Seoul Metropolitan Government Pushes Ahead with Eco-Friendly Fuel Cell Facilities

Seoul Metropolitan Government is pushing ahead with the development of fuel-cell power supply facilities in World Cup Park, which is currently being transformed into a new and renewable energy landmark. Fuel cells are suitable for downtown areas because they produce both electricity and heat and have the advantage of generating low levels of noise while offering a high degree of spatial efficiency.

Together with the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. Ltd (KHNP), the Korea District Heating Corporation (KDHC), Seoul City Gas, and POSCO Energy, Seoul signed an agreement to push ahead with the Noeul fuel-cell power generation project (total capacity of 20MW), which will be carried out with 100% private-sector capital. Seoul Metropolitan Government will provide the site and the various permits and approvals.

Construction of the fuel-cell facility will begin in December 2013 and be completed in November 2014. The facility will generate sufficient electricity to meets the annual energy requirement of 43,000 households.

Seoul Metropolitan Government and other participants in the project recognized that the development and diffusion of new and renewable energy sources are crucial for resolving future energy problems, and decided to enhance Seoul Metropolitan Government’s electric power independence and to expand its decentralized power supply facilities.

This fuel-cell power generation facility will produce not only electricity but also heat for about 9,000 households. As such, Seoul Metropolitan Government will be able to enhance its energy independence and reduce its annual CO2 emission by 21,000 tons, thereby contributing to the nation’s climate change response.

Seoul Metropolitan Government Build Up a Forest One Hundred Ten Times the Size of Yeouido through the GHG Management System

Solar power generation facility on the roof of the Agricultural Technology Center’s main building

Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced that it has generated effects equal to the creation of a forest one hundred ten times the size of the Yeouido area under its greenhouse gas energy goal management system, which it has implemented since 2011, leading the way in reducing GHG emissions in the public sector.

In 2011, Seoul reduced CO2 emissions by 7,663 tons in its management of sixty-eight public buildings including Seoul City Hall.

In 2012, Seoul reduced CO2 emissions by 357,992 tons under 96 targets including public buildings, waterworks and sewage facilities and resources recovery facilities. The reduced emissions can be translated into an equivalent energy volume of 168,785 TOE.

The reduction of GHG emissions in 2012 alone is equal to the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by 5,400 30-year-old pine trees in one year, which is equivalent to one year’s CO2 absorption by a forest one hundred ten times the size of the Yeouido area (295 ha).

Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to continue to meeting its GHG emission reduction goals. To that end, Seoul will continue to replace dilapidated facilities with energy-saving facilities at ninety-six agencies targeted for GHG gas and energy management in the public sector and the waste sector. Other measures include the installation of solar power generation facilities, the expanded use of LED lights, improved waste heat utilization processes, and the turning off of lighting and stand-by power.

Starting October, Ultra-Fine Dust Information Is Provided via Texting, Street Bulletin Boards, Etc.

Starting in October, Seoul Metropolitan Government began issuing warnings about ultra-fine dust via texting, bus and street bulletin boards, and Twitter. Ultra-fine dust is not visually discernible, but it can be fatal to humans if exposed to it for even a short period.

People suffering from respiratory or cardiovascular diseases in particular should refrain from going out or at least wear a yellow-dust mask upon receiving an ultra-fine dust warning by text.

Ultra-fine dust can be as thin as 1/30 the diameter of a hair, so it cannot be filtered by the nose hair or airway, but infiltrates the pulmonary alveoli, thus having a more harmful effect on the body than fine dust. As ultra-fine dust can scarcely be perceived even in high concentrations, Seoul Metropolitan Government has installed automatic gauges in twenty-five locations across the city’s districts in order to measure the concentration of ultra-fine dust and issue warnings accordingly.

Seoul Metropolitan Government’s ultra-fine dust warning system will be implemented one year earlier than the projected 2015.

Seoul Metropolitan Government issues a “Watch” message if ultra-fine dust persists for two hours at an average hourly concentration of over 85㎍/㎥, and a “Warning” message if it persists for two hours at a concentration of over 120㎍/㎥.

Whenever the concentration of ultra-fine dust in the atmosphere increases dramatically, elderly people, children, and patients with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases should refrain from going out or should avoid traveling in areas with heavy traffic. When going out, citizens are advised to wear yellow-dust masks and clothes with long sleeves.

※ Ultra-fine dust (PM-2.5) : refers to tiny dust particles sized under 2.5㎛; sized 1/30 to 1/200 of a hair’s diameter ( 50~70㎛) (PM-10) : under 10㎛ in diameter . *1㎛= one-millionth of 1m

Reducing Nitrogen Oxide Emissions by 200 Tons by Replacing Boiler Burners

Seoul Metropolitan Government has replaced 425 boiler burners (ignition systems) with low NOx burners, thus reducing NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions by 200 tons and energy consumption by 4,600 TOEs in this year alone. The burning of NOx leads to the formation of acid rain and the development of respiratory diseases.

Under the low NOx burner adoption project, which was launched in 2008, any small business or apartment that replaces its boiler and cooling/heating system burners with the low NOx burners certified by the Ministry of Environment will be compensated by Seoul City with anywhere from KRW 4.2 million to KRW 21 million per boiler replaced depending on its capacity.

Low NOx burners use lower flame temperatures and oxygen concentration, thus generating lower NOx emissions and consuming less energy.

Use of these boilers can reduce NOx emissions by 60%, as well as reducing annual energy consumption worth KRW 3.4 million per ton of boiler capacity, thereby cutting fuel costs to a significant degree.

Given that one-third of NOx emissions are generated by non-industrial sectors such as building heating in Seoul, Seoul City realized that the proper management of boilers is essential to reduce NOx emissions, and announced that, in view of the high level of satisfaction among participants in the campaign, it will continue with the project to encourage a greater number of small businesses and apartment complexes to adoption the low Nox burners.

Heating Supply Project Using Sewage Discharged into Rivers

[ Aerial view of district heating supply facility using Tancehon sewage heat ]

Seoul Metropolitan Government has begun the Tacheon sewage heat recovery project, which consists in recycling water that is discharged from the Tacheon Sewage Treatment Center into the Hangang (River) to generate heat for around 20,000 households.

Scheduled for completion by August 2014, the project entails the installation of various facilities including seven 9Gcal/h heat pumps, heat supply pipes and electrical rooms. After a one-month trial run starting in September 2014, the produced heat will be supplied to the Korea District Heating Corporation.

Sewage heat utilization systems have been widely used in north European countries such as Norway and Sweden since the first and second oil crises, but in recent years they have been used domestically to heat small buildings. At present, the Tancheon, Seonam, Nanji and Jungnang Sewage Treatment Center in Seoul discharge into the Hangang (River) a daily average of 4.39 million tons of sewage, which contains potential heat of around 10°C in winter. The project aims to actively utilize this discharged water.

If this project is expanded to use sewage heat from all of the Sewage Treatment Center including the one in Seonam, the cooling and heating energy generated by sewage heat will be supplied to 110,000 households, i.e. 22% of the 487,000 households which use district heating in Seoul.

Beginning with this sewage heat-generated heating supply, Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to use water from the Han River and the Junnangcheon (Stream), among others, and the underground water from tap water intake plants and subway stations, to further develop its energy supply.

Seoul Metropolitan Government to Hold International Energy Conference; Renowned Scholars to be Invited


Seoul Metropolitan Government will hold the International Energy Conference on November 13 at the City Hall by inviting ten world-renowned scholars such as Amory B. Lovins, founder and senior research fellow of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and Allan Jones, an officer responsible for energy and climate change-related matters at the Sidney.

Natural disasters occurring frequently here and there around the world are a sign of climate change accelerating. Most of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change are being generated from energy overconsumption in large cities.

Seoul Metropolitan Government expects the conference held this time to provide an opportunity to share a sense of crisis regarding such phenomena and to remind large cities including Seoul of their responsibility and role in energy saving.

Participants will discuss the need to formulate energy policies that will enable humankind to survive without energies and ensure the conservation of Mother Earth in a sustainable manner.

Commenting on the event, a Seoul City official said the best choice that will save the Earth from the crisis of climate change is large cities’ positive development of sustainable energy policies. “This conference is expected to open a new chapter in the expansion of the use of recycled energy and the energy saving campaign (Let’s Reduce the Number of Nuclear Power Plants) initiated by Seoul City,” he noted.


“Seoul, a Blooming Flower” Campaign

seoul parks

The “Seoul, a Blooming Flower” Campaign intends to build a cleaner green environment and a healthy society through the dissemination of excellent examples by awarding prizes through competition, at the same time steadily supporting participation by the communities so that citizens may make part of their daily life the planting and cultivation of flowers and trees.

BI of “Seoul, a Blooming Flower”

BI of “Seoul, a Blooming Flower” Campaign

A feeling close to life has been contained in the brand identity(BI) in keeping with the purport of the campaign, i.e., the city government intends to fill every corner of the city with flowers and trees symbolizing beauty and life together with the citizens. “Seoul, a Blooming Flower” is represented by Seoul’s streets and alleys that change actively with the voluntary participation of the citizens and by flowers symbolizing prosperity as well as grasses or trees.

  • Let’s build Seoul like our hometown, a beautiful city full of flowers and trees!
  • Let’s realize a healthy community where hope and happiness are shared!
Examples of citizens’ tree-planting campaigns in other countries
  • UK : Britain in Bloom Campaign – Started in 1963, this campaign reinvigorated the regional economy while improving the environment in 1,100 local communities across the UK each year with 2,100 communities participating, including small blocks, villages, and cities.
  • New York: Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest – The Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest promotes streetscape gardening, tree stewardship, and community development throughout the borough of Brooklyn. Resident groups of neighborhoods or blocks and merchant associations make efforts together (winning blocks and merchant associations are awarded with prizes, and participating groups are given certificates).
Direction of implementation
  • Direction of implementing “Seoul, a Blooming Flower” campaign, Deployment of administrative support structure
  • Development of green culture of cultivating my front yard or village for myself (to promote self-motivation and continuity by encouraging self-pride)
  • Staging a campaign of planting flower trees in every corner of Seoul through the Flower Tree Planting Month (Mar. 20 to April 20)
  • Intensive support by selecting key blocks by area: 694 places in six areas, including apartment houses, arcades or buildings, schools, alleys, villages (commons), and green belts
  • Provision of diverse forms of support to afforestation through citizens’ annual improvement by cultivating spontaneity and soundness of civil society rather than with direct support
  • Exploration, sharing, and dissemination of excellent examples through healthy competition (promotion of effectiveness)
Details practiced by citizens

There are many things that citizens can easily achieve with limited efforts. You may place a small flower pot in front of your home, store, village, school, workplace, and many other spots. You may also make a flower bed by planting flower trees or steward trees or parks on nearby streets or participate in tree-planting events while cultivating virtual trees with the “Tree Planet” game on your smartphone or at the website.

Seoul Metropolitan Government to Require New Large Buildings to Source 10% of Energy Use from Renewable Energy, 50% of Lighting from LED

From now on, new buildings with total floor space of 100,000 ㎡ or more and built in Seoul Metropolitan Government and urban redevelopment projects measuring 90,000 ㎡ each are obligated to source 10 percent or more of their energy needs from renewable energy and 50 percent or more of lighting from high-efficiency LED.

○ The stricter requirements for the installation of renewable energy and high-efficiency LED lighting are based on the July 11 announcement of the change to “Standards of review for environmental impact assessment.”

[Environmental impact assessment]

  • This is a planning method that comprehensively takes into account environment-friendliness as well as economic viability and technology when setting a plan, with a view to preventing environmental pollution preemptively.
  • This system is designed to predict and analyze harmful impact on the environment when a developer implements a development project and consequently seek ways to minimize the impact and have the analysis results reflected on project planning.

※ A good example of “principle of prevention,” which suggests that “prevention is better than cure.”

The new requirements call for about two-fold increase from the previous standards for the obligatory installation of renewable energy facilities for 6 percent of energy use and LED for 25 percent of lighting needs. The new standard will be applied and implemented when new projects undergo environmental impact assessment starting September 1.

Additionally, a new rule that requires developers to meet the requirements for the installation of renewable energy and LED not only when designing facilities but also at the time of project completion has been put in place. Developers should also carry out post-project management when operating the facilities for three years after completion.

These rules are based on the revision of the “Ordinance on environmental impact assessment” announced on August 1. Previously, environmental impact assessment was conducted to focus primarily on the eco-friendly design of facilities and construction. Note, however, that the new measure has been introduced to enhance the practical effectiveness of the system by scrupulously managing the operational process after the completion of a project.

Having upgraded the “requirements for installation of renewable energy and LED lighting,” Seoul Metropolitan City vowed to reduce considerably the volume of energy consumption by buildings, which account for half of the overall energy consumption in the city, by meticulously managing the entire process from design to completion and to post-completion operation phases.

“With the revision of the ordinance on environmental impact assessment, the overall elements of environmental impact assessment which previously focused on design and environmental management are expected to be reinforced in a way that is more realistic and effective. We will continue to strengthen the requirements of new and renewable energy for large buildings subject to environmental impact assessment and transform conventional energy-wasting buildings into those that generate and save energy, thereby increasing the energy self-sustenance ratio of buildings in Central Seoul,” the city said.

Eco Mileage Group Members Save 90,000 tons of Greenhouse Gas through Energy-Saving Efforts

Energy-saving cases

Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) announced that it would award incentives worth 460 million won as well as certification as high energy-saving building to 92 buildings that have posted achievements in energy saving through aggressive investment in the improvement of energy facilities and 13 “excellent power-saving sites” that spearheaded energy-saving campaigns during winter.

By calculating the volume of energy use including electricity, city gas, and tap water as the volume of greenhouse gas emission among Eco Mileage group member buildings, the city selected 92 high energy-efficiency buildings in the first half of 2013 by evaluating energy saving records and cases of buildings that saved more than 10 percent energy compared to the same period for the two previous years. It will provide financial incentives of up to 4 million won per building, or a combined total of 296 million won.

According to SMG, it evaluated 3,300 Eco Mileage group members subject to evaluation this time and found that the volume of greenhouse gas emission declined 3.3 percent from the previous year; this is equivalent to approx. 90,000 tons (91,646 tons) reduction of greenhouse gas.

In addition, more than 2,100 buildings or 64 percent of the 3,300 member buildings were found to have contributed to greenhouse gas reduction through energy-saving activities. The volume is equivalent to the amount of greenhouse gas absorbed by 14 million 30-year-old pine trees for 1 year. Calculated in terms of energy, it amounts to 30,000 TOE, a volume of energy that can power 40,000 passenger cars for 1 year.

“We will expand diverse forms of assistance and incentives to member buildings that take the lead in energy-saving campaigns, including the subsidy of costs for various projects to improve energy efficiency,” Seoul Metropolitan Government said.

Seoul Metropolitan Government Becomes Country’s First Municipality to Provide Subsidy for the Installation of Small Solar Power Plants with Output of 50kW or Less

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that it is the first municipality in Korea to pay a subsidy according to the volume of electricity to be generated for five years following the installation of small solar power plants with an output of 50 kW or less each. The measure forms part of its Sunshine City Seoul campaign, and represents the city’s push to proactively address the situation wherein organizations in the city have been reluctant to install solar power plants in the Seoul region due to the relatively shorter duration of sunlight in Seoul compared with other regions, high construction costs, and higher rents.

The solar energy assistance policy was changed from the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) method to the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) method, a system for promoting competition between power plants, in 2012. As a result, smaller solar power producers with inferior price competiveness have seen their operational conditions deteriorate. To address this problem and to promote the installation of small solar power plants in Seoul, the city has decided to provide the new subsidy.

The city, which recently completed the largest solar power plant in the greater Seoul region, at the Amsa Arisu Water Purification Center, said, “The new assistance system has been introduced to assist small solar power plant operators run by cooperatives managed directly by citizens, which face difficulties due to the geological characteristics of the city and intensified competition with large-scale power plants,” adding, “We hope that the assistance system will encourage more citizens to participate more actively, and thus lead to the installation of more small solar power plants in the Seoul region.”

Find Your Star on the 22nd when All the Lights in Seoul Are Switched Off!

In celebration of the 10th Energy Day on August 22 (Thu) organized by the Citizens’ Association for Saving Energy, Seoul will be switching off its lights from 20:30 to 21:05.

Seoul Metropolitan Government has begun an energy-saving campaign this April to encourage public offices, homes, and offices to switch off their lights for 1 hour every 22nd of the month. The movement will be promoted in conjunction with another energy-saving campaign called “Lights off for Happiness.”

  • “Energy Day”
    The Citizens’ Association for Saving Energy has picked August 22 as “Energy Day,” the day that recorded the highest energy consumption in 2003. The first Energy Day event was held on August 22, 2004. It is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

The ceremony will be hosted by the Citizens’ Association for Saving Energy at 20:00. Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon, the Minister of Trade, Industry, and Energy, and the Minister of Environment will be gracing the event. The save energy declaration and unplugging performance were carefully organized to draw more participants among the citizens. The energy consumption drop from 20:30 to 21:05 will be announced later.

“A single citizen turning the lights off for five minutes may not be much, but if we can get 10 million citizens to participate, we can make history. We hope to see more citizens take part in the movement by turning the lights off from 20:00 to 21:00 every 22nd of the month,” a Seoul official said.

Number of Green Buildings in Seoul Increased 16-Fold for 10 Years

The number of “Green buildings” realizing a fresh, healthy residential environment through efficient energy use and creation of eco-friendly environment is increasing in Seoul.

Seoul Metropolitan Government saw the number of buildings that acquired green building certification (“green buildings”) increase sharply over the past 10 years. The number of buildings that acquired certification increased from only 1 in 2004 to 53 cases on the average per year over the past three years.

Moreover, out of 10,452,000 ㎡new buildings (authorized for occupancy, total floor space) over the past three years (2010 ~ 2012), 35 percent (based on total floor space) or 3,645,000㎡ acquired certification as green buildings, with eco-friendly buildings robustly spreading in the city.

The green building certification system has been implemented since 2002. Buildings are classified into four grades from the top (Green Grade 1) to the ordinary (Green Grade 4) through general evaluation in seven categories including land use, transportation, energy, environmental pollution, and indoor environment of buildings.

According to Seoul Metropolitan Government, buildings consume 56 percent (as of 2011) of energy, and 83 percent of electricity that is consumed in Seoul. Thus, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings, rather than short-term energy-saving campaigns, is a fundamental solution to the power supply crisis in recent months, and it is important to construct green buildings designed to save energy, it said. “We urge more building owners to participate in the certification of green buildings, which are entitled to tax benefits and financial assistance for certification costs,” it added.