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City of Chicago and Sønderborg Municipality sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Efficiency

The cities plan to exchange knowledge and policy ideas to spur more energy efficient solutions.

Today, Angela Tovar, Sustainability Officer for the City of Chicago, Erik Lauritzen, Mayor of Sønderborg Municipality and Frank Hansen, Consulate General of Denmark in Chicago met to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on energy efficiency. Both cities are focused on energy optimization to benefit both their residents and the planet. The agreement will create a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences with everything from policy development and regulation to research and innovation. The Consulate General in Chicago will facilitate exchange visits between experts, regulatory actors, and relevant commercial actors as well as arrange joint seminars, workshops, and a possible feasibility study on a public building in Chicago. The partnership will contribute to reaching both American and Danish goals to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

 The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that energy efficiency must contribute to approximately 40 percent of the necessary carbon emission reductions if the UN’s climate goals are to be met globally. For the next two days, the IEA, the Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities of Denmark, the Confederation of Danish Industry and State of Green are gathering decision makers and the industry in Sønderborg for the annual IEA conference on energy efficiency to strengthen the efforts in the field.

The City of Chicago recently released the 2022 Climate Action Plan, the first in 14 years, which outlines a number of climate action goals and set an interim goal of a 62 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 while deliver equitable benefits to Chicago’s communities.

The CAP identifies eight focus and action points to reach the city’s climate goals. Retrofitting and electrifying buildings are lifted up as a critical action in the plan, as the operations of buildings is currently the largest source of carbon emissions in Chicago.


"We are excited to partner with the Sønderborg Municipality as we push forward with our sustainability efforts for the City of Chicago,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Angela Tovar. “This memorandum will serve as a key reminder of the importance of partnership and exchange of knowledge as we look for policy solutions to our climate goals.”

Through progressive regulation and a strong culture for public-private partnerships, Denmark has developed a platform for energy efficient solutions. Sønderborg Municipality is a successful example of this. Through their innovative mindset and ambitious Project Zero, where the goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of the municipality to zero in 2029, they have positioned themselves as a global frontrunner on making a green transition. With their extensive experience, Sønderborg Municipality can contribute to accelerating the green transition in the City of Chicago.

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We hope with this memorandum of understanding that we can support the City of Chicago’s sustainable ambitions. Sønderborg Municipality is a living demonstration of great energy savings. For example, through our renovation of many municipal buildings, whilst also setting sustainable requirements for new constructions. At the same time, we have skilled companies in Sønderborg Municipality who are strong in technology, smart energy systems and other solutions to minimize emission of carbon. Thus, we have a strong position when it comes to sustainable solutions that can contribute to the City of Chicago’s green transition process. Of course, we also expect to benefit from the agreement,

Erik Lauritzen Mayor of Sønderborg Municipality

Denmark is a small country and reducing our climate footprint is but a small part of a successful green transition on a global scale. Denmark has experience and solutions that contribute to this transition outside of the Danish borders and this partnership will ensure successful energy transition for the City of Chicago as well.


“With Denmark’s green leadership position and strongholds within energy efficiency, this cooperation between Sønderborg Municipality and City of Chicago is meant to be a platform where we can inspire each other with learnings and solutions across the Atlantic to reach our climate goals most efficiently,” says Frank Hansen, Consulate General of Denmark in Chicago.


For both the U.S. and Danish public administration, strengthening the transatlantic cooperation with focus on the green agenda is a priority, and Denmark has similar agreements to cooperate on a federal, state and city level, including California, Virginia and NYSERDA.

From the left: Angela Tovar, Frank Hansen, and Erik Lauritzen. 

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