15. May 2024

Updrift Copenhagen: Sustainable climate adaptation

What if storms and downpours aren’t a problem but just a type of weather? Or are the sewers too small for extreme rain, where neighborhoods risk drowning? Then Updrift Copenhagen is here to help. They help municipalities, utilities, insurance companies, and housing companies adapt cities, buildings, and landscapes to climate change.

CEO and founder Cathrine Leth created the Cloudburst Valve, and she has used Clean to strengthen her pitch and showcase the solution at various trade fairs.

The idea for the Cloudburst Valve originated back in 2011, when Copenhagen experienced a historically heavy cloudburst. Like most people, Cathrine got water from the roof via the sewer into the basement. Her clever neighbor did not. The neighbor had broken the connection between the roof and the sewer, so the cloudburst water ran directly into the garden.


It makes sense to divert the intense rainfall away from the sewer system during cloudbursts. Because in a short time, the rain falls, and even large sewers will be too small for cloudbursts. Green surfaces are often very well suited to infiltrate and delay cloudburst water in many places. And that’s where the Cloudburst Valves are brilliant – Cathrine Leth, founder, Updrift. Copenhagen.


Cloudburst vents are installed on the downpipe and direct normal rain to the sewer, but they close automatically during extreme rain. The water is then directed into the garden, where it does no harm—on the contrary, it seeps down. If the sewer is overloaded, the water ends up in basements or as sewage in nature.

The vent has been tested in four pilot projects, which have shown that it is effective at climate adaptation and helps to preserve good sewers. In one neighborhood, the cloudburst vent has decoupled 10,000 m2 of roof in a few months.


The Climate Alliance brings solutions to citizens on a silver platter

The second leg of Updrift CPH’s work is their Klimalancen concept. Cathrine and the team behind Updrift CPH quickly realized that many climate adaptation solutions were on the market, but not all of them were brought to life. That’s why they created Klimalancen, which takes the solutions to the citizens on a silver platter, so they can help solve the big challenge that climate adaptation can be.

By driving out to citizens with a Klimalancen trailer, Updrift CPH and Cathrine connect with citizens so they can find the solution that suits their neighborhood and property in collaboration with the local utility company.


In Klimalancen, we have gathered climate solutions and developed processes that involve citizens in making them work. And the citizens are thrilled about it. They think it’s great to get new knowledge and the opportunity to act on it at the same time – Cathrine Leth, founder.


Klimalancen is a pre-packaged citizen involvement concept sold to municipalities, utilities, and climate contractors. The themes for citizen involvement can be many, such as climate adaptation, biodiversity, energy optimization, etc.


The goal is to get many people in the same neighborhood to act on the same agenda. And experience shows that many people want to when it comes on a ‘silver platter’ – Cathrine Leth, founder, Updrift Copenhagen.


Opportunity to exhibit in front of the big players through the Water- and Environment Cluster

Updrift Copenhagen has been a member of Clean for a couple of years and has exhibited at major trade shows such as IWA and TechBBQ. Cathrine has benefited from the fact that Clean provides stand and space for members and promotes them:


Clean has been fantastic for me as an entrepreneur. Exhibiting at TechBBQ and IWA 2022 has opened up contacts and many curious 1:1 meetings with potential customers and partners.


It’s also great that Clean is proactive about its members’ needs and interests. For example, they have tipped me off about relevant fund applications.


Become a member of the Danish Water and Environment Cluster today

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