Sön 14 apr / År 42 / Nr 1 2024

Technical Visits in sustainable Umeå; creating a northern hub for cleantech and sustainable urban development

The project Technical Visits in Umeå has created a center and a marketplace for promoting expertise in sustainable construction and cleantech development. The ambition is to secure Umeå’s position as a world leader in sustainable construction and property management in 2020.

The municipality of Umeå’s fundamental functions such as water and waste management as well as energy supply have purposefully worked to get their businesses optimally effective with as little environmental impact as possible. The result has exceeded all expectations, and so the idea came: why not export this expertise both nationally and internationally? In order to manage and sell the collective expertise and local innovations, the company Kompetensspridning Umeå AB was founded in 2009.

Placing Umeå at the global forefront
Pretty soon after being established the idea of ​​involving the regional trade and industry was born within Kompetensspridning, with the ambition to make Umeå into a northern hub for environmental technology and sustainable urban development.
The Network for sustainable construction and property management was thus formed, today focusing on placing the Umeå region at the global forefront of technology and business related to sustainable construction and management in cold climates. The Network consists of private corporations, public organisations and government agencies, as well as representatives from the University of Umeå.
Kompetensspridning Umeå AB can be illustrated as the key to unlock the treasure chest which consists of the municipality’s knowledge and expertise as well as outstanding competence within the local trade and industry.

A marketplace for environmental technologies and innovations
In initiating the project Technical Visits, Kompetensspridning has created a marketplace for municipal and corporate environmental innovations. Interest in environmental technology is constantly increasing, and nationally there is a clear ambition to sell the Swedish expertise on an international market.
“Here in Umeå, we have so much to offer in the context of Technical Visits. We take a comprehensive approach to visitor management and offer value-added solutions around the concept of building a sustainable city”, Project Manager Royne Söderström explains.
Commercial companies, municipalities and authorities are working together in order to highlight regional strengths and new innovations within environmental technology and sustainable construction. Royne Söderström continues:
“The project also involves development of business models for the participating small and medium enterprises in our region, aiming to identify and highlight innovators and create a common platform for them to interact with large national and even international players”.

Export potential
Swedish environmental technology has sparked a great interest world-wide, which also means that the potential to export this expertise looks promising. “Here we would like to cooperate with national players such as ISA, Exportrådet and IVL, but also other local-regional actors in order to achieve a market breakthrough”, Royne Soderstrom states.
Umeå is one of Sweden’s fastest growing cities, a small city, but still outstanding in terms of energy and environmental initiatives. “We have excellent opportunities to manage projects and initiatives affecting the development of the entire city, we also have the support of the entire industry. With Umeå as a model city for urban development we hope to spread our successful concept to other cities in Sweden as well as abroad. It is especially gratifying to work in a city where sustainability issues are high priority among citizens, evident in private businesses and all over the community in fact”, Royne Söderström concludes.