So, today has been pretty crazy. I finally wound up in Stockholm at around 2pm local time. From the airport, I was whisked straight to a meeting about an environmentally-friendly community, which felt a bit like a timeshare pitch. But, there was some solid information coming out of it. You know what struck me as crazy? You can rent a unit in this development for up to €1,100 a month, or you can buy a unit for around €400,000. That’s a pretty big gap.
The apartments aren’t small, coming in at around 700sqft each. My beef is that it is far cheaper to rent than to buy. Think about it. You’re looking at a purchase price of around $500,000. Even if you come up with a 20 percent down payment, you’re looking at a $400,000 mortgage. That would easily cost you more than $3,500 a month … not including up to $500 a month in utility bills. Meanwhile, renters are looking at around $1,300 a month, and that includes all utilities. So, why the hell buy?
The development itself is impressive. It is designed to minimize the environmental footprint of the residences, from water to waste management. As much as possible, recycled or reused materials are incorporated into construction. Waste from the residences is used to create energy, alleviating some of the need for outside sources. The goal is to reduce the environmental footprint by 50 percent relative to the Stockholm average for the late 1990s. So far, they have been able to reach the 30 percent to 40 percent range. Not bad at all.
This structure began its life as art, but the installation piece is now used for functions, particularly when the weather is nicer and the days are longer.
Waste disposal units are available all over this environmentally-friendly development. All waste is sent to centralized facilities, reducing the need for frequent and distributed trash pickup efforts by truck, further lowering the environmental footprint of the development.
There are chutes for different types of waste. This one is for newspapers. So far, the residents are not doing badly; approximately 80 percent of the garbage winds up where it belongs. But, the team does acknowledge that a success rate of 90 percent is where the program belongs.
Waste dumped in these chutes is used for a variety of purposes, from recycling to the generation of energy. It isn’t enough to power the entire development, but it does alleviate dependence on outside sources. Every little bit helps.
If nothing else, there are some really cool views.