Categories
All Posts Green City Times green city Sustainable Cities urban planning

Vauban in Freiburg, Germany

A sustainable town: Vauban, Germany | leading the world in plus-energy green buildings |


Vauban – A Plus-Energy Community

Vauban is an exemplary sustainable town, the greenest town in Europe. A “zero-emission” district in Freiburg, Germany, most energy for buildings in Vauban is sourced from rooftop solar panels.

Energy for Vauban is also supplied by a local municipal bio-natural gas cogeneration plant. Vauban’s electricity is supplied by renewable energy sources, and district heating for Vauban is supplied by their cogeneration plant.

Buildings 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.


Vauban’s Urban Planning

Urban planning helped to create a city layout that lends itself to cycling as the primary mode of transit. Vauban’s urban plan is connected streets throughout the town (forming a fused grid), plenty of pedestrian and bike paths, as well as designated lanes for mass transit (filtered permeability). 

Vauban’s streets have minimal parking spaces, with roads designed instead for pedestrians, cyclists, and mass transit. Most Vauban residents don’t own a car, choosing instead to use the tram, cycle, or simply walk. Vauban is not completely emissions-free, as cars are actually allowed (if you pay at least $23,000 USD for a parking spot on the outskirts of town). 

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 Sun Ship.



Vauban
Vauban’s urban planning layout


The radical culture of Vauban has roots in its dramatic history. Ironically, Vauban was a military town through WWII and into the early ’90s. When the military left, the vacant buildings were inhabited by squatters. These people eventually organized Forum Vauban, organizing a revolutionary eco-community. Today, Vauban is modern, beautiful, and represents the very cutting edge of sustainable living.



And, here are the rankings for Green City Times top 10 greenest cities in the world>>>

 

The TOP 10 greenest cities in the world (as determined by Green City Times):

  1. Reykjavik, Iceland  
  2. Vaxjo, Sweden  
  3. Freiburg, Germany 
  4. Vancouver, Canada  
  5. Copenhagen, Denmark  
  6. London, UK 
  7. Curitiba, Brazil 
  8. Portland, Oregon, US 
  9. San Diego, California, US 
  10. Oslo, Norway 
Categories
All Posts Green City Times green city Net Zero Sustainable Cities

Oslo, Norway – Europe’s Eco-capital

Eco-capital of Europe


Oslo: Net Zero Future

Oslo, Norway

Oslo has fleets of green mass public transit – trams, electric buses, and ferries – that are powered by electricity from a municipal grid fed mostly by renewable power with a majority of that electricity from hydropower – but also from biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind energy (along with a share of fossil fuels). Some of Norway’s fleets of buses and ferries run directly on renewables. Oslo not only sources electricity for public mass transit from renewable energy when possible but uses RE sources to provide electricity for every other sector of the city’s economy as well.

For heating buildings within the city, Oslo primarily relies on district heating from municipal waste incinerators (waste to energy, or W2E), as well as biomass-fed cogeneration plants. Biomass-fueled boilers also heat many of the city’s homes and buildings, in addition to supplying Oslo with a renewable source of electricity.

Oslo has a goal of a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) of 95% by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels). Additionally, Norway is striving to become a carbon neutral nation (net zero emissions). 2030 is the target year that the Norwegian parliament has set to reach carbon neutrality for the country. The capital city of Oslo is leading Norway down the green path to a net zero GHG emissions future.

Oslo has the most electric vehicles per capita of any major city in the world; and the majority of new car sales in Oslo are hybrids, plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), or 100% EVs. Over half of new car sales are EVs; and when hybrids are added in, internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles account for only ~15% of new vehicle sales in Oslo.


Tackling pollution from cars head-on

The Norwegian government already offers aggressive incentives for drivers to buy electric cars. These incentives include eliminating sales tax nationally for the purchase of some EVs, developing free parking spaces for EVs in major cities like Oslo, as well as building free parking garages for EVs with charging stations in Oslo. Meanwhile, ICE vehicles are still taxed, providing a disincentive for ICE vehicles, while tax-free EVs are incentivized. Norway plans to only allow zero-emission new cars to be registered in the country (starting 2025, at the soonest).



Oslo, Norway is Europe’s eco-capital for 2019- 

“Nearly half of all new cars sold here [Oslo] are fully electric. [Today, the share of new car sales that are EVs is well over half]. There are trams, electric buses and ferries, all running on renewable hydroelectric power. During the icy winters, a waste incinerator plant heats many of the city’s homes.

The city aims to cut emissions by 36 percent from 1990 levels by the end of next year, and 95 percent by 2030. To achieve this, the city council has introduced its own climate budget — possibly the first of its kind in the world.”   FROM-  dw.com/en/oslo-starts-2019-as-europes-eco-capital

“The award [Europe’s eco-capital award] honors high environmental standards, sustainable urban development and green job creation.

Indicators for being a green city include local transport, biodiversity, air quality, waste management, and noise [reduction]. Oslo, with its 660,000 inhabitants, is green not only due to its low carbon footprint of 1.9 tons per capita per year, Katja Rosenbohm tells DW. As head of communication at the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, Rosenbohm was part of the jury that awarded Oslo its new title. “They have very ambitious targets, for example of having a car-free city by 2050.” Rosenbohm also praises Oslo’s “front-running activities in electro-mobility.”   FROM-  dw.com/en/oslo-is-europes-green-capital-2019-finally



The 2019 European Green Capital is Oslo

Since 2010, an annual European Green City Capital has been awarded to European cities with a population over 100,000 (the population of Oslo is about 660,000 and was the 2019 European green capital), in recognition of high environmental standards, sustainable urban development, and green job creation. Additional considerations for this award include public mass transit, conservation, biodiversity, air quality, waste management, and implementing measures to achieve a low citywide carbon footprint.

Oslo has also created its own Sustainable Cities Program. Oslo has ambitious emission reduction goals. Here’s a snippet from DW on why Oslo is Europe’s 2019 eco-capital – 

Oslo starts 2019 as Europe’s eco-capital

The Norwegian capital plans to cut emissions by 95 percent by 2030, despite being one of Europe’s fastest growing cities. As European Green Capital 2019, it hopes to set an example for others.    

Oslo’s waterfront was once a mass of shipping containers and a vast intersection jammed with cars pumping out fumes. Today, traffic is diverted through an underwater tunnel, and much of it is made up of electric or hybrid cars. The new development has impressive environmental as well as cultural credentials, with all new buildings meeting energy efficiency standards for low energy use, explains Anita Lindahl Trosdahl, project manager for Oslo’s Green Capital year.
“We’re using our market power to introduce fossil fuel-free construction,” Trosdahl told DW. “So not only will the build in its lifetime be as sustainable as possible, but also during the construction period itself.”           FROM- dw.com/en/oslo-is-europes-green-capital-2019-finally

Read more from dw: Could oil nation Norway help save the climate?


 

carbon farming carbon footprint carbon neutral carbon neutrality carbon pricing carbon tax clean energy Clean Power Plan climate change climate solutions cogeneration Conference of the Parties cover crops e-bikes electric vehicles energy energy efficiency energy star Freiburg global warming green building greenhouse gas emissions hydrogen hydrogen fuel cells Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change LEED nationally determined contributions net zero greenhouse gas emissions nuclear energy Paris Climate Accord recycling renewable energy reverse osmosis smart grid smart meter solar sources of renewable energy sustainability sustainable agriculture sustainable mass transit United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change urban planning waste-to-energy waste management zero-waste