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Did you know that eco-friendly Reykjavík has the world’s largest geothermal heating system and that green-minded Icelanders have been at the forefront of exploration of alternative fuel and electric cars? A considerable number of the vegetables and fruits consumed by Icelanders are also grown in greenhouses heated geo-thermally and illuminated by hydro-electricity. There is even a large banana plantation in Iceland. Ever better for the visitor — Icelandic tap water is famous for being pure and untainted with chemicals and minerals, with a healthy high Ph for the human body.
The world’s largest geothermal heating system is located in the Icelandic capital. It has been growing and improving since it opened in 1930. All buildings in Reykjavík are heated with geothermal water and the majority of households in the country are heated in the same way, which means less pollution and fewer emissions. All buildings are therefore comfortably warm, even during the coldest winter days.
For half a century emission of greenhouse gases in Reykjavík have been systematically reduced and residents have found use for the surplus water using the 20°-40°C water that has already heated their homes to keep ice from forming on their driveways and pavements.
SCANDINAVIAN DESTINATION SUSTAINABILITY INDEXReykjavík is now in fifth place in the classification of over 20 Nordic cities, which are evaluated according to their sustainability performance as major meeting destinations This is a giant leap for Reykjavík as a conference destination, considering that it occupied the third last place just a year ago. This means that Reykjavík’s total score has now risen by 44%.This Sustainability Index is calculated by the Nordic division of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). Its objective is to show potential clients how much “green” emphasis is placed on the hosting of meetings and conferences in the relevant city.The ICCA index focuses on the sustainability of the infrastructures of the relevant cities, on one hand, and the green priorities of servicing entities, on the other. This includes, among other things, factors such as recycling, energy consumption, the dissemination of know-how and environmental certification
HEALTH BENEFITSThermal water has boundless health benefits. Sore joints, swollen muscles and stiff limbs are soothed in warm thermal pools. Every community in Iceland has easy access to warm geothermal swimming pools and many households, cottages and hotels have installed their own hot tubs. Eighteen thermal swimming pools and numerous luxurious spas in the Reykjavík capital area are open throughout the year. Additionally, the now world famous Blue Lagoon has taken the unique healing properties of the water and certain minerals to a whole new level. It’s a memorable place where stunning nature nourishes the mind while algae and minerals in the water benefit your skin.
ORGANIC AND BIOLOGICALLY GROWN VEGETABLES & FRUITSMany of the vegetables and fruits consumed by Icelanders are grown in greenhouses that are geothermal heated and illuminated by hydroelectricity. The temperate climate in Iceland makes it extremely suitable for greenhouse horticulture. The abundant and pristine clean groundwater further adds to the quality of the product. Dependent on artificial light during the dark winter months, Icelandic farmers take pride in their environmentally-friendly growing methods. Bees are imported to fertilize the plants, as are insects that help to limit the number of parasites that might risk causing damage. It’s no wonder Icelandic vegetables are so rich in flavour and colour.
MOST ECO-FRIENDLY CONFERENCE CENTRE IN THE WORLD?Since opening its doors in May 2011, the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre is believed to be the most eco-friendly conference centre in the world. The building was designed to use mostly natural light through its glass façade, which covers three of the four sides of the building and results in significant reduction in power consumption. All organizations that were chosen to operate within Harpa have sustainability as one of their main goals. Both restaurants and catering services use mainly local produce when preparing their dishes. They also follow strict recycling standards and use environmentally friendly cleaning materials.
ICELANDAIR ENVIRONMENTAL POLICYIcelandair has adopted an environmental policy.The goal of their policy is to minimize Icelandair’s total environmental impact and to establish sustainable practices by optimizing the use of the resources.
HOTELS FOLLOWING ENVIRONMENTAL POLICYHilton Hotel Nordica and Icelandair Reykjavík Natura and Icelandair Reykjavík Marina have been certified with ISO14001 environmental management system. Grand Hotel Reykjavik conforms with the Nordic Ecolabelling criteria for hotels as well as offering certified organic products, at the breakfast buffet and in meeting packages for conferences and groups.
Icelanders are at the forefront of exploration of alternative fuel and electric cars. Methane, hydrogen and electric cars are in use by a number of civil services within the city and the municipal government intends to increase the number of these types of vehicles further.
Methane and hydrogen filling stations are located within city limits, encouraging the public to make use of these cheaper and more eco-friendly energy sources to fuel their car.
Reykjavík city Council is running a campaign as of October 1st 2012 with the motto "Paper is not Trash". Residents of Reykjavík will have to sort their waste and place paper in separate bin to general household waste. The paper will be sent to Sweden for recycling.
Modern living requires the extensive use of energy sources. All energy use influences the environment in some way.
Geothermal energy is not only economical but also ecologically friendly in the sense that it is renewable and can be utilized with minimal damage to the local surroundings.
Hydroelectric energy in Iceland is also sustainable and provides over 70% of the energy consumed nationwide.
The Icelandic government has stated an objective of making Iceland the first nation to use only renewable energy for its power in the near future according to the Icelandic National Strategy for sustainable development.
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