A good short profile of the city of Freiburg, Germany, and their many sustainability initiatives. Freiburg is a little more than double Boulder’s size — both in population and area, so it has a similar average population density. It’s also a university town with a strong tech sector locally. The whole city was re-built post WWII, but they chose to build it along the same lines as the old city, with a dense core, and well defined boundaries. Today about half of daily trips are done by foot or on bike, with another 20% on public transit. They have a local energy efficiency finance program, on top of the national one administered by KfW, and higher building efficiency standards than Germany as a whole. Half their electricity comes from combined heat and power facilities that also provide district heating and hot water. It seems like they’d be a good model city to compare Boulder to, and learn from.
Passive Passion is a good 20 minute long film introduction to the German Passivhaus energy efficiency standard, which reduces building energy use by 80-95% (depending on what existing code you compare it to). It looks at the roots of the design standard in Germany, and gives a few examples from the tens of thousands of Passivhaus certified buildings in Europe, including single family homes, row houses, apartment buildings, public low income housing, and office buildings. They talk about what makes the standard work: airtight building envelopes, super insulation, no thermal bridging, heat recovering ventilation. The film also looks at a few builders and designers in the US trying to popularize the cost effective implementation of these methods. It’s clearly possible. The examples are out there today. We just have to decide to do it! If we’re going to get to carbon zero, someday our buildings will all have to function something like this.
“Could Long Island meet 100 percent of its electricity needs with energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies which are available today?” Prompted by the imminent expiration of Long Island Power Authority’s fossil fuel power purchase agreements in 2013, Renewable Energy Long Island and other member organizations of the Long Island Clean Energy Roundtable posed this question.
To obtain an answer, an analysis was performed by Synapse Energy Economics, a research and consulting firm that specializes in assessment of the implications of electricity industry planning, regulation, and restructuring, with funding by the Long Island Community Foundation and the Rauch Foundation.
Synapse Energy Economics’ study report, “A Long Island Clean Electricity Vision – Supplying 100% of Long Island’s Electricity Needs from Renewable Power,” concluded that by the end of this decade, LIPA could meet 100% of its residential electricity needs using clean, renewable sources, and by 2030 “all of Long Island’s electricity could be carbon emission free, and 100% from renewable sources.”
Submitted by amyguinan on September 21, 2010 – 5:56pm
Israeli energy company, Better Place, has successfully launced a test-run of an electric taxi-fleet in Tokyo, Japan. The taxis pull up to the garage, and in 52 seconds have a new, recharged battery installed to the bottom of the car — less time than it takes to fill a tank of gasoline. There are 60,000 taxis in Tokyo – the largest fleet of any urban center in the world – collectively, they guzzle more than $600 million in gas a year. With the success of the July launch, other nations including Isreal, China and Denmark are eyeing the possibilities of electric vehicles – and are considering similar test fleets. Electric vehicles will soon be coming to American showrooms, also.