Swedish Innovation System for a Smart Green City Development
Urbanisation 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. The city is looking for sustainable solutions to meet the demand for upgraded housing and improved quality of life for residents. The city government had the vision to develop the large industrial area of aged factories and warehouse to the west of the city centre.
White Peak impressed the Yantai government by introducing the Hammarby concept, a global model for sustainable city development. The Yantai Hammarby Eco City project was thus approved, with the goal of transforming the aged industrial area in Yantai into a community modelled on the original Hammarby and localised for China.
The Yantai Hammarby Eco City is built on four systems. These interconnected systems differentiate White Peak in the market because each carefully considers local adaption of Swedish lifestyle.
The first system is “green” with the aim to promote environmental protection concepts and to utilise renewable energy, recyclable resources, and green building materials to create sustainable communities. The Eco City utilises technical solutions to close the loop of the waste, energy, and water and sewage eco-cycles. Solar panels, energy-saving insulation and rainwater recycling all contribute to ways that White Peak is reducing the Eco City’s impact on the environment. Biodiversity is also carefully considered to preserve native plants and the natural landscape.
The second system, “digital technology”, employs advanced digital technology to inbuild a SMART and intelligent community. China’s technological advancements are an opportunity for White Peak to build on the original Hammarby model and update it for China’s rapidly changing technology landscape. Technology will be integrated with digital software to enhance the user experience, guide space and services optimisation and promote operation efficiency.
The third system, “safety and comfortability”, is achieved through design to create a safe and comfortable living environment both physically and psychologically. Residents will feel that their community is working with them and for them to improve their quality of life. Barrier-free designs and charging piles for electric vehicles will encourage mobility and eco-conscious choices alongside providing convenience, and an omni-directional security system ensures residents and visitors are safe at all times of day or night. Water purification and floor heating in homes keeps residents comfortable and healthy year-round.
The final system, “community”, is the hallmark of White Peak’s Hammarby Eco City in Yantai. Versatile community engagement scenes and rich spaces for socialising are seamlessly integrated into the Eco City. To share White Peak’s Swedish cultural heritage, a comprehensive ice hockey hall is a key focal point for community gathering and for children and adults alike to participate in indoor winter sports. Outdoor reception areas, outdoor playgrounds for kids and jogging tracks dot and criss-cross the Eco City to provide residents with access to not only nature, fresh air and safe exercise for all ages, but also a common space for interaction.
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
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.
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.
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.
Given the large scale of Yantai Hammarby Eco City the project has been developed in phases, where the first phase of the 220,000 m² development project is proceeding smoothly according to the development schedule.
The first batch of residential units of Yantai Hammarby Eco City had already been delivered to customers in 2022. Recently the project won the Bronze Award of Best Green Development in the MIPIM Asia Award 2022.
The project has satisfied customer needs and reduced environmental impact and has achieved a BREEAM rating of “Very Good”, showing that the Swedish solutions are key to the happiness of the community through healthier and greener living. In addition to this, the project has managed to achieve decreased environmental impact, namely:
— Renewable energy heated water accounting for 100% of the water used indoor
— HVAC system saving 14.3% energy compared to Shandong provincial standard, while the reduction in carbon during operating stage is 10.3%
— Water efficiency in the washroom has reached national second grade
— 90% of the landscaping uses water saving devices, such as humidity and raindrop sensors
— The greening rate is 46% on site
In order to advocate for sustainability, White Peak designed and built a Sustainability Center at Yantai Hammarby Eco City, showcasing the Hammarby Eco City Model and White Peak’s sustainable development journey in China.
The 400m2 Sustainability Centre showcases high quality, health focused, smart and green housing by Nordic standards. In the long run, the venue will be used for exhibition and community activities, to advocate for sustainable culture and lifestyle. The construction is completed and the Center will open soon.
In 2021 for the first time, White Peak calculated and analysed the whole life-cycle emissions of a typical White Peak project, embarking supply chain partners in the process.
The study, following international methodology (ISO 14040 / 14044 / 21930), concluded that the project had an overall footprint of 159,302 T CO₂-e. This represents a carbon intensity of 1,193 Kg CO₂-e/m2 , 32% lower than the baseline1 carbon emissions of a standard building. In other words, it corresponds to avoiding the construction of 42,870 m2 of typical residential buildings.
“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.”