Freiburg is cashing in on a new distinction. It's a green city in the Black Forest. CBCtv
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The German renewable energy financing model is now being replicated in 40 countries around the world including Mauritius. Payback Time was produced with the support of The World Future Council and the European Union.TVE: News
Auto-ban: German town goes car-free | Ethiopian News
Vauban hopes to forge a model community without that great staple of modern life – the car. Now the sound of birdsong has replaced the roar of traffic and children can play in the street.
The Germans may have given the world the Audi and the autobahn, but they have banished everything with four wheels and an engine from the streets of Vauban – a model brave new world of a community in the country's south-west, next to the borders with Switzerland and France.
In Vauban, a suburb of the university town of Freiburg, luxuriant beds of brilliant flowers replace what would normally be parking outside its neat, middle- class homes. Instead of the roar of traffic, the residents listen to birdsong, children playing and the occasional jingle of a bicycle bell.
"If you want to have a car here, you have to pay about €20,000 for a space in one of our garages on the outskirts of the district," says Andreas Delleske one of the founders and now a promoter of the Vauban project, "but about 57 per cent of the residents sold a car to enjoy the privilege of living here." As a result, most residents travel by bike or use the ultra-efficient tram service that connects the suburb with the centre of Freiburg, 15 minutes away. If they want a car to go on holiday or to shift things, they hire one or join one of the town's car-sharing schemes.
Because it has no cars, Vauban's planners have almost completely dispensed with the idea of metalled roads. Its streets and pathways are cobbled or gritted and vehicles are allowed in only for a matter of minutes to unload essential goods. Being virtually car-free is only the start of what has been hailed as one of Europe's most successful experiments in green living and one which is viewed increasingly as a blueprint for a future and perhaps essential way of living in an age of climate change.
Vauban is a southern suburb of Freiburg and home to 5,300 people. Its elegant, weather-boarded, four-storey homes are painted in subtle tones of blue, yellow and red or left as natural wood. They have wide balconies and large French windows that look out on to quiet, park-like gardens. The overall impression is of being stuck in a never-ending IKEA advertisement.
But if the district's surface texture is eminently middle class, an eco-revolution is bubbling beneath the surface. The windows of all the homes are triple-glazed. An intricate ventilation system fitted with heat exchangers ensures that apartments are kept constantly topped-up with fresh air at room temperature, even when the windows are shut. Most homes are powered by solar panels and smart co-generator engines that run on wood chips which provide domestic heating and electricity for lighting and appliances. One of the consequences is that most of Vauban's homes generate a surplus of electricity and sell what they don't need to the power companies that run the national and regional electricity grids.
With their 35cm thick walls, the homes are so well insulated that the temperature inside is directly affected by the number of people in each apartment. "If it gets too cold in the winter, you have the choice of turning up the heating or inviting a couple of friends round to dinner," Delleske says. He is immensely proud of the fact that his 90sqm, four-roomed "Passive house," which is almost environmentally perfect, costs a mere €114 a year to heat. "Most people pay that kind of money for heating each month," he says. The "Passive house" has even managed to dispAuto-ban: German town goes car-free | Ethiopian News
The Rooftop Revolution - Mariah Blake
there is one place where capital is still flowing: Gainesville, Florida. Even as solar panels are stacking up in warehouses around the country, this city of 120,000 is gearing up for a solar power boom, fueled by homegrown businesses and scrappy investors who have descended on the community and are hiring local contractors to install photovoltaic panels on rooftops around town.
One of those investors is Tim Morgan, a tall fiftysomething man with slicked-back hair and ostrich-skin boots who owns a chain of electrical contracting companies. His industry has been hit hard by the downturn, but he has a plan to salvage his business, which he explained over a drink at the Ballyhoo Grill, a gritty Gainesville bar with rusty license plates nailed to the wall and Jimmy Buffett blaring on the jukebox. Morgan intends to rent roof space from eighty Gainesville businesses and install twenty-five-kilowatt
solar generating systems on each of them, for a total of two megawatts—a project that would nearly double Florida’s solar-generating capacity. He estimates the venture will cost between $16 million and $20 million and bring in $1.4 million a year. Already, he has lined up financing, found local contractors to do the installation, and staked claims to the rooftops of at least fifty businesses. "And we’re just one tiny player," he told me. "Look around. You can see how fast this thing is going to move." The Rooftop Revolution - Mariah Blake