In an exclusive new study looking at environmental factors as diverse as pollution, car use and energy efficiency, the Danes soar ahead. And the like the football, the Continent leaves the UK in its wake

Denmark 1 Spain 0

The Spanish football team return to Madrid today carrying aloft the Euro 2008 funeral urn. But what about the bigger prize? The Sustainability Green Euro 2008, brought to you by the Building sustainability channel, is an exclusive study of the broad environmental performance of different European countries which includes built environment measures such as household energy efficiency and take up of renewable technologies.

Denmark was the winner with the least environmental impact, scoring 22 points. The Danes were way ahead of Sweden, who came in with 31. Spain were nearest the bottom of the selected best performing countries (see below) and had an 42 point impact. The full Champions League of sustainability can be found below.

Who’s competing?

Following an initial selection of five countries from energy efficiency champions, the Association for the Conservation of Energy (UKACE), we have been crunching a broad range of numbers from various European data sources, including the EEA,, Odyssey Indicators, the IEA Global Energy Policy and various universities to give you a snap shot guide to the greenest country in the EU.

What are they being judged on

We think we’ve examined every facet of greenness within the countries recommended from biodiversity (organic farming) to public transport (car ownership); from building efficiency (energy consumption of households) to plain old greenhouse gas emissions. UKACE has given us the thumbs up and head of research, Pedro Guertler has made a few notes.

Some figures which would have been lovely to include, for example the amount of money spent on public transport and the amount of CO² emitted in the production of concrete, but these figures proved impossible to find in the first case and in the second, countries on our list were missing. So we’ve done the best we can.

How we’ve ranked them

We’ve ranked countries, one to five and also included the numbers and units so you can check our maths for yourself. We’ve put the UK’s figures next to the super league for comparison. We have not included the source of the figures for reasons of space and elegance. If anyone wants to see them apply, as ever, within.


There’s not much about improvement in the figures. Perhaps we should have included more. On the other hand, the winner is still second from the top in energy efficiency improvement since 1990 and the worst are broadly at the bottom.

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