak, together with Business Sweden, Sweco and Envac in 2019 to realize the need for high-quality urbanization. One of the main focus of the Eco City Alliance is “the green system”, with the aim to promote environmental protection concepts and to utilize renewable energy, recyclable resources, and green building materials to create sustainable communities. White Peak’s Yantai Hammarby Eco City sets up a model for future projects across China.

The vision for green living is embodied in Hammarby Eco City

Proving that the White Peak vision for sustainable living is in line with the accelerated transition toward healthy and green lifestyles in China, Hammarby Eco City was one of the top-selling residential projects in the growing city of Yantai, Shandong Province, in 2020. This flagship project, scheduled to be delivered to residents in 2022, incorporates the sustainability concepts of the Hammarby Sjöstad model in Sweden and localizes them for China.

Integrating Swedish innovation and lifestyle elements, the impact of the Hammarby model in China is magnified by the partnerships with a number of well-known Swedish companies that are also committed to sustainability.

COVID-19 has been a catalyst for people in China to think anew about how and where they live, and their impact on the planet. It is accelerating change for the better. As attitudes shift, White Peak is well positioned for a new era in Chinese urban living. White Peak has been driven for many years by a vision of sustainable living for Chinese homeowners, a concept more relevant today than ever before.”

—— Jesper Jos Olsson, Group CEO and Founding Partner, White Peak

 Embracing unprecedented change

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way people live and work. The experience of being quarantined at home for weeks, even months, or even just working from home, along with the need to socially distance in public spaces, has caused many people to reconsider their living spaces and how conducive their homes are to a healthy lifestyle. People want clean air indoors, purified water and waste separation and disinfection to help protect against disease. They also want to live in a caring community that can support their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

The popularity of Yantai Hammarby Eco City proves White Peak’s vision meets the shift in China toward healthier and greener lifestyles that has been accelerated by the pandemic. In April 2020, after the reopening of our sales office, Hammarby Eco City sales rocketed to No.1 in Yantai, a growing city with a population of 7 million.

Yantai Hammarby Eco City apartments feature a dual-way fresh air system, in-house water purifiers, an underground vacuum waste collection system by Envac, along with a spacious communal green area and community living room.

2060 carbon neutrality target

“The Paris Agreement on climate change charts the course for the world to transition to green and low-carbon development… China will scale up its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions by adopting more vigorous policies and measures. We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.”

—— Chinese President Xi Jinping, September 2020.

White Peak’s vision for green living is also well-aligned with China’s emissions reduction goals. White Peak incorporate sustainability throughout their business and projects, and are committed to reducing energy use by at least 20% from the national standard.

Green solutions meet changing consumer aspirations

When White Peak made the decision to localize the original Hammarby model in China, they wanted to retain and emphasize the Swedish approach to green living. They wanted to share with Chinese consumers the Nordic lifestyle, which is based on sustainable and resident-friendly communities.

Growing together with China, White Peak has been ahead of the curve in spotting the growing environmental awareness in the country and the green ambitions of the nation’s policymakers.

Deeply rooted in the Chinese residential market for over a decade, White Peak understands the underlying healthy lifestyle desires that go beyond the demand for residential space as a result of China’s ongoing urbanization.

White Peak takes a long-term perspective when developing projects, requiring them to have an in-depth understanding of customers’ requirements. This is achieved through research and data-driven analysis.

With the established local teams, White Peak are able to gather first-hand information on what customers are looking for through direct interactions and consultations. As a result, the solutions meet people’s requirements and expectations.

Clean-air solution

In China, air quality has long been a cause of concern. Well aware that particulate matter can enter the bloodstream and potentially cause cancers, strokes and heart attacks, Chinese consumers are highly sensitized to air quality.

To ensure residents breathe healthy air, apartments at Hammarby Eco City feature a dual fresh air system that continuously exchanges the indoor air with the air outside, filtering out PM 2.5 particles in the process.

Environmentally friendly temperature control

Yantai is a coastal city, and the air is humid. Customers place a premium on being able to keep indoor temperatures within a comfortable range. At the same time, they want temperature control systems that are environmentally friendly.

Hammarby Eco City features an air-source heat pump system that enables indoor temperatures to be set at the most comfortable temperature ranges for humans, 18-25°C in winter and 23-28°C in summer. Moreover, Hammarby Eco City apartments incorporate a facade and window thermal insulation system, effectively preventing heat conduction. In addition, a solar water heating system is employed to guarantee environmentally friendly domestic hot water.

Building a healthy home environment

Chinese people are increasingly demanding a healthy environment. The quality of the air, including the smell and the concentration of bacteria and viruses, is factored into the decisions of homebuyers. So too is water quality. Water purification for safe water in the kitchen provides real health value. The healthiness of the home and community environment are key considerations when making the decision to buy.

White Peak works to raise the awareness of residents on the importance of underground vacuum garbage collection for more hygienic garbage removal, as well as the benefits of air filtration and water purification systems.

Story of Hammarby Eco City: Good-bye to all of that

“It was love at first sight,” says Lisa Dong, whose family bought a three-bedroom (98m2) apartment at the Yantai Hammarby Eco City in the summer of 2020. They looked at several projects in Yantai before making their choice.

Their timing was significant, shopping in the wake of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lisa’s family was forced to self-isolate for almost three months with only brief spells outdoors. “Such a long time in the same place really focused us on its shortcomings. It felt like a prison for the three of us. We noticed how poor the ventilation was and were desperate for fresh air.”

Lisa, her husband and her teenage son currently live in a decades-old apartment building not far from the Eco City. Among the drawbacks of such older buildings is the collection of household rubbish in dumpsters on the street outside. Lisa was delighted to see that would not be the case at Eco City.

Eco City apartments employ a vacuum waste-collection system, which whisks the garbage into an underground holding area. “I’ll be so happy not to endure smelly garbage as we come and go from our home.”

Indoors, the apartments have a two-way air purification system. “Though some developers claim to sell fresh air, Eco City shows you how it’s done. We could see the system working in the Product Experience Zone. It was exactly what we wanted.”

Even though their move-in date still lies in 2022, Lisa now considers herself part of the Hammarby Eco City community and even brings homemade food to share with the salespeople, who have begun calling her the Eco City’s “unofficial spokeswoman.” The couple are so in love with the Eco City that they frequently bring their friends to see Hammarby and explain how it perfectly balances the Swedish and Chinese lifestyles while being eco-friendly.

“We’ve been thinking about how we live, and the Hammarby concept is where we want to go. We feel that in our own small way we’re helping address China’s environmental problems.”

Alliance with like-minded Swedish partners to promote sustainability in China

 “In order to create a truly sustainable world, for ourselves as well as future generations, it is essential that we succeed in developing cities with good living habitats by using long-lasting sustainable technologies.”

—— H.E. Helena Sångeland, Swedish Ambassador to China

White Peak aims to make a bigger impact in sustainability by working with like-minded partners. To help realize the vision of green living in China and achieve the long-term promise of sustainability, White Peak initiated the China-Sweden Hammarby Eco City Alliance.

In the Alliance, White Peak introduces market-leading Swedish technologies, processes and approaches that are in line with the vision for green living and provides an authentic and qualitative Nordic experience that meets the requirements of Chinese customers for healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyles.

The growing desire in China for high-quality real estate developments that are environmentally friendly is matched by the Chinese government’s commitment to realize sustainable development. Green technology and ESG practices from Sweden can help serve the needs of many cities in China. Hammarby Eco City is a realization of the sustainability visions of China and Sweden, linking the green values of the two nations.