A sustainable town, Vauban, Germany | leading the world in plus-energy green buildings
Vauban, Germany is a sustainable town for every other city in the world to emulate. Vauban is a “zero-emission” district in Freiburg, Germany. Energy for buildings in Vauban is sourced from rooftop solar panels. Energy for Vauban is also supplied by a municipal bio-natural gas cogeneration plant.
Many homes in Vauban are either passive energy buildings (ultra energy efficient buildings that consume roughly as much energy as they produce), or plus-energy buildings (producing even more energy than they consume). Homes in the Sun Ship (Das Sonnenschiff) are entirely plus-energy buildings. Residents in plus-energy homes in Vauban simply sell excess energy generated by their home or building back to the municipality (for use in other homes in the community), resulting in lower electricity bills.
Urban Planning in Vauban
The urban planning strategies of “filtered permeability” and “fused grid” were implemented in the design of the municipality of Vauban. Residents primarily live in co-op buildings, such as the "solar ship", a large area of co-op buildings that run strictly on renewable energy.
Careful urban planning helped to create a city layout that lends itself to cycling as the primary mode of transit. The terms “filtered permeability” and ”fused grid” refer to a plan that ultimately means connected streets throughout the town, as well as plenty of pedestrian and bike paths. Residents primarily live in co-op buildings, such as the "solar ship", a large area of co-op buildings that run strictly on renewable energy.
The town of Vauban is virtually absent of all GHG emission-producing sources. Vauban is a “zero-emission” district in Freiburg, Germany. Vauban is not completely carbon neutral, as cars are actually allowed if you pay at least $23,000 USD for a parking spot on the outskirts of town. Thus, the majority of residents don’t own a car, choosing instead to use the tram, cycle or simply walk. Most streets don’t even have parking spaces.
The radical culture of Vauban has roots in its dramatic history. Ironically, Vauban was a military town through WWII and into the early 90’s. When the military left, the vacant buildings were inhabited by squatters. These vagabonds eventually organized Forum Vauban, organizing a revolutionary eco-community. Today, Vauban is modern, beautiful, and represents the very cutting edge of sustainable living.
Similar to Vauban, Germany (but in a variety of unique ways), these world cities are also taking the lead on climate action through novel urban planning strategies:
(and please also see the Green City Times article on Desalination for information about the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere; in Carlsbad, San Diego)
And, here are the rankings for Green City Times top 10 greenest cities in the world>>>