Umeå with 120 000 inhabitants is the center of growth in northern Sweden and has doubled its population over the last 50 years. It is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities in an otherwise sparsely populated region. Umeå’s vision is to grow sustainably to 200 000 citizens by 2050. The municipality of Umeå has approximately 11 000 employees which makes it the largest employer in Umeå. It is responsible for several areas which affect the lives of the local citizens. For example planning and building issues, health and environmental protection, street cleaning, waste management, water and sewage, emergency services, public order and safety and schools.
Umeå municipality manages over a total of 700 000 m2 of buildings which the property department is responsible for. They handle repairs, construction and energy efficiency projects. The property department has a big role in reducing energy use in municipal buildings by investments and behavior changes of the municipal staff. Recent ended EPC project which included more than half of the building stock resulted in energy savings of approximately 17 %. The municipality of Umeå also provides energy advice service for the public, small and medium enterprises and various organizations. It is an independent service, free of charge for the citizens. The energy advice service also works with energy strategies and various environmental projects targeting both the municipal organization and the public.
Umeå is located on the Ume River, 600 km north of Stockholm. The climate of Umeå is subarctic, with short and fairly warm summers. Winters are lengthy and freezing but, considering the latitude, very mild due to the influence of the Gulf Stream. Average January temperature is about −8 °C, August is 16 °C; the HDD Heating Degree Days is 4855 and CDD Cooling Degree Days is 98. Considering its proximity to a major water body and its latitude, summers are hotter than expected and can be compared to coastal areas on Sweden's west coast much further south. It is the biggest city in Norrland, the capital of Västerbotten County and the 11th biggest city in Sweden. Umeå with 120 000 inhabitants is the center of growth in northern Sweden and has doubled its population over the last 50 years. The city was elected European Capital of Culture in 2014, and was shortlisted for the European Green Capital award in 2016 and again in 2017.