#onedaywith Peder Berne


The integrator

The integrator

In Malmö’s neighborhood of Hyllie, everything is done sustainably, including living, driving & even swimming. In the middle of it all is city project leader & fly fisherman, Peder Berne.

It’s just after seven-thirty in the morning, and being late summer in Sweden, it’s sunny, but really cold. We have just arrived, a bit too late, at Peder’s smart home. Just as we are about to knock on the door, he peaks outside, wearing a thick jacket & with two children in tow: Truls, age three & Hedwig, five years old.

„Hey, Peder! We wanted to come in and see your magical smart home!“ The photographer smiles & nods along to my suggestion. Mostly, we are hoping for a nice, hot cup of coffee. Peder laughs and says that we can visit him at home later, in the afternoon.

„My wife needs to go to work a bit early today. That’s why I have to take the kids to daycare. But it’s just across the street. After that, we’ll drive to the office.”

While he strolls across the street to bring the kids to daycare, we take a look at the double garage next to the townhouse where he lives – both equipped with E.ON charging stations. On the left is a hybrid car from Mitsubishi. On the right is a BMW i3, which runs on pure electricity. That’s Peder’s car.

Making Waves Worldwide: The Sustainable City of Hyllie


A half an hour later, we’re in Peder’s office. Like any other day, he’s got a full calendar, which isn’t a surprise, because the smart city project in Hyllie is one of the best in the energy industry. Where other places are still planning & conceptualizing, Hyllie is two steps ahead. This neighborhood in Sweden’s southernmost metropolis used to be structurally disadvantaged. Though the efforts of the three project partners, E.ON, VA SYD (the local water & waste company) & the city of Malmö, the area has gone through a mini renaissance. Today, it’s a prime real estate destination, especially for young families.

In the year 2020, Hyllie will run completely on renewable energy. That’s the plan. The project is based on the integration of important control loops, in particular: energy, waste and mobility. In practice, this means open access to car sharing for all residents & smart controls for household appliances, which automatically determine when electricity costs are lowest.

They have Ibrahimovic – we have Peder

Peder’s time is in demand, even within the company. The colleagues in Berlin have been busy wheeling & dealing on the internal transfer market & have secured a contract with Peder as a smart city strategist. He will bring his experience to the German capital city in 2017. It’s a great example of how knowledge is shared at E.ON. His wife & children are excited about the move to the big city with the river Spree.

From charging stations to urban gardening

charging station

The next appointment is with our colleague Ann-Nina from corporate communications. We’re talking to her about a television report for which she needs Peder’s input. After checking e-mails and making a few calls, there’s also an appointment with the city government of Malmö. A wealthy investor is interested in building a new apartment complex in Hyllie. The meeting is confidential, so we can’t accompany Peder, but we agree to meet-up later at the Hyllie visitor center, where a group of school children will learn about the smart city concept.

We explore the area by foot, passing shopping centers & residential areas. At first sight, Hyllie looks like a new, clean & well planned out neighborhood. But after a second glance, we notice the electric cars, the green roofs & the charging stations.

Later, Peder meets us at the center, along with an extremely loud group of school kids & their teacher. He smiles at us and says, “Just two minutes”.

We enter the visitor center – which looks like nothing special from the outside, but which has an amazing technical set-up inside. It only takes a hot minute for the school kids to quiet down. We stand in a darkened semi-circled room & enjoy two multimedia shows: the first about Hyllie, the second about sustainable living.



"Holy Cow!", I say, as we’re blasted with big images and massive bass tones. It’s pretty clever to entertain the kids with modern sights & sounds, instead of a boring corporate presentation. During the entire half hour, not even a single one of them pulled out a smartphone.

Practice what you preach

After visiting two apartment complexes, we want to round out the day by finding out more about what makes Peder tick, and why he’s so passionate about “smart living”. We accompany him home.


Peder’s wife, Hanna, has already picked up the kids from daycare. As we enter his house, Truls & Hedwig rush to the door – in bathing suits. Before we can check out the house, Peder takes his two giggling children out to the back yard, where we step into a small, tropical garden, which extends beyond borders into the neighbor’s lawns. In the middle is a thin, long pool, heated by solar energy. Altogether, it looks as if we are in a miniature green-yellow jungle, right inside the city. There are families from different houses hanging out together at the pool – a clever plan. Here you can have fun, and also be part of the neighborhood.

As Peder is now completely absorbed by the children, his better-half, Hanna, shows us a few features of the house built by E.ON. The first thing is a garbage disposal which leads the shredded organic waste to the local biogas plant.

A number that we can remember: With the energy from 10 kg organic waste, you can drive an E-car for 10 km. What else we saw: solar panels on the roof, energy storage in the cellar, an app to regulate energy use on a tablet & a garage with charging stations. But what really blew us away was the urban gardening concept. On every floor of the complex, there were actually glassed-in, walk-in gardens, right in the middle of the living room & around the furniture.

We sit down by the pool and chat. For the very busy project leader, there is very little time left over for hobbies. But this doesn’t bother the father of two. Every now & then, the kids get picked up by their grandparents, and Hanna & Peder have time to go out for dinner & a movie. But the best quiet moments are those down by the river, while fly fishing.

Wouldn’t it be great if we would come along with him tomorrow, his free day? He will get started at 4:00 a.m.

„That would be super,“ I said, „But wait, I think I misheard you, did you say 4:00 a.m.?”

He laughs & says that I should be on time. Not late, like I was this morning.

So much for German punctuality.